It was not all bad: Five positive French news stories

From falling inflation to a swimming pool for dogs, here are some news stories that could bring a smile to your face

A round-up of this week's good news stories
Published Last updated

1. Inflation drops below 5% for the first time in a year

Inflation has dropped under 5% in France for the first time in a year. It was 4.5% in June, according to figures from the national statistics bureau Insee.

This was the second consecutive monthly drop in prices: inflation was 5.9% in April and 5.1% in May.

Food prices rose by 13.6% year-on-year in June, compared to 14.3% for the month before.

2. French supermarket lowers fuel prices on summer weekends

French supermarket giant E. Leclerc is to sell fuel at cost-price for the next seven weekends.

CEO Michel-Edouard Leclerc said the chain would sell petrol “at cost price…from this weekend”, as the summer holiday period begin, in a bid to “protect the purchasing power of people in France”.

The promotion will last until August 13 and apply at the supermarket’s 696 service stations to help with “tensions in the market”, he said.

Read more: French supermarket chain to sell cheaper fuel on summer weekends

3. Cap on housing rents extended

Good news if you rent in France: A cap on housing rents, which had been set to stop on June 30, has been extended by the government.

Parliament this week voted to extend the cap to the first quarter of 2024. The cap acts as a ‘shield’ to limit the rise in rents of properties in France (the Indice de référence des loyers, IRL) to a maximum of 3.5%. It was first introduced in the summer of 2022.

It has been extended as a result of still-high prices and the expensive housing market. Some MPs, however, would prefer to limit the IRL itself, rather than introduce a cap of 3.5%.

Yet, the bill was passed from parliament to Senate twice, with parliament ultimately adopting the extension.

4. Four turtles and tropical bird recovered after being stolen from Lille zoo

Four turtles and a tropical bird from Australia that were stolen from the Lille zoo have been recovered and returned to appropriate care.

Two people - a 22-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman - are suspected of stealing the animals to sell them online.

The duo are now in police custody, the Nord public security director said.

The stolen tropical bird was an Australian kookaburra, and is considered sacred in the Aboriginal culture.

In a statement, the Lille mairie said: “The initial examinations carried out by the zookeepers show that the animals are all in good health, and will, after a check-up period, be able to go back into the public part of the zoo.”

The mairie said it would now make a formal complaint for “intrusion” and “theft of a protected species”. The police presence will be stepped up around the zoo, and more stringent security measures are expected to be installed.

5. France gets first swimming pool for dogs

Summer can be a hot time for our furry friends, but a pool in France is hoping to change that. Mouille tes pattes (Wet your paws) on the outskirts of Bordeaux is the first public pool in the country to open exclusively for dogs

The 180m2 site aims to be a real ‘canine aquatic centre’, and is dedicated to the wellbeing of animals. It has several spaces, including a swimming pool, a gym, a play park, a ‘wash your muzzle’ space, and a sensory garden.

It aims to be a fun space for pooches to relax and play, but also works with dogs that need hydrotherapy and post-operative rehabilitation.

The pool is heated to 28C, and has UV-filtered water with a neutral pH designed to be optimal for dogs.

Owner Laurence Pech had the idea to set up a dog pool when her 14-year-old Cocker Spaniel became ill with stomach cancer and began having “major mobility problems”, she said. He was “full of arthritis”, she added, but he still loved to swim.

Dogs can only attend if they are three months old or over, and their owners make a prior booking online. The first hour is €20, with all following hours costing €25 each. There are also packages: €40 will buy you access to the entire space for 90 minutes, including a grooming wash-and-blow-dry session.

It also offers physiotherapy sessions with vets and osteopaths, and there is a shop selling dog toys and other related items.

All-inclusive access costs €1,400 per year, or €414 per quarter. From September, there will also be sessions designed for reactive or dangerous dogs, so they can play safely.

The site has been almost fully booked since it opened, said Ms Pech.

Related articles

Sci-fi writers help French army imagine wars of future

French armed forces regrets barring two Russians from tourist site

France ups defence and deploys three of its four nuclear submarines