What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

France’s heatwave intensifies while MPs debate the government’s spending power bill, the men’s Tour de France comes to an end - and the women’s Tour begins

We look at what the week ahead has in store in France
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France under extreme heat warnings

Every French department – apart from Corse du Sud – is affected by a heatwave warning this morning (July 18) as the peak of the heatwave approaches.

Eastern regions such as Grand Est and the north of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are on a yellow alert for high temperatures, while most of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Occitanie central and northern France are under orange alerts.

Fifteen departments are under red alerts. They are Finistère, Morbihan, Côtes d’Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, Charente-Maritime, Charente, Gironde, Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne, Landes and Gers.

Temperatures of around 40C are expected in these areas today, and records are expected to be broken in several places.

Read more: Heatwave: Record temperatures expected in France today

People in areas affected by an orange or red warning should:

  • Drink water several times a day

  • Eat normally

  • Dampen their skin with a flannel or take tepid baths or showers to cool down

  • Avoid going out between 11:00 and 21:00

  • Wear a hat and lightweight clothes if going out is unavoidable

  • Try to stay in a cool or air conditioned room for a few hours each day

  • Limit physical and sporting activities

  • Close shutters, curtains and windows during the day and open them at night

  • Check on elderly and vulnerable friends and family

  • Call a doctor if feeling ill

  • Call the mairie if in need of a different form of assistance

  • Remain alert: anyone can be adversely affected by the heat, even if otherwise healthy

  • Avoid using devices or materials which could produce sparks and start a forest fire, such as barbecues or cigarettes

  • Call 112 or 18 if a fire does start

This comes as the two wildfires which have now burnt nearly 13,000 hectares in Gironde continue to spread. They have been raging since last Tuesday (July 12).

Read more: Wildfires in France: Why is it so difficult to get them under control?

MPs to vote on spending power bill

The government’s bill of proposed measures aimed at protecting French spending power will have its first reading in the Assemblée nationale this week.

The bill involves increases to social benefits and civil servant salaries, as well as a new, targeted fuel cost support and food payment for low-income households.

MPs will have three days to agree on over 1,000 amendments to the legislation, and opposition parties are not expected to agree on significant compromises.

For example, the left-wing Nupes group has called for a significant salary increase, for the minimum wage (Smic) to be brought up to €1,500 and other wages to be indexed on inflation.

Read more: Spending power and how to finance it: This week in French politics

A national festival to promote reading

This week will see France’s eighth Partir en Livre festival, which is a free event aimed at bringing reading out of its normal frameworks and encouraging a love of books in children and young people.

It sees libraries, community organisations, authors and illustrations come together to create more than 7,000 events welcoming 700,000 visitors.

This year, the festival will run between July 22 and July 24, following the theme of ‘friendship’.

You can find out more about this year’s programme on the Partir en Livre website.

Final stages of the Tour de France and the start of the women’s race

This year’s Tour de France will draw to a close on Sunday (July 24), with a final sprint through Paris.

The race is currently being led by the 25-year-old Danish athlete Jonas Vingegaard, with the Slovenian Pogocar in second place and GB’s Geraint Thomas in third.

After today’s (July 18) rest day, the race will enter its sixteenth stage tomorrow, entering the Pyrenees with a 178.5km route travelling from Carcassonne to Foix.

The end of the men’s Tour de France will mark the beginning of the women’s race, which will kick off from the Eiffel Tower and stretch over one week, making its way towards its finishing line at the Super Planche des Belles Filles ski resort in the Vosges mountains.

The prestigious Festival d’Avignon continues

This week also sees the continuation of the prestigious Festival d’Avignon, an annual arts festival which takes place in the Palais des Papes courtyard in the city.

The event was founded in 1947 by Jean Villar and runs over three weeks each year.

During the festival, several events take place each day, including tours, reenactments, talks, workshops, theatre performances, poetry readings and film screenings.

Today, for example, visitors can go to see the film Ils sont vivants, a production of Little Red Riding Hood, an exploration of Arab poetry and a tour of Avignon focusing on the history of the festival, among other things.

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