What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

Trial begins over 2009 Rio-Paris plane crash, MPs debate the proposed 2023 budget, new exhibition opens at the Louvre, French architecture celebrated and more

We look at what the week ahead has in store for people in France
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Parliamentary debate on budget bill

MPs will debate the points included in the government’s projet de loi de finances budget bill today (October 10) as the proposed law undergoes its first reading in the Assemblée nationale.

The Assemblée has 40 days in which to propose and pass its amendments before the bill passes on to its second reading.

Read more: Healthcare, climate, cigarettes: France announces its 2023 budget

Members of the opposition, ranging from the left-wing Nupes coalition to the far-right Rassemblement National, have expressed their intention to oppose the bill, but the government has suggested that it may make use of article 49.3 of the Constitution, which would enable it to pass the legislation into law without a vote.

March against rising cost of living

Annie Ernaux – the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature – and around 60 other figures from French life are calling for the public to take part in a march on Sunday (October 16), protesting against the rising cost of living and the perceived inaction of governments with regards to climate change.

Read also: How reading Annie Ernaux will help you understand France

“In the face of the extreme right which takes advantage of desolation to advance its racist, sexist and liberticide agendas, we are calling for us to unite our forces,” the public figures said in an open letter published in the Journal du Dimanche.

“The people engaged, whether from the world of culture, science, social justice, whether anticapitalist, communist, ecologist, Insoumis [from the left-wing La France Insoumise party] or socialist, will march on October 16 in Paris against the rising cost of living and inaction on climate change.”

Alongside Ms Ernaux, other writers including Laurent Binet and Edouard Louis will also be present, as well as actors such as Liliane Rovère.

In the open letter, they write that: “Emmanuel Macron is using inflation to deepen the gap between rich and poor,” and call for “a popular movement to resist regression and reopen [the possibility of] a collective destiny made from justice, solidarity and ecological responsibility.”

The march will also unite the La France Insoumise, Socialist and Europe Ecology – Greens parties, while Communist members and union representatives have not yet confirmed their participation.

Trial begins over Rio-Paris plane crash

Air France and Airbus will be appearing before a Paris court today on charges of involuntary manslaughter for a plane crash which caused the death of 228 people.

On June 1, 2009, an Airbus A330 Air France plane travelling between Rio de Janeiro and Paris went into freefall during a storm over the Atlantic Ocean three hours and 45 minutes into the flight, and disappeared without a mayday signal.

All 216 passengers and 12 crew on board perished, and the majority of the plane wreck was only found two years later in April 2011 after an extensive search of the seabed.

The plane’s black boxes revealed that the pilots became disoriented as ice crystals interfered with the airspeed sensors, blocking speed and altitude information. Automatic pilot functions also stopped working, the plane went into an aerodynamic stall after the pilots failed to respond to alerts and the aircraft plunged into the sea.

It was the most deadly accident in Air France’s history, and led to changes with regards to safety rules and pilot training.

The trial will look at the role played by the airspeed sensors and the pilots in the tragedy. Airbus has previously blamed the crash on pilot error, while Air France has claimed that they were overwhelmed by confusing alarms.

Both Air France and Airbus facing fines of up to €225,000 and potential damage to their reputations.

The companies have denied that they were criminally negligent, and a 2019 decision initially saw the case dropped as the crash was attributed to pilot error.

However, the victims’ families protested against this, and in 2021 the appeals court ruled that there was enough evidence for a trial.

President Macron to be guest of new political TV show

President Emmanuel Macron will be the first guest to appear on L’Événement, a new political programme set to begin on France 2 on Wednesday (October 12).

The president will be interviewed on foreign policy – including the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and the nuclear threat – during the first programme. He will then return to discuss domestic policy on October 26.

President Macron’s interviews will also be followed by discussions with France’s other political leaders.

L’Événement will air from 20:30.

Journées nationales de l’architecture

This weekend (October 14-16) marks the occasion of the Journées nationales de l’architecture, which aims to develop public understanding of the art form by telling its history and inspiring people with its modern evolution.

The event was launched in 2016 by the culture ministry, and has since been organised by the Direction générale des patrimoines.

It aims to promote architecture in all its different forms, drawing out its artistic, scientific, technical and social value, and involves guided tours, workshops, lectures and special visits.

Friday’s events will be particularly focused on school pupils, and will be named ‘Levez les yeux !’ (Look up!).

You can find out more about the events taking place around France through this official map.

New still life exhibition opens at the Louvre

A new still life exhibition is opening at the Louvre this week, featuring work from Marcel Duchamp, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Clara Peeters and Édouard Manet.

Les Choses: Une histoire de la nature morte (Things: a history of still life) will open on Wednesday and run until January 23, 2023.

It will offer an exploration of the art form’s history and geographical variation, moving from the sixth century to the near present day.

You can find out more here.

Pink October

This is the second week of Pink October (Octobre Rose) in France, an annual month-long campaign to raise awareness of the signs of the disease, how to spot them, and how to get regular screenings at any time of year to improve early detection rates.

Read more: Breast cancer: Who can get free screenings in France?

French government website Service-Public.fr and l’Institut National du Cancer (INCa) have put together a new set of recommendations and reminders for anyone wondering what help is available.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in France, and 80% of these are found in people aged 50 and over.

However, if it is caught early, its recovery rate is 90%, and regular screening improves these chances.

La Rochelle Jazz Festival

La Rochelle’s Festival Jazz entre les Deux Tours begins tomorrow (October 11), and will last until Saturday (October 15).

This annual event, which began in 1998, brings together musicians from France and across the world, who hold concerts in different locations around the city

Free and paid concerts are joined by musical dinner events, workshops, lectures and photo exhibitions.

You can find out more about the festival here.

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