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French Culture – Curfew Posted by on Oct 20, 2020 in Business, Culture, Vocabulary

France, like many parts of the world, is seeing a resurgence of cases of Covid-19 as the cooler weather of l’automne (autumn) settles in. In an attempt to get things back under control and to avoid another confinement, the French government has instituted un couvre-feu in many cities around the country.


Le couvre-feu (lit. cover fire) or curfew1The English word curfew actually comes to us from Old French via the Middle English curfeu., applies to Ile-de-France and 8 other metropolitan regions2Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Montpellier, et Toulouse. A compter du 16 octobre 2020 à minuit (Beginning at midnight on October 16, 2020), and planned for une duree minimale de 4 semaines (a minimum duration of 4 weeks), residents of the regions concerned are expected to be in their homes each night between 21h et 6h (9:00 PM and 6:00 AM)3Remember France like many countries around the world uses the 24-hour military clock.

Des autorisations de déplacement sont prévues pour les urgences … , pour se rendre4The French se rendre / to deliver oneself to gives us the English word surrender. auprès d’un proche en situation de dépendance, pour sortir son animal de compagnie, ainsi que pour les personnes qui partent au travail avant 6h, rentrent du travail après 21h ou qui travaillent de nuit. Le non-respect du couvre-feu est puni d’une amende de 135 €” (Authorisation to travel is available in emergencies, for visiting family that depend on you, to take pets outside, and for people who leave for work before 6, come back from work after 9, or who work nights. Violations of the curfew are punishable by a fine of 135 Euros.)

While these measures are necessary, shutting down a country even if it’s just temporary is never easy, impacting businesses and people’s lives. Still, judging from this video from FranceInfo the first few days are going ok (or click here for another video on the same topic). Theater performances end early and people are leaving restaurants earlier than ever in a country where the evening often doesn’t get going until late.

At the same time, “les mesures suivantes s’appliquent désormais partout en France:” (the following measures are in force everywhere in France:)

  • pas de rassemblement à plus de 6 dans l’espace public (no gatherings of more than 6 people in public spaces),
  • interdiction de rassemblement privés (ban on private functions),
  • protocole sanitaire renforcée dans les restaurants (enhanced sanitary measures in restaurants),
  • renforcement du télétravail: 2 à 3 jours minimum (reinforced remote/home work: 2 to 3 days minimum).

I’m sure that, que ce soit en France ou ailleurs (whether in France or elsewhere), we all hope these and other measures will not be needed ere long. But as long as they are, hopefully we can all continue to do our part!

Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris

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