French Language Blog

French Culture – Opening Up Posted by on May 5, 2020 in Culture, Vocabulary

As I’ve covered in my blog posts these past several weeks, France (like much of the world) has been on lock down. Starting at midi le 17 mars (March 17 at noon) the French could only leave their homes for a strictly defined list of déplacements dérogatoire (exceptional outings). That may all be about to change.

Le Déconfinement

As conditions across France improve, the government is looking at the best ways and the best timing to open the country back up.

This period of déconfinement (un-quarantining), currently planned to begin on May 11, is based on une synthèse de deux indicateurs (a synthesis of two indicating factors):

  • La circulation active du virus (the circulation of the virus) is based on the number trips to the emergency room for Covid patients par rapport (as compared to) the total number of suspected Covid-19 cases.
  • La tension hospitalière sur les capacités en réanimation (hospital capacity beds for treating patients) is calculated based on the number available beds for Covid patients versus the number of occupied beds.

As of le 3 mai (May 3), 50 departments (mostly in the south and west of the country) were calssified verts (green), 19 oranges (including la région parisienne / Île-de- France ), and 32 rouges (red).

À quoi ressemblera la France d’après?

What will life in France look like afterwards? It is hard to say for sure as details are still being worked out (and just yesterday, the senate voted against the latest government proposals). But here are some things we could see:

  • Une aide de 200 euros versée aux moins de 25 ans  (government assistance of 200 euros) to people under 25 who lost their job, internship, or are otherwise in financial difficulty,
  • Le port de masque obligatoire dans les collèges (masks must be worn in all middle schools),
  • Les offices religieux pourraient reprendre à partir du 29 mai (religious services can begin after May 29),

As in other countries trying to figure out how best to accommodate to this new “normal”, companies in France will also have to make adjustments including un espace minimum de 4 m² par salarié, des masques à fournir aux salariés, et me des horaires à réorganiser pour éviter aux employés de se croiser (a minimum space per employee of 4 square meters, masks provided to employees, and even updated hours to prevent employees from crossing paths).

Keeping track of it all will no doubt be complicated. Fortunately the French government has kindly developed this handy (?!!) infographic to highlight the relative risks and outline permissible activities by department in the areas of vie sociale et activités (social life and activities), déplacements (trips), commerces (shopping/stores), écoles et crèches (schools and nurseries/day care), transports (transportation), and sports.

Photo [CC0]

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.


  1. Hayat:

    I am so glad