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What changes in France from September 1st

The start of September in France has not just brought about a dramatic shift in the weather but also various changes that will impact your daily life, including a major overhaul of the Paris transport pass. Here's everything you need to know.

What changes in France from September 1st
How much will you pay for your pass Navigo in future? Photo: AFP

The Navigo transport pass:

The flagship change that comes into force on Tuesday September 1st sees the Paris transport pass (Le Pass Navigo) switch to one unique price for the whole of all the five zones in Ile-de-France region (see map below).

Previously the price was determined by which zones the traveller needed, with the basic zone one and two pass costing €731 a year (€70 a month – previously €67.50) and for zones one to five it would cost €1,204 a year (€116.50 a month).

But from now on the price for a Navigo pass covering all zones will be set at €70 a month or €770 a year, meaning millions of commuters in and around the capital will pay the same price.

The idea behind the “petite révolution” as it has been called, is to make it cheaper for those living in poorer areas outside Paris in the hope they will ditch their car and take the train instead. It is also aimed creating a more regional identity, rather than the 'us and them' division between Paris and the suburbs as which currently exists.

That means that someone travelling in to Paris from Versailles or Marne-la-Vallée will pay the same as someone who does a daily commute across the centre of the city from Bastille to the Champs-Elysées.

Conversely those who previously only needed a zone one and two pass to commute can now use it to go Charles-de-Gaulle airport or on a day trip to Fontainebleau without having to pay more.

One point worth noting is that single journey tickets will not benefit from the new system and will only allow you to travel in the zones that they apply too.

And those who used to buy a pass for zones two and three (€65.10), or three and four (€62.80), can continue to do so to avoid a steep in rise in the cost of Navigo pass.

Detractors say the move has been implemented just to win votes in the upcoming regional elections and is basically unaffordable for a transport system in desperate need of investment.

SEE ALSO: Paris rail network not fit for 21st Century

Restrictions on cash payments

Those who liked to pay for pricey goods in cash may have to get out the credit card or cheque book in future. Limits on cash payments have been reduced from €3,000 to €1,000 from September 1st.

Furnished apartments

Following disputes between landlords and tenants over what constitutes a furnished apartment, a new list will come into place that forces those renting out homes to install a minimum of equipment, before they can advertise their home as furnished.

That list includes things such as a stoves, tables, chairs and quilts.

Wages for interns

The salary for those on official internships will rise from €3.30 an hour to €3.60 an hour from September 1st. Monthly salaries will rise by €46 from €508 euros to €554. But the rise only applies to an internship lasting longer than two months.

Rise in gas prices

After four months of falling prices the cost of gas will rise once again in September by an average of 0.5 percent, due to a rise in costs. The tariffs, put in place by provider Engie, will affect around 7 million households.

Breathalyzer starting kits in all coaches

From September 1st all coaches and buses will be equipped with breathalyzers that drivers will have to blow into before the vehicles will start. If the test shows that drivers are over the limit the coach simply won’t start and the driver will have an embarrassing call to make to her/his boss.

Trucks and polluting coaches banned from Paris

The ban on polluting trucks and coaches continues to be rolled out, with vehicles put into circulation before 2001 prohibited from entering Paris.

The measure will be applied from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

RSA unemployment benefit to rise

France’s basic unemployment benefit RSA will rise. This means those who receive the handout will now get €526 a month and for those with a child it will be €786 a month.

Pensions guaranteed

A new system will come into place to guarantee that those on general pension schemes can access their money the month after they stop working. Previously, delays caused by hefty bureaucracy meant those who had retired had to wait several months to access their cash.

 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What’s changing about life in France in June 2019

At the beginning of each month, there are many changes in France. Here is an overview of what is coming into effect this June.

What’s changing about life in France in June 2019
Photos: AFP
Electricity prices going up
 
EDF (électricité de France) will be increasing electricity prices by 5.9 percent starting June 1st.
 
For the average household, this means that the cost of energy will increase around €85 per year, according to EDF estimations.
 
 
Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP
 
The increase was proposed on February 7th by the CRE (commission de régulation d'énergie) in order to cover rising costs, but the government decided to wait until the end of winter to apply the price hike. Several news organisations (France Info, BFMTV) also cite the role of the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in delaying the measure.
 
Gas prices continue to fall
 
Gas prices will continue to decrease slight, by 0.45 percent, in the month of June. The reduction is part of measures taken in January to placate the 'yellow vests'. June, however, is the last month that these reductions are to be applied.
 
 
Photo: Philippe HUGUEN / AFP
 
Last chance to file taxes
 
Those living in départements numbered 50 through 976 have until midnight on Tuesday, June 4th to file their tax declaration online (everyone else should have filed already).
 
Reminder: despite the fact that it’s still necessary to file a tax return, 2018 is a “white year”, which means that, in order to avoid paying double the taxes in 2019, French taxpayers are allowed to skip 2018 except on “exceptional” income. 
 
“Exceptional” income are sums that are likely to be one-offs for 2018, like compensation for breach of contract (if the amount qualifies as taxable), one-time retirement allowances, income from stakes or profit-sharing schemes that are not part of an employee savings program and capital gains on movable or immovable assets. 
 
For more information, read our article on this year’s tax declarations in France.
 
Summer sales
 
The summer soldes (sales) will take place from Tuesday, June 26th through Tuesday, August 6th in most of France, and July 3rd through August 13th in the Alpes-Maritimes and Pyrénées-Orientales. Dates also vary slightly in overseas territories, and can be found here.
 
The dates and conduct of sales in France are strictly controlled by the Code de commerce, which permits these promotions twice a year – once in January-February, after the holidays, and once in summer. These are the only times when French retailers are allowed to sell at a loss, according to specific rules laid out by the Code de commerce.
 
 
Photo: Philippe HUGUEN / AFP
 
Consultation regarding fixed-line telephone numbers
 
The Arcep (Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes) is holding an online survey now through June 7th to ask users whether they want to be able to keep their landline telephone numbers, even when they move to a different region.
 
Currently, landline telephone users are obligated to change their numbers when the moving elsewhere in France, because these numbers are organised by region of residence (01 for Ile-de-France, 02 for the north west, etc.). Fixed-line users will now have a chance to make themselves heard on the subject.
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