The small changes to life in France from July 2016

July is here and with a new month comes another raft of changes for France. Here's what you need to know.

The small changes to life in France from July 2016
Fancy some Sunday shopping in Paris? Photo: AFP

Department store in Paris to open on Sundays

The BHV department store in the Marais, in central Paris, will open on Sunday July 3rd – marking the first to do so since the Macron law that weakened restrictions on Sunday shop openings kicked in last August – a move the government believes will create more jobs. 
The store is inside one of the 12 specially designated “international tourist zones” where shops will soon be able to stay open until midnight as well as on Sundays as part of the government decree.
The 12 zones, include tourist hot spots such as the Champs-Elysées, Montmartre, Le Marais-République, Saint-Germain and the shopping centre Les Halles.
The two other major department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann, will be open for the last three Sundays of July, although this will be separate to the new law for now.  

The so-called “International Tourist Zones”. Photo: Ministry of Finance
More transparency on price comparison websites
If you've ever tried to book a trip, a hotel online – or indeed tried to compare insurance options or energy companies – you'll know the headache of price comparison websites. 
From July 1st and onward, these kinds of websites will need to clearly display more information for visitors, such as whether the options they are providing are indeed exhaustive or not, whether the company has actually been in contact with the company whose deals they're offering. 
The sites also have to show things like hidden fees, commissions, and taxes – in a move that should make it less difficult to get stuck with a dodgy deal. 
Kidnapping of Swiss boy raises online gaming fears

Disposable plastic bags to be banned
Plastic bags that are only good for one use will be a thing of the past in France from July 1st. 
This means that supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries, petrol stations, markets — everywhere really — will have to issue the re-enforced plastic bag versions instead, or paper bags.
From January next year, even the multi-use bags will be gone as France shifts to only recyclable and reusable biodegradable bags. 

Read our guide to the plastic bag ban here
The price of gas rises
After ten months without an increase in gas prices, the French will be hit by a 0.4 percent hike this month.
It surely won't be any great concern, however, considering gas prices have fallen 19 percent since January 1st.
Ban on polluting cars in Paris
The French capital will ban all vehicles that were registered before January 1st 1997 as part of the city's ongoing bid to crack down on pollution 
The cars will be banned from driving anywhere inside the Périphérique ring road from 8am to 8pm each weekday, as will all motorcycles registered before 1999.
Paris to ban cars when pollution levels peak
Photo: AFP
The City Hall estimates this will affect around 10,000 of the 600,000 vehicles on the move in Paris on any given day. 
Fines will be handed out for those caught breaking the rules from October, with motorists slapped with a€35 fine for their first offence. These fines will increase in January to €68 for private cars and €135 for trucks.

And in a further move against pollution, Paris will be rolling out a colour-coded system for cars for authorities to be able to determine the age of a vehicle.

Read our guide to exactly what the ban means here
Civil servants get pay raise
Those working in public hospitals, at local authorities, or in the military will be able to enjoy a payrise of 0.6 percent. 
They'll get the same increase again in February next year. 

Free appointments to get contraception
This month will see further development of France's law that allows free contraceptives for those aged 15 to 18. In 2013, France changed the law so that women no longer had to pay to terminate pregnancies or for birth control.
From this month, doctor consultations for contraception and any medical tests will also become free. 
French pharmacist 'refused to sell contraceptives' to women
Airbnb hosts to be get annual statements
Collaborative platforms like home-rental site Airbnb and Drivy, which is the equivalent for cars, will be forced to send annual statements to their users detailing their income for the year. If they don't send these out they risk fines of €10,000. 
The move is intended to prevent people from making money and not declaring it. Pascal Terrasse, the Socialist MP who penned the report back in February, urged company bosses to “take on their responsibilities” and said that sharing economy “was not a lawless zone”.
France could make Airbnb tell tax man about hosts' earnings
What changes in France from June 2016
How things change in France from May 2016

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


What changes about life in France in May 2022?

A new government, May marches, flowers and public holidays as well as a rise in the minimum wage, tax deadlines, and the return of the Cannes Film Festival - here's what is happening in France in May.

What changes about life in France in May 2022?

Public Holidays

There are several public holidays in the month of May, but sadly two of the three fall on Sundays this year.

International Worker’s Day, or May Day, is on Sunday, May 1st. The holiday also coincides with the first Sunday of the month, when many museums offer free access. Though several businesses will close their doors on May Day, some museums will stay open and offer free entry, like the Air and Space Museum.

The other two public holidays are May 8th (Victory in Europe Day), which will also fall on a Sunday, and May 26th (Ascension) which will fall on a Thursday. May 8th is marked with military parades and remembrance events in towns and cities around France.

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays in France

May Day

As we mentioned, May 1st falls on a Sunday this year but although there is no extra day off work the other May Day traditions remain in place – notably trades union demonstrations and marches and the giving of the lucky lily-of-the-valley flowers.

School holidays end

Schools in zone B (northern France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) have already returned after the Easter holidays, but schools in Zone A (central France) restart classes on Monday, May 2nd while schools in Zone C (Paris and south west France) go back on Monday, May 9th). 

New government

The newly re-elected president Emmanuel Macron is shaking up his government, with Prime Minister Jean Castex having announced that he will resign.

This allows Macron to create a new top team of ministers and appoint a new PM, whose focus will be on fighting the parliamentary elections in June.

Voter Registration Deadline

If you are a French citizen but are not yet registered to vote for the parliamentary elections, then do not delay because you have until Wednesday, May 4th to do so online and until Friday, May 6th to do the process in person (either at your town hall or by the post).

READ ALSO When are the parliamentary elections and why are they important?

Candidate deadlines

Aspiring deputés (the French equivalent of MPs) must file their declaration of candidacy with their respective préfecture between Monday, May 16th and Friday May 20th. 

Tax Deadlines

May brings the first deadlines for the annual tax declaration – compulsory for almost everyone in France.

If you choose to file your tax returns on paper, the deadline is May 19th, 2022, regardless of where you live. For the online declarations, you have until May 24th if you live in the départements 1 to 19, and until May 31st 2022 for the départements from 20 to 54. For the remaining départements, you have until June 7th, 2022 at midnight.

READ ALSO The French tax calendar 2022

Minimum wage increase

Due to inflation, the minimum wage automatically increases on May 1st. INSEE, the national statistics bureau of France, has specified the minimum wage must increase by 2.65 percent (or €33) starting May 1st – this means that the gross hourly minimum wage will increase from €10.57 to €10.85.

Benefit increases

In line with the minimum wage increases, there will also be an increase of 1.8 percent to certain benefits including the RSA, family allowance and disables persons allowance. The back-to-school grant that families get in August will also increase to €376.98 for children aged 6 to 10, €397.78 for those aged 11 to 14 and €411.56 for teenagers aged 15 to 18.

Jobseekers training

A new payment system comes into effect for jobseekers who are undertaking extra professional training – trainees aged 16-18 will be paid €200 a month instead of the current €130. For trainees aged between 18 and 25, it will be €500, and €685 per month for those aged 26 and over.

Black boxes in cars

All new cars on sale in France are now required to be fitted with a ‘black box recorder’ similar to those in planes, in accordance with an EU measure voted into place in 2019. The measure will be extended to all cars on sale, including used cars, by 2024.

Bac delays

Initially scheduled for mid-March, the speciality tests for the general and technological baccalaureate have been postponed to May 11th-13th due to disruptions caused by the fifth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. 

The Cannes Film Festival 

The 2022 festival will take place from May 17th to 28th at the Palais des festivals et des congrès in Cannes. It will be the 75th edition of the world renowned festival.  

Bubble Museum

The new bubbles, balls and inflatables exhibition at the Grand Halle of La Villette in Paris, will let you continue diving into ball pits until August 21st. 

VIDEO Check out Paris’ new bubble exhibition 

Deadline set for student grants

If you are interested in obtaining a student grant, student social housing, or aid for the 2022-2023 academic year, you have until May 15th to apply. According to the official website, even if you do not have all the elements required for the application, it is still important to fill out the application by the stated deadline.

A new increase in the interest rate?

The tax-free, government-regulated savings account known as the Livret A – used by over 55 million French people – may increase its interest rates due to inflation starting May 1st, 2022. For the moment, no official announcement has been made. But if this announcement is confirmed, then it will be a first in the history of the Livret A. Usually, the rate of the Livret A and the Livret de développement durable et solidaire (LDDS) can only be increased twice a year, specifically on February 1st and August 1st. The rate of the Livret A already changed on February 1st this year, from 0.5 percent to 1 percent.