The small changes to life in France from July 2016

The small changes to life in France from July 2016
Fancy some Sunday shopping in Paris? Photo: AFP
July is here and with a new month comes another raft of changes for France. Here's what you need to know.

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. 
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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. 
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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”.
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