What changes in France from March 2017

As with every new month in France, March 1st brings with it some minor changes to laws and rules that could have a significant impact on your life.

New signs warning for speed cameras

From March 1st new signage will be rolled out aimed at making drivers aware of dangerous zones and the speed limits they need to follow and will alert them to the presence of a speed camera just down the road.

The Local covered the story last month. CLICK HERE for details.

Perhaps  the most useful aspect of the news signs is the inclusion of a reminder of the legal speed limit on that stretch of road, which for foreign drivers at least is often hard to remember.

New rules for construction projects

From now on, any construction project bigger than 150 square metres, must handed to an architect for consultation before building permission is given. Previously the limit was set at 170 square metres.

Farm buildings are not subject to the regulations.

New Airbnb/ Sharing economy rules

From March 1st sharing economy websites like Airbnb, Drivy and Le Bon Coin where transactions take place between members of the public, must warn users of their obligations to pay tax on their earning or at least declare their earnings.

Users will see the warning after each transaction and the hope is they will declare their earnings to the French tax man at the end of the year.

Gas prices

Gas prices rarely stay the same from month to month and March is no different.

After a drop in prices in February they were once again on the rise for customers of gas provider Engie.

The rise will be around 2.63 percent on average. The rise will be slightly higher (2.7 percent) for those who use gas to heat their homes but only 0.9 percent for those who use gas just for cooking.

The commission in charge of setting prices says the rise is due to the hike in prices on the market caused by high consummation of gas in January and February.

Doctors give 'sport prescriptions'

From now on, anyone suffering from a long term illness such as cancer or heart problems can be prescribed a sporting activity by their doctor. The scheme has already been tested in Strasbourg and Biarritz to good effect.

Some 10 million French people undergo treatment each year in France for long term illnesses of some sort and they can now ask the doctor to prescribe them an appropriate sporting activity.

Biometric ID cards

For anyone with French nationality you can now in theory apply online to renew your carte d’identité, which will be biometric from now on. Although it won’t apply to everyone in France from the start of the month.

From now on requests for renewals of identity cards will be dealt with by Town Halls as is the case for passports, but it will take a while to equip France’s Town Halls with the necessary equipment to create bio-metric passports.


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France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew

France has extended its winter sales period by two weeks after a request from shops struggling with the loss of revenue due to the 6pm curfew.

France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew
Photo: AFP

The winter sales – pushed from their original start date at the beginning of January – had been due to end on Tuesday, February 16th.

However the French finance ministry has announced the extension of the sales period until March 2nd.

The decision “compensates for the impact of the 6pm curfew by allowing customers to spread out their purchases” and comes after a request from retailers, such a spokesman.

Retailers have reported the sales have been much less busy than usual as customers opt to avoid crowded places.

Also impacting on stores is the closure, from January 31st, of shopping centres and department stores more than 20,000 square metres and the 6pm curfew, which has curtailed the usually busy evening shopping period.

Sales in France are strictly regulated and the summer and winter sales take place on dates set by the government.