What changes about life in France in October 2020?

What changes about life in France in October 2020?
All photos: AFP
From school holidays to gas prices rises - not to mention possible extra Covid-19 restrictions - there is a lot going on in France this month.

Paris stays up all night

The Nuit Blanche (sleepless night) will go ahead as planned in Paris on Saturday, October 3rd. This night sees museums and other cultural atractions stay open all night, along with other nocturnal activities in a scaled-down event – full article here.

At least for now, the health minister is set to make an announcement on Thursday evening and could announce new restrictions in Paris and several other cities.

Watch out for new Covid-19 rules

That leads us to the second point, this month could see local authorities bringing in new restrictive measures to stem the spread in their areas. 

The government has set up an alert scheme based on Covid-19 rates that decides what restrictions must be taken in an area that finds itself bumped up to a higher level of alert and these levels are revised weekly. We will of course be covering all the latest on health rules here.

EXPLAINED: How does France's new Covid-19 alert system work?

Those affected can get economic help

Businesses in the restaurant and tourism sector may access the government's help schemes set up in March to avoid mass unemployment and chain bankruptcies. 

The furlough scheme known as chomage partiel (partial unemployment) will be made fully available for all hospitality businesses until December 31st.

Businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors will also be able to access the solidarity fund grant scheme until the end of the year. 

Schools take Toussaint holidays

This year's Toussaint school vacations begin on Saturday, October 17th and end on Sunday, November 1st, so schools in all zones in France return to class on Monday November 2nd.

The bad news here is that Toussaint itself, November 1st, falls on a Sunday this year so will not be a public holiday as it normally is.

Access the public holiday here

You can get help to renovate your home

A new grant of up to €20,000 per household features in the French government's relaunch plan set in place to help stimulate the economy reeling from the impact of Covid-19.

The government has set aside a total €2 billion for households, and the grants will cover renovations such as changing the heater or improving the insulation.

Only owners can access the scheme, so not those renting – and only for their first home, it's not available for second homeowners – and the building needs to be more than 2 years old.

Only work done from October 1st will be accepted (so applicants need a dévis signed as of that date). Applications cannot be sent in before January 1st, according to the government.

There is also a “resource limit” that checks that those applying for the grant do not exceed the wealth threshold.

For more information and to access the grant, go to MaPrimeRénov'. You can also call +33 (0) 8 08 800 700 if you have specific questions on the scheme.

READ ALSO From taxes to toilets: All you need to know about renovating a house in France

Gas prices spike

From October 1st gas prices will increase by 4.7 percent on average for French households, according to the French Energy Regulation Commission (CRE). Gas prices in France had steadily declined for months until they began rising in August, although at a slight level of 1.3 percent on average. 

This month the increase will be 1.2 percent for households depending on gas for cooking, 4.9 percent for those using gas for heating, and 2.6 percent for homes using gas for both purposes.

Don’t forget the property tax

There are two main types of property tax in France, taxe foncière which is paid by the building owner and taxe d'habitation which is paid by the person who lives in the building.

If you are among those who have to pay the taxe foncière, the deadline is October 15th.


Brexit Carte de Séjour website goes live

At least it's supposed to, the website has been delayed several times and was supposed to launch on October 1st. 

The government has said the delay should be no longer than until “mid October”. More information here.

We enter winter time

The night between Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th will be one hour longer, meaning we get an extra hour of sleep, but lose an hour of sunlight in the evening.

At 3am on Saturday night, all clocks have to be turned back one hour, for what could be the last time (there's a big discussion on whether to abolish winter time once and for all in the EU).

Helpers can get paid leave

Those in charge of an elderly, sick or handicapped person (either family or someone close) will be able to access paid leave of absence of three months – which is renewable but cannot exceed one year – as of October 1st.

Previously, those finding themselves in this situation could ask for paid compensation from their work, but their employer was not obliged to acquiesce.

There are conditions attached to this scheme, one of them being that the person that is helped resides in France in a “stable and regular manner,” according to the government's website (where there are full details on the criteria).

The parliament gets citizen platform

France's Assemblée nationale on October 1st launched a new online petition website where citizens may request a public debate on issues that gather more than 500,000 signatures in at least 30 départements.

Those signing must be over 18 years old, either French or residing regularly in France.

This is the website.


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