Living in France For Members

What changes in France in 2021?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 1 Jan, 2021 Updated Fri 1 Jan 2021 12:03 CEST
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The new year will bring about a series of changes for those living in France. Here's a roundup of the big ones to look out for.



Brexit - January 1st is the big Brexit day, which means a raft of changes for British people visiting France - find full details on the important dates to look out for here.

Covid-19 rules - on January 7th, the French government hopes that the cultural sector, as cinemas, theatres, museums and the remaining cultural sector can reopen, if the Covid-19 health situation allows.

On January 20th, cafes, bars and restaurants will follow along with an abolishment of the night time curfew - again only if Covid-19 numbers allow.

Covid-19 vaccine - January is the month France begins phase 1 of Covid vaccinations. Ehpad (nursing home) residents and staff members will be the first to get the jab in France. Read about the plan HERE, and why France is one of the most vaccine skeptic countries in the world HERE.

Police - Macron will also embark on the tricky task of reforming French police in January. The planned round-table discussions will bring together police union representatives, lawmakers and community leaders, in a bid to figure out how to improve relations between the police and communities. 

ANALYSIS How did France's relationship with its own police get so bad?



Minimum wage bump - France's minimum wage (SMIC) is automatically adjusted every January 1st. The past 10 years the minimum wage has increased steadily, and it will continue to rise in 2021, by €15 (0.99 percent) in total, reaching a gross monthly salary of €1,554,58 . 

Renovating - Those planning to renovate their homes can get up to €20,000 in the government sponsored grant scheme MaPrimeRenov as of January 1st. For full details and how to apply, click HERE.

Household tax - The taxe d'habitation (the tax tenants pay) continues to be phased out in 2021. Some 80 percent of French households saw the tax scrapped in 2020. In 2021, 65 percent households in France will see the tax disappear.



Covid-19 - The current State of Health Emergency runs out on February 16th. Read about what that means HERE.

The second phase of vaccinations begins in February or March, which will include high risk groups such as people with chronic health conditions and some health care workers. Full details HERE.


Covid-19 - Phase 3 of Covid-19 vaccines is set to begin "late spring", so it may not be in March. This is when the vaccine will be made available to the remaining population (around 52 million people), although in several stages.

Elections - France's regional elections were scheduled for March 2021, but could be pushed back to June due to the Covid-19 health situation. 


April 5th contains the first bank holiday of 2021, a year that will be particularly poor in public holidays.

READ ALSO The French holiday calendar for 2021


Film - The Cannes film festival serves up 12 days of movie magic on the French Riviera each May, and cinema lovers hope this year's health situation will allow the show to go ahead as planned.


Elections - France's regional elections will likely be held in June instead of March, due to the Covid-19 situation. 

Brexit - British people living in France have until June 30th to apply for their carte de séjour residency permit. Find out how to do that HERE.


Sports - July is the month Tour de France usually kicks off, although last year the epic cycling event was pushed back to September due to the Covid-19 health crisis. Tour de France is known as “the world's most prestigious and most difficult bicycle race".

AUTUMN - The presidential elections may not be until 2022, but the campaigning will kick off for real months before, likely at some point in the autumn.

Not many candidates have announced that they will stand yet. Far-left party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of France Unbowed (La France Insoumise), is one of the few who have, along with rightwinger Rachida Dati, who lost out to sitting mayor Anne Hidalgo in the Paris municipal elections in June 2020. Dati, from Les Républicains (the Republicans), chose an unusual platform to announce her ambitions - the British newspaper The Times


Brexit - from October 1st, all British people living in France will need to be in possession of a carte de séjour residency card. Those living here without the card will be considered undocumented migrants, which can result in losing access to healthcare and social security, as well as the right to work.

Time - Summertime might last throughout winter in 2021. The European Union wants to scrap the October winter time change. But the Covid-19 health crisis has pushed less pressing issues - such as preferences regarding morning or evening light - further down on the agenda, meaning nothing is certain yet. Full details here.


By December night trains will be running between Vienna and Paris, a first step to expand inter-European nocturnal train services in a bid to lower carbon emissions in Europe.

MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer

Brexit - British people living in France have until December 31st to apply to switch their UK driving licence for a French one. This is the deadline to have made the application, not to be in possession of the card, and refers only to British residents. British visitors to France can still drive on their UK licence.



The Local 2021/01/01 12:03

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