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HEALTH

What changes in France in July 2021?

The start of summer means schools are breaking up, sales are beginning, and travel restrictions are relaxed. Here’s everything that changes in France in July.

What changes in France in July 2021?
From nightclubs to transport strikes, here's what changes in France in July. All photos: AFP.

Further easing of Covid-19 restrictions

Stage 4 of France’s reopening was on June 30th, with an end to national limits on numbers in restaurants and shops. However, local authorities will now be able to impose their own limitations, so this doesn’t mean a complete end to restrictions.

Concerts with standing audiences are also permitted from June 30th.

Then, on July 9th, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020 (with a health passport).

EU health passport

Travelling within the European Union will become easier from July 1st, as the EU’s health passport scheme begins. From that date, people who can show they are fully vaccinated can travel anywhere within the EU or Schengen zone without needing to follow certain health measures, such as quarantine or testing.

Full details on how the health passport works HERE.

More time to apply for post-Brexit residency

Brits living in France are still able to apply for a carte de séjour, after the process was extended for three months. The deadline was initially June 30th, but the French government recently confirmed that applications will be possible until September 30th. An estimated 25,000 Brits living in France risk losing their rights – if you are British and have not yet applied, click HERE to find out whether you need to.

Summer holidays

The holiday season officially begins on Tuesday, July 6th, as this is the date when schools break up for the summer. Children in France usually have about eight weeks off during the summer. The following weekend is expected to be a busy one on the roads as families head off on holiday.

Summer sales

The summer sales in France will begin on June 30th, after being pushed back a week to give shops a chance to sell their products at full price following the end of lockdown. They will last until July 27th.

Paris plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 10th. And this year, a new spot will join the usual sites on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris. The Jardins du Trocadéro near the Eiffel Tower will become the third location, with a big screen showing the Tokyo Olympics and other sporting events. City authorities also have a programme of concerts and outdoor events.

Festivals

With the easing of health restrictions, expect a much more active cultural life in France in July. Over 200 events are planned in Paris for July and August – mostly outdoors, including music, theatre and dance performances.

A number of music festivals will also take place across the country, including the Vieilles Charrues festival, featuring Céline Dion (July 8th to 18th), and the Francofolies festival in La Rochelle (July 10th to 14th). Large events will require a health passport to enter.

Bastille Day

Workers in France will have an extra day off, as the July 14th celebrations fall on a Wednesday this year. Festivities, including the traditional fireworks display, are set to go ahead in towns and cities across France, after crowds were banned from the Fête nationale in Paris last year.

Strikes

A series of transport strikes will take place at the beginning of the month, starting with railway workers on July 1st. Workers on the budget TGV Ouigo trains are set to go on strike between July 3rd and 4th. Finally, all trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (Charles de Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports) are calling for a strike between July 1st and July 5th.

Full details on the strikes are available HERE.

Higher gas prices

From July 1st, utility company Engie’s regulated gas tariffs will increase by 9.96 percent on average. The specificities of how this applies to cooking, heating or hot water have not yet been announced.

Paternity leave

For children born on or after July 1st, dads in France will be entitled to 25 days of paid leave. Previously, they were only allowed 11 days off.

Changes to furlough

Workers who are on the government’s chômage partiel (partial unemployment) scheme due to the pandemic currently receive 84 percent of their usual salary. From the beginning of July, this will fall to 72 percent, although the reduction does not apply to workers in the hardest-hit industries such as tourism, culture and events.

Energy renovation grants

Since September 2020, homeowners in France have been able to receive government help when undertaking work to make their houses more energy efficient thanks to the MaPrimeRénov’ scheme. Previously, this was means-tested, but from July 1st the policy will be extended to all homeowners.

Incentives for buying electric cars reduced

In December 2020, the French government introduced the prime à la conversion (conversion bonus) to encourage people to buy more energy-efficient vehicles. Grants ranged from €2,000 to €7,000 for people buying a new or second-hand electric or hybrid car. From July, these aids will be reduced by €1,000. Full details are available on the government’s website.

Paris rent control changes

On July 1st, it will be two years since Paris introduced price controls for rented properties. The start of July will also see changes to rent limits. You can find out how much landlords in the capital are allowed to charge here.

Obligatory registration extended to second-hand bikes

Since the beginning of the year, new bikes sold in shops have to be marked, allowing them to be identified and tracked, as the government attempts to counter the widespread problem of bicycle theft. From July 1st, this obligation will be extended to second-hand bikes which are sold by professionals.

You can take your bike on a coach

From July 2021, new intercity coaches will have space for up to five passengers to store a bicycle.

Breathalysers

From July, all supermarkets, off-licences and online shops selling alcohol will be required to sell breathalyser kits.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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