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What changes in France in October 2021?

What changes in France in October 2021?
All photos: AFP
With changes to health passports and Brexit deadlines, tax deadlines and wine sales, there's a lot going on in France this October.

Over 12s need a health passport

The health passport has been required for entry to a wide variety of venues in France since August, but initially only for adults. However from October 1st, it is required by all over 12s who want to enter venues including restaurants, cafés, museums, cinemas, long-distance trains or large events – including those who are accompanied by family members.

While more than 60 percent of French teens have already had at least one dose since the vaccination programme opened up to them in June, this requirement could pose a problem for families holidaying in France from countries that have not yet begun to vaccinate under 18s.

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Free Covid tests end

From October 15th, Covid tests cease to be free for French residents. Tests required for medical reasons (eg if you have symptoms or are a contact case) will still be free but ‘convenience tests’ will be charged at a maximum rate of €29 for an antigen test or €49 for a PCR test. The intention is to stop people using regular tests to use the health passport and instead push more people to get vaccinated.

Tourists and visitors to France have been charged for tests since July.

READ ALSO How to get a Covid test in France

No more free last-minute refunds on SNCF

French rail operator SNCF has offered free cancellation and alteration on its train tickets right up until the time of travel during the pandemic, but this has now come to an end. You can still change or cancel your ticket with no extra charge up to three days before departure, but after that you will not receive a full refund.

Brits in France required to have residency card – POSTPONED

October 1st was originally the deadline for UK nationals who were full-time residents in France before December 31st 2020 to be in possession of the carte de séjour residency card. However, this deadline has now been pushed back to January 1st 2022 – full details here.

READ ALSO What changes for Brits in France in October

UK travel rules change

Also related to Brexit is a change of travel rules to the UK. From October 1st, the vast majority of EU citizens can no longer travel into the UK using an ID card, only passports are acceptable. Full details HERE.

UK car stickers

If you’re driving a British-registered car into France from October you will need to replace your GB car sticker with a UK one, a new rule from the British government.

Tax bills arrive

Payments are due in October for the property owner’s tax, taxe foncière, and the TV licence.

READ ALSO The French tax calendar for 2021

Minimum wage increase

The minimum wage, known as the SMIC, increases on October 1st to a pre-tax monthly rate of €1,589.47 for a full-time worker (up 2.2 percent from €1,554.58) while the pre-tax hourly rate rises from €10.25 to €10.48.

Changes to unemployment benefits

The second part of the government’s overhaul of the unemployment benefits system comes into force from October 1st. This affects how payments are calculated. Unemployment benefits in France are calculated as a percentage of your former salary, rather than a flat rate, and from October the calculation used will change to a monthly average, rather than an average of days worked.

Find full details on the changes here

Cuts to pandemic support

France has been gradually phasing out its financial support packages as the country reopens, but from October 1st the solidarity fund, which allowed businesses to claim money to offset their Covid-related financial losses, will end. It will be replaced by grants targeting businesses in hard-hit industries such as travel and tourism.

Gas prices rise

Regulated gas prices will rise by 12.6 percent on October 1st.  That represents a 5 percent pre-tax price rise for households which use gas for cooking, 9.1 percent for those who have dual use, cooking and hot water, and 14.3 percent for households that have gas central heating. This follows a 7.9 percent increase in September and reflects a global rise in gas prices.

Foires aux vins 

With the French wine harvest – which usually runs from mid September to mid October depending on the weather and the region – well underway, keep an eye out for deals on wine. Most supermarkets and wine sellers run Foires aux vins (wine fairs) during September and October which can be great places to snap up a bargain few cases. Find the full list of dates here.

Nuit blanche

Paris on October 2nd holds its annual Nuit blanche (sleepless night), when venues including museums stay open all night – find the full programme here.

READ ALSO The 11 best festivals and events in France in autumn 2021 

Paris Marathon

The Paris marathon is back after being one of the first big events to be cancelled because of the pandemic, way back in February 2020. Rescheduled several times since then, the 2021 race will take place on October 17th. The half marathon passed off successfully on September 5th, so organisers will be hoping the marathon can go ahead too. All runners will need a health passport.

School holidays

The autumn Toussaint (All Saints) holiday for all schools in France begins on Saturday, October 23rd and runs until Monday, November 8th.

Trêve hivernale starts

October 31st marks the last day when tenants who are in arrears can be evicted from their home, or have their electricity or gas supplies cut off.

The trêve hivernale (winter truce) begins on November 1st and runs until May 31st 2022 – during this period landlords are not legally allowed to evict tenants. The 2020/21 truce had been extended until June because of the ongoing economic fallout from the pandemic and lockdowns.

Clocks change

At 3am on Sunday, October 31st, the clocks will go back by one hour marking the end of summer time.

. . . And don’t forget that Monday, November 1st is a public holiday, so a nice long weekend to finish the month.


Member comments

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  1. What a pathetic bunch of appeasers the staff at the local are.

    Can you really not see what is happening right under your noses? Not one effing question asking if these infringements on hard won liberties are still about health.

    Call yourselves journalists! You’re a joke.

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