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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in November 2021

From herring festivals and wine days to new driving laws and a relaxation of travel rules, here's everything that changes in France this November.

What changes in France in November
All photo: AFP

November 1st and 11th public holidays

November has two public holidays – Monday 1st to mark All Saints Day (Toussaint) and November 11th to mark Armistice Day. The holiday commemorating the end of World War I falls on a Thursday this year, providing one of the few opportunities in 2021 to faire le pont.

Toussaint school holidays

Children also get a break in late October/early November. The Toussaint school holidays run from Saturday, October 23rd to Monday, November 7th.

Travel to USA

From November 8th travellers from Europe will again be allowed into the USA, provided they are vaccinated. The USA’s borders have been closed to almost all non-US citizens since early 2020, but from November 8th travel for non-essential reasons will again be permitted, provided travellers are fully vaccinated.

Snow tires

From November 1st, snow tires or chains are compulsory in 48 different départements of France. Local authorities set the list of applicable roads for the Loi montagne (mountain law), which comes into effect this year.

Failure to comply means a €135 fine – although police say they will not fine drivers for the first year the law is in effect, but will instead concentrate on educating people and making them aware of the new rules.

Driving app law

From November 1st, drivers are banned from alerting others about upcoming police checks or roadblocks via motoring apps.

Health pass extension

November 15th was the original expiry date for the pass sanitaire (health passport), but French MPs have voted in favour of extending it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the pass itself will remain in use until next year, but that the government can extend or reintroduce it without having to consult parliament.

Flu vaccination programme

The flu vaccine rollout is already underway for people in priority groups, but from November 23rd anyone can be vaccinated.

The vaccine is free for people in a priority group. Those not considered a priority can still access it via their GP or pharmacist, but will have to pay between €6 and €10 for the vaccine, plus the cost of an appointment to administer it, reimbursed at the usual rate for those registered in the French health system.

Click here for the full list of priority groups and access.

Gas price freeze

Prices for domestic gas were scheduled to increase by 15 percent on November 1st, but the government has stepped in to freeze prices until the end of 2022, so bills for heating and cooking gas will remain the same.

More fishing wars?

In the latest round of conflict between the UK and French governments over post-Brexit fishing licences, the French government says it will begin ‘retaliation’ from November 2nd, this has now been postponed, but still expect lots of political sniping plus possible travel disruption.

Trêve hivernale

The winter truce – trêve hivernale – begins on November 1st and runs until March 31st 2022. During this time, tenants cannot be evicted from their homes even if they are in arrears with their rent, while utility companies cannot cut off people who have not paid their bills.

Quit smoking

November in France is the Mois sans tabac (tobacco-free month) in which public health bodies run campaigns and offer extra support to people who want to quit smoking.

Don’t forget to pay your household tax and TV licence fee

Although 80 percent of taxpayers in France no longer have to pay the residence tax (taxe d’habitation), higher earners and second-home owners will still receive bills. The deadline to pay this tax is November 15th by post and November 20th online. 

Almost all households equipped with a TV have to pay the €138 TV licence fee. The deadlines are the the same as those for the residence tax. 

Dieppe herring festival

November means herring festivals in coastal Normandy as locals gather to celebrate one of their most famous products. The festival in Dieppe on November 13th and 14th is the biggest, but many other towns hold festivals of herring (and sometimes scallops) through the month of November – click here for a full list.

READ ALSO The 9 best festivals in France this autumn

Beaujolais Nouveau Day

The third Thursday in November (Thursday,18th this year) marks the day that the new bottles of beaujolais hit the shelves.

The special day is the first of the year that wine-makers are allowed to sell their primeurs (the young wines that are produced quickly and are ready to drink six to eight weeks after the harvest).

The day itself started out life as just a marketing gimmick, but towns around the Burgundy region have their own festivals to mark the start of Beaujolais Nouveau sales, the largest of which is in Lyon where the barrels of wine are rolled through the city centre before being opened.

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For members

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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