What changes in France in December 2021

A woman holds up a decorations at a French Christmas market.
Christmas and Covid restrictions. Here is what is happening in France in December. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)
Holidays, property tax deadlines, changes to health pass rules and much more. Here's what changes in France as the year 2021 draws to a close.

Unemployment benefits change – December 1st

In October, changes to the way unemployment benefit payments were calculated came into place. These reforms are now going further from December 1st. 

You must now have been in work for 6 out of the last 25 months, rather than 4 out of the last 28 months, to be eligible for payments. This rule does not apply to anyone aged over 53. The government has argued that this change comes as a result of France’s economic bounce back

Rent limits introduced in Seine Saint-Denis – December 1st

The nine communes of Seine Saint-Denis have imposed rent limits in a bid to make housing more affordable. You can find an interactive map of the new limits here

Saint Nicolas Day – December 6th

In Germany the festival of St Nicolas is a big deal and for historic reasons certain parts of France celebrate it too. It’s not a public holiday but it is a day of celebration with small presents for children, parades in some towns and special gingerbread for everyone.

Saint Nicolas: The ‘extra’ December festival that some of France celebrates


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France could become smaller – December 12th 

New Caledonia, a French-administered territory in the southwest Pacific ocean, will have its third independence referendum in three years. In 2018 and 2020, the islands chose to remain part of France, but the 1998 Nouméa agreement states that a third referendum must take place if there are two consecutive ‘remain’ votes. 

The pro-independence Kanak and Socialist Liberation Front have called for the vote to be delayed for reasons linked to the deadly impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the islands. The group said they would not recognise the result of the election. But so far, their protests have largely been ignored.

“Non-participation is a democratic right, but it will not have a legal impact,” said Sébastien Lecornu, the minister in charge of France’s overseas territories. 

Energy checks paid out – December 13th 

Close to 6 million French households will receive grants worth €100 to help offset energy bills. These payments will be made between December 13-22nd and are designed to help poorer households cope with the winter cold

Throughout the entire month of December, there will be no hike on gas prices, with tarifs fixed at the same rate as on October 1st. This is part of the government’s strategy  

We have written our own guide to help you save money on energy bills in France. You can read it here

Deadline to correct income tax declaration – December 15th 

The deadline to declare your 2020 earnings has now passed. But if you made a mistake in filing your tax return online, you have up until December 15th to change the following details: the number of people in your care; whether you have paid a media license fee; your revenue; your expenses; your tax credits; and the tax paid on property fortunes (IFI) worth more than €1.3 million. 

You can make these changes via your personal account on the website. 

If you sent your tax return by post and made a mistake, you will have to amend any of these details in writing. Further details can be found here.  

Deadline to pay tax on vacant property – December 15th

In certain communes, you must pay a tax if you own a property that has been unoccupied for an extended period of time. 

If your property is in a zone tendue (an area with a housing shortage), you must pay the taxe sur logements vacants (TLV). This applies if the property has been unoccupied for a year or more. 

If your property is not in a zone tendue, you might have to pay the taxe d’habitation sur les logements vacants (THLV). This only applies to you if your commune has voted in support of this tax. This only applies to properties that have been vacant for two years or more. 

There is an online simulator that tells you whether or not your property is situated in a zone tendue. There are various exemptions to these taxes available on the website

Booster shots required for over 65s for health pass validity – December 15th

Over 65s will begin to need a booster shoot in order to keep a valid health pass. Past this date, if you are over 65 and it has been more than seven months since your last dose but haven’t received a booster, then your health pass will be deactivated.

From January 15th, this rule will also apply to anyone aged 18 or older. 

School holidays begin – December 18th 

Schools across France will close from December 18th until January 3rd, for the Christmas break. There is likely to be heavy traffic on the roads beginning on the night of Friday 17th and running over the weekend. 

Christmas bank holiday – December 25th

In France, December 25th is a holiday. Unfortunately, this year, it falls on a Saturday, so there’s no extra day off for workers.

December 24th and 26th are not public holidays in France, although quite a lot of businesses do let their employees take days off during these days. Many businesses will be closed. 

January 1st is also a holiday, but again this falls on a Saturday this year.    

‘Inflation bonus’ and other benefits – December 31st

People earning less than €2,000 post-tax each month will receive an inflation bonus in their pay-check at the end of the month. Employers are automatically obliged to transfer €100, to help offset inflation experienced in France towards the end of 2021. Some 38 million people will receive this sum. 

Civil servants, job-seekers and students benefiting from French state-backed loans will have to wait until January to receive the bonus, while pensioners will have to wait until February. 

If you are already receiving payments through CAF or MSA, you can also expect to receive extra money around the middle of the month. As a single beneficiary you will receive €154.52; as a couple or parent you will receive €228.67; and as a household of three people, the one-off ‘bonus’ rises to €274.41. For larger households, there is an extra €60 per additional child. 

Deadline to be in possession of a post-Brexit carte de séjour – December 31st

Brits who had been resident in France before December 31st 2020 had up until October 4th to ask for a carte de séjour, or French residency card, under the special arrangements put in place to deal with Brexit. 

The website to do so is now closed. However, if you applied but have been asked to provide further documentary evidence, you can do so here up until December 31st, while it will be a legal requirement to be in possession of the card from January 1st 2022. 

British people who have only recently turned 18 since October 4th, have arrived in France as a family member since October 4th, or were unable to apply for health reasons, can still apply under the Brexit framework, but this is done via their local préfecture, not through the website.

Member comments

  1. Exactly what kind of covid test do I need to board my flight to France on Dec. 29, 2021. Must it be a PCR test which can take 3-5 days (but I need it in 48 hours) or a fast antigen test with results in 30 minutes? I read somewhere that the test must be able to detect protein N of sars-cov2; what ever that means. Can you clear this up for me?

  2. Really??!! Not okay for so many reasons, UNLESS a very good reason I don’t know yet—
    Anyone, please?

    “Christmas bank holiday – December 25th
    In France, December 25th is a holiday. Unfortunately, this year, it falls on a Saturday, so there’s no extra day off for workers.
    December 24th and 26th are not public holidays in France, although quite a lot of businesses do let their employees take days off during these days. Many businesses will be closed.
    January 1st is also a holiday, but again this falls on a Saturday this year.”

      1. Don’t know how many, especially in the whole world,
        but EVEN the U.S.
        who lags behind—far behind— so very many countries around the world
        in healthcare,
        time off for important family events (birth, death, health caregiver related, etc.),
        work/life balance (vacation days for full-time employment),
        adds a Friday or Monday to a major holiday that falls on a Saturday or Sunday…..
        Just sayin’….

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