This week in France: What you need to know

Christmas lights illuminate the French capital.
Christmas lights illuminate the French capital. It is going to be a busy week in Paris and beyond. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
From tax deadlines, to protests, via night trains, here's what's changing this week in France.


Energy checks paid out

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 tariffs 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

SNCF to increase health pass checks

In a bid to control the spread of the virus, SNCF is stepping up health pass checks for its train services. One in three trains will have guards checking for valid health passes as opposed to one in four trains currently. 

The Prêt à voyager app will allow travellers to combine health passes and train tickets into one single QR code. 

A week of protests? 

A French confederation of trade unions known as the Force Ouvrière has called for a “mobilisation” in the country’s transport and logistics sectors, up until Friday. We will keep you updated on any disruption that could impact your travel plans. 


First ever Vienna-Paris night train arrives in the French capital 

Nightjet is a new overnight train service, covering some 1,400km, that will run between French and Austrian capitals. Its first ever passengers will arrive in Gare de l’Est on Tuesday morning. 

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Tickets to Vienna will cost from €29.90 for a seated place, €49.90 for a family compartment, and €89.90 for a single room with a bed. The train service stops off at other destinations including Strasbourg, Munich and Salzburg. 


President Macron on TF1 

French President Emmanuel Macron will be interviewed by broadcaster, TF1, at 9pm. He has yet to announce his candidacy for the 2022 presidential election but polls suggest he is the frontrunner. Macron will likely use the occasion to outline his successes and president and perhaps outline his vision for the future. 

Health pass rule change for over 65s

From Wednesday, health passes for over 65s who have not had a booster dose of Covid vaccine will be progressively deactivated. People in this age group will need to have a vaccine within five to seven months of their previous dose (or recorded infection) – or risk losing the right to enter various public venues like bars and restaurants.

The same rule will apply to anyone over the age of 18 from January 15th. 

Over 65s no longer need to make an appointment to get a booster dose – they can simply walk into vaccination sites to get injected. 

We have a detailed breakdown of the new health pass rules HERE and a guide on how to get a booster dose HERE

Christmas bonus 

The government will pay out a form of financial aid known as the prime de Noël to 2.3 million French households. 

Single beneficiaries will receive €154.52; couples or parents receive €228.67; and as a households of three people receive €274.41. For larger households, there is an extra €60 paid out per additional child. 

You can read more about whether you qualify for this payment and the French tradition of Christmas solidarité HERE.

Deadline for correcting income tax declaration

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 for paying vacant property tax

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

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


Schools break up 

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. 


Anti-racism protests

More than 200 organisations have called for anti-racism protests across France, to mark International Migrants Day. Organisers describe this call to protest as a “united answer to racist politics and speeches”. 

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