Travel, cake and taxes: 6 essential articles for life in France

From a glimmer of hope for UK travellers to the France's high-speed internet plans, via one final Christmas treat, here's our pick of six recent articles that will help you to better understand life in France.

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French internet coverage and mobile roaming charges in the EU were among our recent headlines. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP

After tightening travel restrictions to and from the UK the weekend before Christmas in an ultimately failed attempt to stop the Omicron variant sweeping across France, the French government this week decided to relax some of its travel measures.

The first raft of changes are relatively small, and focus on a slight enlargement of France’s “essential travel” category. So, for now some questions remain – and we’ve done our best to answer as many as we can.

When will France fully lift travel restrictions on the UK?

Throughout the pandemic, with all its travel restrictions, curfews, work from home rules and lockdown (remember Spring 2020?), online communication exploded. Meetings took place via Zoom, while Slack took the online intra-business chat world by storm. Streaming video on demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus picked up subscribers by the bucketload. 

Now, France claims to have the widest high-speed internet coverage of any country in Europe. Two-thirds of French households currently have access to high-speed internet. The government wants to ensure that 80 percent of French households will have access by the end of 2022 and that the entire country is covered by 2025. 

So we asked the obvious question: Is France’s plan for nationwide high-speed internet by 2025 on track? If you live in a bit of France that currently does not benefit from high-speed internet access, you may be surprised.

And we found that France’s electronic communications regulator, ARCEP, knows when the remaining 33 percent of the country will join the high-speed internet revolution.

MAP: When will my part of rural France get high-speed internet?

Meanwhile, as UK mobile phone network operators get ready to reintroduce roaming charges, while most EU operators seem set to keep the ‘free to roam’ status quo we outline what new charges are in store for travellers from the UK to France and beyond.

How roaming charges will hit travellers between the UK and EU in 2022

Christmas may be over for another year, as the French return to work – but they don’t  like to let the festive period go without one final hurrah. Cue Epiphany, officially the Christian holiday commemorating the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus. 

In France, that’s an excuse to put off the diet just a while longer and enjoy one last blowout on a delicious galette des rois. Or two. Or three. Sadly, there’s a higher price this year than your expanding waistline…

Why the French Galette des Rois is getting more expensive

Speaking of paying the piper, here are a few important financial dates for your diaries in 2022.

The French tax calendar for 2022 – which taxes are due when?

Finally, from Brits needing residency cards to free contraception, here are some of the changes coming to France this year you should know about. 

What changes in France in 2022?

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What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

Under French law, dogs, cats and ferrets that are kept as pets must be identified and registered on a national database.

What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

The animal must be identifiable by a tattoo or microchip – the most common method – registered on the Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database. 

All dogs aged four months and over, cats over seven months old, and ferrets born after November 1st, 2021, that are over seven months old that were, must be tagged in this way. This also offers pet owners peace of mind as it means they can be easily identified and returned if they go missing, as pets sometimes do.

READ ALSO Do you really need a licence if your cat has kittens in France?

The procedure to insert the microchip, or ink the tattoo, must be carried out by an approved professional. The procedure should be done by a vet and costs between €40 and €70.

For anyone who has travelled to France from another country with a pet, the animal will already be microchipped – and on the register. But if the animal joined a family while in France, a trip to the vet may be in order.

READ ALSO Paperwork and shots: How to bring a pet to France from the USA

Once the animal is registered on the database, the owner will receive a letter from I-CAD, along with a credit card-sized document listing the registered animal’s details, including its home address.

It is up to the owner to ensure the details remain correct, including notifying the database operators of any change of address. This can be done via the I-CAD website. Alternatively, you could use the Filalapat app (download for free here), or the more traditional postal service.

As well as declaring any change of address, you should also inform the database operators if you are giving up the animal, or if it dies.

Under a 2021, first-time buyers of cats or dogs have to sign a ‘certificate of commitment and understanding’ before they are allowed to purchase a pet. 

After the signed document is delivered to the authorities, future owners have seven days to change their mind – the idea is to prevent people from ‘impulsively’ buying pets only to abandon them later.