Kids, old age and tax rules: 6 essential articles for life in France

From the secret of a long life to rules on taking French wine and cheese over the border, via a tax warning for second-home owners and a look at what raising children in France is really like, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Kids, old age and tax rules: 6 essential articles for life in France
Having children in France brings with it some surprises. Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Last year, in response to numerous legal claims from neo-rurals complaining about the sights, sounds and smells of village life, French lawmakers passed a bill protecting the countryside’s ‘sensory heritage’. 

Now, the limits of that law are being tested as a second homeowner in southwest France takes a neighbour to court over the noise made by their cockerel. We explain it all here.

Cockerel in legal case to test France’s new law to protect rural heritage

Now, some urbanites might not like the business end of food production in France, but there’s no doubt that the end result is hugely popular. 

Holidaymakers are known to stock up on a little French cheese, wine and sausage while they’re here – but what does the UK government’s latest announcement on Brexit checks mean for travellers wanting to take food back into the UK? We have the answers.

Can I take French meat, cheese and wine into the UK in 2022?

The post-Brexit carte de séjour was intended for Britons already living in France before the end of 2020 as a relatively easy way to regularise their residency here. 

It seems that some second-home owners – perhaps after receiving misleading advice or through a misunderstanding of the system or even the belief that they have found a loophole – have acquired a post-Brexit residency card. And that could cause problems with the French tax man.

As we’re now in tax season, here is what you need to know.

Tax warning for second-home owners with French carte de séjour

Like many languages, French is increasingly addicted to initials and acronyms, which can be confusing for foreigners when used in everyday speech. Here are some of the most common.

SIDA to IRM to RIB: Everyday French initials and acronyms to know

From schools to food, behaviour to sports, being a parent in France has its own unique quirks – here, one dad-of-three explains what raising children here is really like, from the official letter you get when you’re still in the ‘expecting’ phase, to the truth about French children’s behaviour.

Family-centred society: What it’s really like being a parent in France

And then there’s the other end of this thing we call life.

In the week a French woman, Sister André, officially became the world’s oldest person we explain why life expectancy here is so high. 

Why do the French live so long?

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Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

This weekend represents the first chance to 'faire le pont' and have a long holiday weekend - and the French seem set to make the most of it with warnings of extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday.

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

Thursday, May 26th marks the Christian festival of Ascension and is a public holiday in France.

More importantly, it’s the first time this year that French workers have had the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) and create a long weekend.

In France, most public holidays fall on different days each year and if they happen to fall on the weekend then there are no extra days off work.

This year that happened on New Year’s Day (a Saturday) and both of the early May public holidays (the workers’ holiday on May 1st and VE Day on May 8th, which both fell on a Sunday).

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays

But as Ascension is on a Thursday, workers have the option to take a day of annual leave on Friday and therefore create a nice four-day weekend.

And it appears that many are planning on doing just that, as the traffic forecaster Bison futé is predicting extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday evening, as people prepare to make their after-work getaway and head to the coast, the countryside or the mountains to fully profit from their holiday weekend.

According to Bison futé maps, the whole country is coloured red – very heavy traffic – on both Wednesday and Thursday as people take to the roads to leave the cities.

Map: Bison futé

Meanwhile Sunday is coloured black – the highest level, meaning extremely heavy traffic and difficult driving conditions – across the whole country. 

Map: Bison futé

If you were hoping to take the train instead you might be out of luck, SNCF reports that most TGV services are sold out for over the holiday weekend.