French government to continue energy price freeze until at least 2023

The French government will continue the freeze on gas and electricity prices until at least the end of the year, and possibly into 2023, the Economy Minister has confirmed.

French government to continue energy price freeze until at least 2023

As energy prices have spiralled across Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions, French households have largely been protected from increasing bills.

The government’s bouclier tarifaire (price shield) has frozen gas prices and capped and electricity price rises at four percent.

The current freeze is in place until the end of June, but Emmanuel Macron’s government has already said that this will be extended, with the extension formalised after the parliamentary elections in June.

In a press briefing on Monday, Economy minister Bruno Le Maire said the price freeze will be in place at least until the end of 2022.

“Gas prices will be frozen and electricity prices will be capped at 4 percent throughout 2022.”

He added: “Without these measures, the French bills would have risen in 2022 by 60 percent for gas and 45 percent for electricity.”

Looking ahead to 2023 he did not commit to continuing the price freeze, but said that the French government would “continue to protect consumers from price hikes, especially lower-income households”.

He said that “all methods remain on the table” in order to protect consumers, saying that the huge spikes in energy prices seen around Europe were “unsupportable and unacceptable”, especially for those on the lowest incomes. 

The public ownership of energy companies means that the French government can regulate prices for gas and electricity, but households in France have still be hit by rising prices for other items including food, household goods and petrol.

The government has introduced a subsidy on fuel prices which runs until July and there are discussions of issuing a chèque alimentaire (food cheque) to lower income households, similar to the €100 chèque energie that was introduced earlier in the year.

The cost of living crisis emerged as the main theme of the presidential elections in April and is still a key issue on the campaign trail for the June parliamentary elections. 

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Fees to class sizes – what you need to know about private schools in France

In many countries, private schools are the preserve of the wealthy elite, but France has a wide network of private schools that are well within the financial reach of ordinary families - James Harrington explains more.

Fees to class sizes - what you need to know about private schools in France

The education system in France has its problems – at the start of the new school year some 4,000 teaching posts were unfilled and the government has launched an ‘emergency plan’ for English language lessons – but there’s no doubting there are wonderful schools and wonderful teachers making every effort to ensure children from aged three to 18 get the education they deserve.

However the country also has a sizeable network of private schools and around 15 percent of French children go to a private school. While some are undoubtedly expensive and elite, others are surprisingly affordable and provide an extra option for parents when deciding on  a school for their children.

Here’s what you need to know; 

Different types

There are two types of private school – sous contrat and hors contrat.

Sous contrat schools, of which there are about 7,500 in France, are part-funded by the state – teachers are paid by the Department of Education, for example – but also charge fees. France’s numerous Catholic schools, or regional language schools are usually sous contrat.

Hors contrat schools – which number about 2,500 – must still meet general education requirements but can choose their teaching methods and have no state funding. Private international schools found in most big cities, such as the American School of Paris, are hors contrat, but still follow mainstream teaching methods.

For comparison, there are around 60,000 state schools in France.


Yes, there are expensive private schools in France. Sending your child to the exclusive Ecole des Roches Private Boarding School, for example, will set you back more than €12,000 a term – not quite Eton or Winchester-level fees, but still well out of the reach of a large portion of the population. But, like Eton and Winchester, they’re not the norm. 

On average, fees for a day pupil – one who goes home at the end of the school day, rather than one who boards at the school – are in the region of around €2,250 a year. Meals are not included, and are generally charged at a slightly higher daily price than at state schools.

Financial aid, including scholarships, may be available for less well-off families.

READ ALSO French school canteens to cut cheese course as inflation bites

Boarding and hours

A large number of state and private schools offer Monday-Thursday boarding. It is not uncommon for pupils who excel at certain subjects or sports to attend collèges or lycées some distance from home, and board during the week.

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Daily school hours, meanwhile, are broadly similar, with children generally starting their school day at around 8am and finishing soon after 4pm on school days. Collège and lycée pupils also go into school on Wednesday mornings, and some may have classes on a Saturday, too.


Smaller class sizes and a reputation for “better” results means that private schools are increasingly popular. The number of French private schools has increased steadily over the last decade, and now 15-20 percent of pupils go to a private establishment of some form. 

On the whole, private schools tend to do better in results league tables – perhaps in part because of the additional investment from parents, but also because class sizes tend to be smaller, which allows for more one-to-one education. Smaller class sizes and more individual attention mean they may also be a better option for children who struggle in big schools.

READ ALSO What kind of school in France is best for my kids?


State schools and sous contrat schools teach to the national curriculum, which leads, in turn, to brevet and baccalaureate qualifications.

In contrast, some hors contrat private schools offer different qualifications, including American High School Diplomas and SATs, British GCSEs and A-Levels, or the international baccalaureate.


Although many sous contrat schools are Catholic, most readily accept non-Catholic children and are not allowed to indoctrinate the Catholic faith. Hors contrat schools, on the other hand, may include a religious element to their teaching.