Language tests, retirement and pets: 6 essential articles for life in France

How to find affordable French classes, save energy and money, protect your property from wildfires - here are our 6 essential articles for living in France.

Language tests, retirement and pets: 6 essential articles for life in France
An older man plays petanque on a sunny day in Cabourg, northwestern France (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

You may have read recently that France is considering making language tests compulsory for all those requesting a residence permit. It’s a prospect that some Local readers are finding unnerving

Language classes can be expensive so if you’re seeking to learn French or just improve your language skills, here are some of the free or affordable classes on offer.

How to find affordable language classes in France

You may also have heard that there’s an energy and cost-of-living crisis on, and the French government has urged people to make a little extra effort to save energy – including by cutting wifi routers when on holiday and lowering the air-con – as it prepares a plan to cut the entire country’s energy use by 10 percent.

It will also save people money… Here’s what we know so far about the plan.

Lower the air-con, cut the wifi and turn off the lights, France urges residents

As France sizzled under a July heatwave, wildfires broke out across the country.

Fires have long been a hazard in the south, but now environmentalists and firefighters are warning that in the years to come they are likely to become more common and affect a wider area. And they could unfortunately become a more regular event – so what steps should you take if you live in France or own property there?

How to protect your French property from wildfires

For all of its current problems, France – it should come as no surprise – is a very decent place to retire.

Some people work here first and then retire, others retire in their home countries and make the move while some second-home owners view their French property as their eventual retirement home. But how does being a pensioner in France compare to other countries?

Pensions, healthcare and cost of living – is France a good country to retire to?

But there are a few things you may want to consider before you take the plunge and move lock, stock and barrel to France…

10 things to think about before moving to France

Let’s segue to animals. There’s a practical side to puppy love in France.

From the certificates you need to sign, to the microchips you need to insert and the documents you need to travel there’s much more to owning a dog than loving them, feeding them and taking them for a walk.

What you need to know about owning a dog in France

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Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.