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LIVING IN FRANCE

Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?

Retail bosses have warned of a 'tsunami' of rising prices in France in 2023 as inflation is set to spiral when government price protections end - here's what we know about the items that will increase in price from January.

Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?
Food prices are predicted to rise sharply in 2023. Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP

Electricity and gas bills

French households have so far been extremely fortunate compared to their European neighbours, and have seen minimal or no rises to their utility bills. This is because the government imposed a price freeze on gas prices and a maximum four percent rise on electricity prices, but both of these measures expire at the end of this year.

From January, gas bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent and from February electricity bills can rise by a maximum of 15 percent. For the average household, this will represent an extra €20 a month. 

EXPLAINED What your French energy bills will look like in 2023

Petrol prices

The government is also currently helping out motorists with fuel prices using the fuel rebate – which is applied at the pump and results in lower costs to motorists filling up their cars. In mid November this fell from 35 cents per litre to 10 cents a litre, and will disappear entirely at the end of the year.

This will result in an extra €5 for the average driver to fill their car compared to the December price, and an extra €17.50 compared to the early November price. 

From January there will be €100 grants available for motorists on a low income who need their car for work – full details here.

OPINION An inflation ‘tsunami’ is about to hit France

Driving will also become more expensive in France for those taking toll-roads. The French ministry of transport announced that in February 2023, toll fees on France’s main motorways will increase by an average of 4.75 percent. 

READ MORE: Péage: Toll rates for motorists in France to increase in 2023

Food prices

The price of food has already risen significantly since 2020, but supermarket boss Michel-Edouard Leclerc (head of the E.Leclerc chain) has warned of a “tsunami” of price rises in 2023.

This is largely due to suppliers increasing prices, he said, after trying not to pass on price rises to customers in 2022, so is likely to affect all supermarket chains.

Leclerc himself listed some of the predicted rises with preserved fruit and vegetables rising by around 20 percent, animal products by 15 percent and coffee by 10 percent.

Rising prices from food suppliers will also have a likely knock-on effect on the prices at restaurants and cafés.

Train tickets 

Train tickets are also set to rise in 2023, to cover rising utility costs for the company, although the transport minister requested that the state-owned SNCF apply a ‘price shield’ to rises. 

The average price rise will be five percent, applied on TGV services and regional trains. The price rises will come into effect “in 2023” with no exact start date given. 

Public transport users in Paris are also likely to see price rises, with the monthly Navigo pass set to rise to either €80 or €90. Individual tickets were also expected to rise from €1.90 to €2.30. As for the 10-ticket carnet, the price could rise from to €20.30. This package is currently available at €16.90 for paper tickets, and €14.90 when purchased with Navigo easy or on a mobile phone.

The final price increases, to be applied starting in 2023, are still being negotiated between local and national authorities.

READ MORE: Paris public transport ticket prices set to rise in 2023

Clothes 

The price of clothing around Europe has already risen and is projected to rise by between five and 20 percent during the final months of 2022 and start of 2023, according to the Union des industries textiles (textile industry union).

This is related to the rising price of oil since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – oil is needed to make certain fabrics like polyester while rising fuel prices also have an effect, since 96 percent of clothes on sale in France are made abroad. 

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For members

READER QUESTION

Reader question: How many public holidays does France have?

You would think this would be a simple question - but in fact the answer depends on the year, the region and your job. We explain.

Reader question: How many public holidays does France have?

Question: How many public holidays does France have per year and how does this compare to other countries?

The most commonly-given answer to this question is that France has 11 public holidays per year, ranging from the religious (Ascension and Assumption) to the secular (May Day and commemorations for World War I and II).

There are, however, some caveats to that.

The first is regional – if you live in the three départements that make up the historic region of Alsace-Lorraine you get 13 – the extra ones being St Stephen’s Day (December 26th) and Good Friday (the Friday before Easter).

The reason for this is that the region had been part of Germany and became French again after the end of World War I – but the inhabitants had become used to having the extra holidays when they were part of Germany and showed no interest in giving them up. A compromise was reached.

The second is the year – some holidays (like Easter) change date each year, but others (such as November 11th which marks the end of World War I) stay on the same date each year, and sometimes that date will fall on a weekend.

Some countries change the day of holidays – for example in the UK the Remembrance Day holiday is always on the Monday closest to November 11th – but in France holidays happen when they fall. So if it falls on a weekend the holiday is ‘lost’ in terms of time off – it’s still a public holiday, but workers don’t get any extra days off. 

For this reason there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ holiday years in France – 2023 is a very good year. It also gives rise to the practice of ‘faire le pont‘ – where workers use a single day of their annual leave allowance to ‘bridge’ a holiday – for example if Tuesday is a public holiday they take Monday as a day’s holiday and create a nice four-day weekend.

And finally, there’s Pentecost.

The Christian festival has a curious history in France, in that it used to be a public holiday and then the government scrapped it and introduced instead ‘solidarity day’, in which workers donated a day’s salary to charity.

Pentecost: The ‘holiday’ where some people work for free

They they ditched this idea, but some companies kept it – the upshot is that on Pentecost some workers get the day off, some work as normal and some work as normal but that day’s pay goes to charity. 

And how does France compare to the rest of Europe?

It’s mid-table – French workers do better than those in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the UK but worse than those in Spain or Italy. For Germany and Switzerland it depends which region/canton you are in as there are lots of local holidays.

Here’s those French holidays in full, with the days they fall in 2023. French rail services typically offer sales in advance of holiday periods, as well – you can learn more HERE

  • Sunday, January 1st – New Year’s Day
  • Monday, April 10th – Easter Monday
  • Monday, May 1st – Worker’s Day
  • Monday May 8th – V-E Day
  • Thursday, May 18th – Ascension Day
  • Monday May 29th – Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte – for some workers only).
  • Friday, July 14th – Bastille Day (Fête Nationale)
  • Tuesday, August 15th – The Assumption (l’Assomption)
  • Wednesday, November 1st – All Saints’ Day (Toussaint)
  • Saturday, November 11th – Armistice Day
  • Monday, December 25th – Christmas Day
 
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