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What changes about life in France in 2023?

The Local France
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What changes about life in France in 2023?
Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

As it always does, the new year will bring about a series of changes for everyone living in France - from new laws to public holidays, rising prices to financial aid. Here's a roundup of the big ones to look out for throughout the year.



Energy Prices: We can’t ignore it. Energy bills are going to increase in France from January 1st, when the current 4 percent cap that has helped keep inflation down ends. 

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’s fuel rebate – which is applied at the pump and results in lower costs to motorists filling up their cars - ends on December 31st. 

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


Car-sharing: from January 1st there will also be €100 grants for motorists who sign up to car-share or car-pooling websites. Full details here

Pension plans: The Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will on January 10th unveil details of the planned pension reform - originally planned on December 15th. The plans are highly controversial and unions have already called for 'mobilisation' (ie strikes and demos) against the plans. 

Packaging: From January 1st, France bans single-use packaging in fast-food restaurants for meals consumed on-site in venues that seat 20 people or more. Expect to see reusable packaging in your preferred burger chain.

Rail tickets: Another cost increase, we’re afraid. From January. SNCF will increase some fare prices for TGV high speed trains and some regional services by an average of five percent – read more here.

Bargain hunt: The winter sales across most of France run from Wednesday, January 12th, to Tuesday, February 7th. Sales in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Meuse and Vosges start on Monday, January 2nd. 

La Poste: There will also be some changes to France's postal services, including the scrapping of the timbre rouge - full details here.

SMIC hike: The minimum wage, known as le Smic, rises by 1.8 percent on January 1st, bringing it to a pre-tax level of €1,709 per month. 

Free condoms: From January 1st, people aged under 26 will be able to get free condoms from the pharmacy.


Road Tolls for: Toll rates on the main motorways across France are set to go up by an average of 4.75 percent starting on February 1st. More details here.

Savings: Some potentially welcome personal finance news. Despite a recommendation from the Banque de France in October to hold interest rates on the Livret A savings scheme at 2 percent, experts are predicting an increase to around 3 percent because of high inflation. The official figure has not yet been revealed.

Olympics tickets: people who have been successful in the first round of the draw for Olympics tickets will be notified by email in mid February - and then have to go online to pick their events. Full details here.

Covid-19 self-isolation and testing: Starting February 1st, France will do away with compulsory self-isolation for people who test positive for Covid-19. Also, those who were around a person who tested positive for the virus (contact-cases) will no longer be required to test after exposure. Read more HERE.


Enjoy the silence: New regulations on commercial phone calls - aka cold calls - will come into place on March 1st, 2023. The rules state that these calls will only be allowed between the hours of 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday. That means no more weekend calls. More details here



Jours Feriés: Easter Monday, April 10th is the first public holiday of 2022 that doesn’t fall on a weekend. In 2023, only two of France’s 11 jours fériés fall on weekends – New Year’s Day (a Sunday) and Armistice Day (a Saturday). May will be a particularly nice month, with four public holidays this year. Holidays that can be ‘bridged’ in 2023 are Ascension Day on Thursday, May 18th, and Assumption, on Tuesday, August 15th. 

Why 2023 (especially May) is a good year for holidays in France

Tax: The online platform for income tax declarations in France opens on April 6th.

Paper receipts: From April, shops will no longer automatically print out paper till receipts in an anti-waste measure. You will still be able to ask for a receipt if you want one, however. 


Travel rules: The EU’s long-planned and ‘controversial’ Entry and Exit System (EES) is finally due to come into effect in May - though it has been scheduled and delayed before. Full details about how it will affect travel in and out of the EU are here and here.

READ ALSO Foreigners officially resident in France not covered by new EES passport rules, Commission confirms

More tax: The deadline for tax declarations done on paper is May 18th. The deadline for online tax declarations for départements 1 to 19 is May 23rd, for départements 20 to 54 it's May 30th, for départements 55 to 96 and the overseas territories it is June 7th.


Quadruple holidays: This year there are four public holidays in May (although not everyone gets a day off for Pentecost), so don't expect a lot of work to be happening.


Féte de la musique: Streets across France will be alive with the sound of it on the Fête de la musique on Wednesday, June 21st.

Summer savings: Bargain hunters should head to the shops from Wednesday, June 28th and to Tuesday, July 25th, for the summer sales in France. That’s unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes or Pyrénées-Orientales, when they start on July 5th; or Corsica, where you’ll have to wait until July 12th for the sales to kick off.

Ferry tickets: In November, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin and French president Emmanuel Macron jointly announced the creation of a new combined ticket, that can be used on ferries and trains in both countries. The ticket is due to come into effect ‘in the summer’ of 2023. A similar ticket is also due to come into effect that can be used by young people on both French and German railways.



Sticker situation: Paris intends to ban Crit’Air 3 vehicles in July 2023, a move held back from July 2022, as France expands the use of low-emission zones to fight pollution. 

READ ALSO Car bans and €750 fines – how France’s new low-emission zones will work

Bicycle Race: The 110th Tour de France gets under way in the Spanish city of Bilbao on July 1st.

School’s out: The summer holidays will begin for all students in France on Saturday, July 8th. We’ve listed all public holidays and school holidays in France in 2023 here.


Holiday time: Not really a change, more a reminder of how things are in France… especially if you need to contact a public official, when the best you can probably expect is an out-of-office reply to your email. 


Rentrée: Pupils head back to school on Monday, September 4th. In France ‘rentrée’ is more than ‘back to school’, it’s also ‘back to work’ for many high-level government officials after their summer holidays.

Rugby World Cup: France’s bid to win the Webb Ellis Trophy begins on Friday, September 8th, when the World Cup opens at Stade de France with a match between the hosts and three-time champions New Zealand. There will be matches in nine French cities during the tournament - Paris, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux and Nantes.


Rugby World Cup: The final of the quadrennial competition at Stade de France will be played on Saturday, October 28th.


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