What changes in France in January 2023

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What changes in France in January 2023

From winter sales and special cakes to price rises and a whole host of new laws - here is what is in store for January 2023 in France.


New Year – January 1st, New Year’s Day, is a public holiday in France. Unfortunately this year it falls on a Sunday, which means no extra day off work. Monday, January 2nd, is a normal working day. But you can look forward to a good year of public holidays for the rest of 2023.

Epiphany – Friday, January 6th marks the Christian festival of epiphany. This is not a public holiday in France (unlike neighbouring Spain where they go mad for the Three Kings), but the day is marked with a special cake – the Galette des rois – which has a lot of fun and complicated rituals for consumption.

Galette des rois: Everything you need to know about France’s royal tart

Sales – The winter sales across most of France run from Wednesday, January 11th, to Tuesday, February 7th. Sales in Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Meuse and Vosges start on Monday, January 2nd. 


Schools go back – Schoolchildren across France head back to the classroom on Tuesday, January 3rd.

Easier recycling – Starting on January 1st, recycling will be easier across the whole of France as the country institutes new sorting rules to make it so that all plastic materials can be put in yellow recycling bins - including things like yogurt cups and toothpaste tubes. You can learn more here.

Income taxes – As a result of rising consumer prices and inflation, the income tax scale (schedule) will increase by 5.4 percent in 2023.

The new scale will be as follows for those making below €10,777 of taxable income the rate will be 0 percent; for those making between €10,777 and €27,478 of taxable income the rate will be 11 percent; for those making between €27,478 and €78,570 of taxable income the rate will be 30 percent; for those making between €78,570 and €168,994 of taxable income the rate will be 41 percent; and for those making above €168,994 of taxable income the rate will be 45 percent.

However, the French government also plans to make income tax notices more informative by showing the average rate and marginal tax rate on the tax notice itself. The objective is to better inform taxpayers.

Electric cars – The bonus for buying an electric car will increase to €7,000 on January 1st for low-income families.

READ MORE: What drivers in France need to know about changes in 2023

Minimum wage – 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. 

Postage – There will also be some changes to France’s postal services, including the scrapping of the timbre rouge – full details here.

Savings account interest rates – Any housing saving's plan (PEL) opened after January 1st will benefit from a 2 percent interest rate, double the previous rate of 1 percent. The interest rate for a standard saving's account - a Livret A - is also expected to increase in 2023, though most likely in February.

READ MORE: French property: What is a PEL and can it help offer a lower mortgage rate?

Mortgage maximum borrowing rates increased – Starting on January 1st, the maximum borrowing rate for a 20-year mortgage will be increased from 3.05 to 3.57 percent in France.

Wood Energy Voucher – Even though applications for this government assistance opened on December 27th, eligible households can continue applying throughout January (the cut off is April 30th). You can learn more 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 reform – 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. 

Testing for newborns – The screening for rare and serious diseases in newborns will become more comprehensive in the New Year. It will test for 13 diseases in total - doubling the previous six diseases that were previously screened for.

Price rises

The French have been more shielded from inflation and rising prices than many of their European neighbours, mostly thanks to government price shields. However, several of these will be relaxed from January 1st, leading to bigger bills.


Energy Prices – Energy bills are going to increase in France from January 1st, when the current price freeze 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. 

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.

Rail tickets – From January, the SNCF will increase some fare prices for TGV high speed trains and some regional services by an average of five percent – read more here.

Paris transport – Paris public transport tickets and passes will increase in 2023, the monthly Navigo pass will go up by 12 percent, from €75.20 to €84.10.

Linky electricity metre – For households who refused to have the Linky electricity metre installed - and failed to send a reading to Enedis, the French electricity supplier, in the last 12 months - there will be an extra charge of approximately €8.48 every two months, or about €61 additionally per year. However, the additional costs would be discontinued in the event that a Linky metre is installed.

New laws

There are also a whole raft of new laws that come into effect from January 1st. Here’s a summary of the main ones.


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

Packaging – At the start of the year, France will ban 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.

Renting energy inefficient flats – From January 1st, 2023, properties advertised for rent in France must have an energy rating of G or above on the Diagnostic de performance énergétique.

Rules about telemarketing – Starting on January 1st, cold callers will have to use a phone number with a 09 prefix. This means that automated systems will no longer be able to use mobile numbers beginning with 06 or 07 for telemarketing. You can learn more here.

Changes to alimony (child support) – In March, the French government changed the procedure for child support payments, making it so that alimony would be directly paid out through CAF. The reform was intended to prevent unpaid child support. Starting on January 1st, the decree will apply to all separations involving minor children, including unmarried couples. Previously, it only applied to divorced couples. 

Disability assistance extended – People who are deaf, blind or have an intellectual, cognitive or psychological disability will also be able to benefit from disability support in the form of the "Prestation de Compensation du Handicap" (PCH). This government assistance specifically helps people with disabilities pay for a caregiver or assistant to aid them in carrying out daily tasks

MaPrimRénov extended, but altered – The scheme allows homeowners in France to apply for grants that can be used for insulation, heating, ventilation and energy audits of homes, and it will still be available in 2023. However, it will no longer subsidise the purchase of gas boilers, including those classified as having a "high energy performance."

Change to criminal trials – For trials for the crime of rape, there will no longer be trial with a jury. Instead rape trials, and those for crimes punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment, will be tried in "first instance by criminal courts."

Sentencing for prisoners – Previously, French law allowed for prisoners to have automatic reductions in their sentences over time, except for in cases of bad behavior. However, starting in 2023, it will be up to a "sentence enforcement judge" to determine whether reductions in sentence time should be offered based on "sufficient evidence of good conduct" or "serious efforts to reintegrate."


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