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LIVING IN FRANCE

Property, food labels and French fashion secrets: 6 essential articles for life in France

To rent or to buy in France - we answer the eternal question in our weekly round-up of must-reads from The Local. Plus, French second-hand news, the difference between AOC food and AOP food, how to complain like a native, the best walking and cycling routes the country has to offer, and the real secrets of French style.

Property, food labels and French fashion secrets: 6 essential articles for life in France
A woman checks an estate agent's window in Paris. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

We begin with the eternal property question. After two years of steadily rising prices across France, the property market is starting to change. Some experts predict falls of up to 10 percent in some regions in 2023, though new-build prices continue to rise. So, we ask…

Is it better to buy or rent in France right now?

It’s good for the wallet and good for the planet. Second-hand products are cheaper than new, and – in extending the lifespan of a product – you’re helping the planet, too, by cutting down the number of products being thrown away.

In these economically and environmentally-straitened times, buying second-hand is well and truly in fashion in France. Here are some tips on where to look for a bargain.

Where are the best places for buying second-hand in France?

If you’re shopping in France it’s highly likely that you will see food and drinks that proudly declare their AOP or AOC status – but are these products actually better than the ones without a label? We have the lowdown.

What does the AOP/AOC label on French food and wine mean – and are these products better?

French people are often stereotyped as grumpy, and it does appear there is a national quirk that makes them fond of a good old moan. Former president François Hollande even went on TV to implore the French to complain less.

But, we say, embrace the stereotype – here are 12 phrases you need to know to mither like a French person…

12 phrases that will let you complain like the French

You may be planning your holiday – and France is a country that’s got you covered for outdoor activities, from Grand Randonees, to local walks and vélo routes – it’s full of them.

We’ve selected 13 walks and cycle routes, one from each region, ranging from the gentle and easy to the incredibly difficult. There’s even a donkey in one of them…

13 of France’s best hiking and cycling routes

The internet is teeming with hundreds of articles with tips for women on how to dress à la française. Not all of the advice out there is reliable – so, we asked a few in-the-actual-know people in the rarefied world of haute couture to separate the French fashion facts from the many, many fictions. 

How to dress like a French woman: Five tips to remember (and five to forget)

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DRIVING

Plans to create ‘car-share only’ lanes on French motorways

A consultation has begun on creating 'car-share only' lanes on certain French motorways, in order to encourage drivers to begin carpooling.

Plans to create 'car-share only' lanes on French motorways

Certain lanes on French motorways including the A1, A13 and both the interior and exterior ringroad in Paris could soon be reserved for buses, taxi and cars with more than one person inside.

The government consultation has been launched into plans for six roads in the Île de France region – the A1, A4, A13, A14, A86 and the Paris périphérique – after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Sections of some of these roads (mainly the Paris périphérique) will be used during the Games as ‘voies olympiques’ (Olympic lanes) during the Games – reserved for athletes, media and others accredited by the Paris Olympic committee at peak times. They will be equipped with traffic cameras and extra signage for this purpose.

However, once the Games are over, Paris authorities have proposed not simply returning the lanes to normal, but instead reserving them for shared vehicles – buses, taxis and any car with two or more people inside.

It will not involve building new lanes, simply reserving certain lanes for shared vehicles. The proposal includes a 12km section of the A1 between Charles de Gaulle airport and the Stade de France and a 13km section of the A13 between Rocquencourt and the Saint-Cloud tunnel.

Paris City Hall has been involved in testing several different methods of ‘carpooling cameras’ that can show how many people are in a vehicle, but it is not yet clear how the shared-vehicle lanes would work.

The French government is trying to encourage car-sharing as a way to lower France’s energy consumption, offering €100 to anyone who signs up to a car-share platform.

You can have your say on the consultation here

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