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What changes about life in France in 2024

The Local France
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What changes about life in France in 2024
France has set the dates of its winter and summer sales. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP)

From new laws on driving, housing, property tax and household waste to elections, price increases and the Paris Olympics - here's what is happening in France in 2024 (and by the way, it's a very good year for holidays).

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January

New Year’s Day: The first public holiday of 2024 takes place on the first day of 2024. In fact, it’s a pretty decent year for employees in France in terms of additional days off – not counting those extra days they get in the départements that make up the former Alsace-Lorraine region.

READ ALSO Why 2024 is a very good year for holidays in France

Flight cancellations - France's air traffic control is implementing a new computer system and as a result airlines have been ordered to cancel thousands of flights in January and February, while the upgrade work is going on.

Property taxes: Dozens of local authorities in areas where there is a housing shortage will gain the power to increase taxes on second homes in order to fund more affordable housing for locals from January 2024.

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Navigo:  Bad news for residents in Île-de-France. The monthly cost of a Navigo pass will increase to €86.30 from January 1st. However, anyone who has paid their annual bill upfront will not see any increase until their subscription runs out. Basically, if you can pay for your next year’s travel pass early, do…

Recycling: From January 1st, 2024 comes 'compulsory composting' - something that some local authorities have already started. Full details here.

There will also be extensions to the 'repair bonus' scheme, which offers money off repairs of items including phone, electrical items, clothes and shoes in order to encourage people to repair stuff, rather than thrown it away. Full details here.

Fuel grant: As in 2023, so in 2024. A one-off means-tested payment of €100 is available for motorists on a low income who need their car for work. The online portal to apply for the grant – paid per motorist, not per household – opens on January 16th. 

Electric car leasing scheme - in order to encourage more households to switch to an electric vehicle, the government is offering a €100 a month leasing scheme. It is set to start in January, although no exact date has yet been given - full details here.

Winter sales: Bargain hunters at the ready. The winter sales begin, across almost all of France, on Wednesday, January 10th, and last until Tuesday, February 6th. 

In four border departments – Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, et Vosges – the sales begin on January 2nd.

Olympics lottery - there will be a lottery for free tickets to watch the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, which is scheduled to open some time in January

February

Energy bills: Bad news. Electricity bills are set to rise in February. But, to cushion the blow, the government has promised that any electricity bill increases in 2024 will be limited to a maximum of 10 percent, which represents an extra €130 a year for the average household.

Road Tolls: As they do every year, toll rates on the main motorways across France are set to go up from February 1st - the increased is capped at three per cent, with the exception of tolls in the Fréjus and Mont Blanc tunnels.

March

Trêve: The annual winter ‘truce’, when tenants cannot be evicted from their rented homes for non-payment of rent ends, as it does every year, on March 31st.

April

Car insurance - from April 1st, vehicles will no longer have to display the little green cards in the windscreen to prove that they have insurance. The cards will be replaced by an automated system accessible to law enforcement (so you still need to make sure that your vehicle is insured).

Tax - The online platform for income tax declarations in France opens this month.

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Motorbike tests - Life on two wheels is starts to change from April, when EU-wide rules requiring motorbikes and scooters to undergo roadworthiness tests start to roll out across France.

READ ALSO Contrôle technique: What we know about the new French safety checks for motorbikes

May 

Quadruple holiday - May is the month of public holidays and 2024 has an impressive four holidays, including a 'double day'. May 1st and May 8th are always holidays - marking May Day and VE Day - but there are also two religious holidays which move dates from year to year. This year Ascension is on Thursday, May 9th - creating a lovely double with VE Day - and Pentecost is on May 20th.

On May 1st you can expect to see large trades union parades in the bigger towns and cities. 

Kitschtastic: Eurovision 2024 is in Sweden this year, with the semi-finals set for May 7th and May 9th, with the grand event on Saturday, May 11th. We already know a lot about the French entry.

June

Elections: European elections take place on June 9th - unlike presidential and parliamentary elections in which only French citizens can vote, any EU citizen can vote in European elections, although if you want to vote in France you will need to make sure you're on the electoral roll for your commune. 

Women’s art: Europe’s first museum dedicated to showcasing the works of female artists is due to open in Cannes in June.

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

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Summer bargains: France’s summer sales period runs from Wednesday, June 26th until Tuesday, July 16th. 

Tour de France: An Olympics-affected 2024 Tour begins in northern Italy, with a 206km ride from Florence to Rimini on June 29th. Because Paris is all Olympic-ed up, the race this year finishes with an individual time trial from Monaco to Nice five days before the XXXIII Olympiad begins in the capital.

July

Winter news: The vote to decide who will host the 2030 Winter Olympics is expected in July. France has submitted a bid to host the festival of winter sport in the Alps, and it seems likely that it will win.

School’s out:  The summer holidays officially begin for all students in France on Saturday, July 6th - or for most pupils at the end of classes on Friday, July 5th.

READ ALSO Do French children get too much holiday?

Fête nationale - France's national holiday on July 14th - aka Bastille Day - falls on a weekend this year so unfortunately there is no extra day off work. However the day will still be marked with military parades, fireworks and the famous firemen's balls. 

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Olympic Games opening: The Opening Ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games is on Friday, July 26th, as the XXXIII Olympiad officially gets under way. The opening ceremony will take place in central Paris along the River Seine. Tickets to watch from the seated areas are already sold out, but there will be a draw for free tickets for standing room, probably in January 2024. 

What to know about visiting Paris for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

Tax notices: Income tax notices should drop into your letter box around the end of the month.

August

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. 

Olympics/Paralympics: The Closing Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games at Stade de France is on Sunday, August 11th. Two weeks later the Paralympics begin - running from August 28th to September 8th. Tickets are available now online

September

Rentrée: Pupils head back to school on Monday, September 2nd. In France ‘la rentrée’ is more than ‘back to school’, it’s also ‘back to work’ for many high-level government officials after their summer holidays.

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October

New passport rules - the EU's long-delayed EES (Entry & Exit System) is now due to be introduced in the 'second half' of 2024, once the Paris Olympics and the summer holiday peak travel season are over.  An exact date is still TBC (although a leaked document names Sunday, October 6th as the start date) but the changes will affect how passports are scanned at the border and how the 90-day rule is applies. 

The second EU border change - which involves all visitors getting a €7 'ETIAS visa waiver' before travel - is due to be implemented in the first half of 2025. Full details on what those changes will mean for you HERE

Property tax bills - if you own property, tax bills will start to arrive in October. If you completed the new property tax declaration in 2023 there is no need to do it again - it's a one-off, not an annual task - but if your situation has changed (eg you have bought or sold property or made a second home into a main residence) you will need to complete the declaration online

November

Snow tyres: since 2022 it has been compulsory for drivers in certain areas of France to have either snow tyres, chains or all-weather tyres from November 1st. However there was a three-year 'grace period' when drivers were only given a warning if they were stopped by police. From November 2024, fines will be issued to drivers who do not comply. Full details here.

Double holiday: November also has two public holidays - Toussaint (All Saints Day) on November 1st and Armistice Day on November 11th. In 2024 they fall on a Monday and a Friday, creating two long weekends.

Winter truce: The trêve hivernale starts on November 1st. During this time, landlords cannot evict tenants who are in rent arrears, likewise utility companies cannot cut off gas or electricity.

December

Notre Dame: The cathedral that was almost destroyed by fire in 2019 is due to reopen at the end of 2024. The goal is December 8th - the Catholic festival of the Immaculate Conception.

Universal phone chargers - just scraping into 2024 is the new law on mobile phone chargers, which is due to come into effect on December 28th.

It will oblige manufacturers of all phones sold in France to use the USB-C port for chargers, meaning that any charger can be used with any phone and there will be no need to get a new charger every time you get a new phone. The measure is intended to cut waste and codifies EU guidelines into French law. Full details here.

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