French island wins €1.3 million legal battle against Airbnb

The Local France
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French island wins €1.3 million legal battle against Airbnb
The picturesque Ile d'Oleron attracts thousands of tourists every year. Photo by XAVIER LEOTY / AFP

Airbnb has been handed a €1.3 million fine after a tiny island off the coast of western France won the latest stage of its legal battle against the US-based lettings giant.


The picturesque Île d'Oléron off the coast of western France (15km long by 35km wide) has been engaged in a long-running legal battle with Airbnb, which it accuses of not paying the tourist tax (taxe de séjour) which it collects from its users.

This week a tribunal in La Rochelle sided with the island, and ordered Airbnb to pay €1.385 million to the local authorities.

Airbnb had already been fined €30,000 in 2023 after blaming "incorrect IT settings" for not passing on the tourist tax that it collected.


Island authorities described the €1.3 million payout as an "important first victory" but added that they would be appealing as the amount they are seeking is actually €30 million.

In France the tourist tax is collected by local authorities, who also have the power to set the tax rate, within a national framework. 

READ ALSO How much is the tourist tax in France?

In most cases the tax, which is usually just a few euros per person per night, is collected when you arrive at your hotel or campsite. However Airbnb states on its website that the "tax is collected when guests book their reservation, not at the time of stay."

The tax is then supposed to be handed on to local authorities by tourist businesses.

The Île d'Oléron is extremely popular with tourists, attracting on average 350,000 tourists per year.

READ ALSO 3 of the best French islands to visit this summer


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