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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.

What changes in France in January 2023

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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For members


What changes in France in April 2023?

From Easter holidays and practical jokes to spring festivals, a referendum on E-scooters and the final decision on controversial pension reform - here's what is happening in France in April.

What changes in France in April 2023?

Poisson d’avril 

April 1st is the day of ‘April fish’ – when France goes crazy for practical jokes. Basically France’s version of April Fool’s Day.

READER QUESTION: Can you explain the French ‘poisson d’avril’ tradition?

Benefit revision – To keep in line with inflation, social benefits, including as the family benefit offered by CAF will be increased starting on April 1st by 1.6 percent. This social benefit is intended for families with dependent children and is intended to help them with their expenses related to the education and maintenance of their children. The amount of the family allowance varies according to the number of dependent children and the household income. 

Other benefits, like the RSA, a work welfare benefit aimed at reducing the barrier to return to work, will also be increased by 1.6 percent.

READ MORE: France’s family benefit system explained

End of the winter ‘Trêve Hivernale‘ – During winter months, tenants who stop paying their rent cannot be evicted in France due to the trêve hivernale (winter truce). However, this ends on March 31st, meaning on April 1st evictions in France can begin again.

READ MORE: Trêve hivernale: Why you can’t be evicted in winter in France

Income tax declaration portal – Starting on April 13th, you will be able to go online to the Impots.Gouv.Fr website to filling in your tax declaration. Depending on your location and situation, you have between 6-8 weeks to file the declaration. Almost everyone who lives in France has to do this, as do some second-home owners with earnings here, and the deadline for doing so depends on how you declare and where you live. 

READ MORE: The French tax calendar for 2023 – which taxes are due when?

Easter – Easter Sunday falls on April 9th this year. Easter Monday – April 10th – is a holiday across France but Good Friday is only a day off work if you live in the Alsace-Lorraine region, for complicated historical reasons connected to wars with Germany.

Easter Monday will be 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. 

Calendar: School and public holidays in France for 2023

Eid al-Fitr – Marking the end of month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan, the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr is expected to fall on April 21st or 22nd this year, depending on the lunar calendar.

Spring holidays for schools – Schools also get a two-week break around Easter time, but the exact dates vary between the different school holiday zones.  Zone A, which includes both Lyon and Bordeaux, has holidays from April 8th until April 24th. Zone B, which includes Aix-Marseille, Nice, and Strasbourg,  has holidays from April 15th until May 2nd. Finally, Zone C, which includes Paris, Toulouse and Montpellier, runs from April 22nd to May 9th.

READ ALSO Is there any kind of logic behind France’s school holiday zones?

Pension deadline – Friday, April 21st is the deadline for France’s Constitutional Council  to decide the fate of pension reform. The decision could come sooner, but this deadline could become an important date for action by unions. 

More strikes? It is possible that strike action will continue into April. Certain industries have called for rolling strikes that may continue into the month of April, as well. You can keep up to date with The Local’s strike calendar – found HERE.

Festivals – There are several festivals and activities happening across France this April. Starting with the annual music festival, the Printemps de Bourges, taking place in the central French town of Bourges. This is four-day music festival will run from April 18th to 23rd this year. It has a wide range of acts booked and it’s also a favourite place for scouts to sign new talent, so it’s a good place to hear the ‘next big thing’.

Next up – the Banlieues Bleues – Running most of the month of April (until the 21st), this will be the 40th year for the festival that has brought jazz and blues greats to Paris’ suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis. The event consists of a series of concerts running over several weeks.

If you are a fan of ham, you may want to remember the dates for the Foire au Jambon – which will take place from April 6th – 9th. The Foire au Jambon started in 1462, and it takes place in Bayonne. It celebrates every stage of the creation of the famous hams that proudly bear the Basque town’s name. 

Finally – the Festival international du cerf-volant et du vent (Kite Festival) – taking place from April 8th – 10th. This will be held at the Châtelaillon-Plage in the south-west département of Charente-Maritimes. An annual event, people come to enjoy the big kites, little kites, competition kites, fighting kites and more. Plus, kite surfing and kite-building workshops. This event is perfect for families. You can find more information HERE

READ MORE: 14 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring

Energy cheque – Some 5.8 million low-income households in France are set to finally receive their delayed 2023 “energy cheque” from April 21st, the government’s energy minister has announced. 

READ MORE: Millions of French households to be sent ‘energy cheque’ in April

In 2023, the French government has also created a benefit for households who primarily heat using wood. Applications must be submitted by April 30th for this. You can find out how to do so HERE.

Navigo pass reimbursement deadline – Public transport authorities in the Paris region have announced they will offer reimbursements for certain travel pass holders who suffered from delayed and limited services in 2022. The reimbursements will be allotted as part of two campaigns – one for people who held Navigo passes during the final months of 2022 and another focused on those who encountered the most difficulties with certain parts of the RER system during the calendar year of 2022.

To benefit, you must apply for the reimbursement online by April 14th. You can find more information HERE.

Paris marathon – Despite rumours that industrial action might lead to the cancellation of the Paris marathon, set to take place on Sunday, April 2nd, organisers told France Bleu that the event will go on as scheduled. The race will start around 8am at the Champs-Elysées.

Scooter referendum – Paris scooter referendum – inhabitants of Paris (or at least those on the electoral roll for the municipal elections, which does not include non-EU citizens living in the city) will be invited to vote on Sunday, April 2ns on whether to ban dockless electric scooters. The ride-hire scooters (trottinettes) have been the subject of much tighter regulation in recent years, but the citizens will get the final say on whether they should continue to be allowed. Privately-owned scooters are not affected.

READ MORE: ‘Inherently unsafe’ – Why Paris readers want e-scooter rental schemes banned

Paris café terraces extend – It was originally a Covid-related measure, allowing cafés to extend their terraces into adjoining outdoor space, parking spaces etc, but now the city of Paris has decided to allow extended terraces every summer, with a paid-for licence, from April 1st. The deputy mayor of Paris, Olivia Polski, confirmed to French daily Le Parisien that the terraces would make a comeback in 2023.

Olympics deadlines – The second phase for Olympics tickets – a draw for tickets to single events – began on March 15th. You can register for the draw until April 20th, 2023, 6pm CET. If you are chosen, you will receive word on May 9th by email. The portal to register as an Olympic volunteer is also currently open

READ MORE: Paris 2024 Olympics: How can I get tickets?