For members


The new French laws coming into force in 2023

From rules about driving in the snow to renting apartments and parking your bike, there are several new laws that will come into force starting on January 1st 2023 in France.

The new French laws coming into force in 2023
Plastic cups in western France. New anti-waste regulations will come into effect on January 1st in France. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

Winter tyres – France introduced a law, the Loi Montage II (mountain law II), in 2020 making winter tyres, chains or socks compulsory in certain areas, which will finally come into effect in 2023.

The law makes either snow tyres, all-weather tyres or chains compulsory in 48 of France’s 96 mainland départements – generally those areas which are mountainous, with local authorities in those départements responsible for deciding where such rules will be applied.

READ ALSO Winter tyres and snow chains: What are the rules in France?

Renting energy inefficient flats – From January 1st, 2023, part of the law regarding the rental of properties considered to be ‘energy inefficient’ will come into effect. Properties advertised for rent in France must have an energy rating of G or above on the Diagnostic de performance énergétique. This means that landlords will no longer be able to open new rental contracts for housing whose annual consumption is greater than 450 kWh per m2. Any owner who wants to put such a property on the rental market will be required to go through a renovation process.

READ MORE: How rules for owning and renting property will change in France in 2023

New 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. 

Following this change, on March 1st, another part of the 2020 law regarding fraudulent phone calls will also come into effect. Telemarketers will no longer be able to call people on the weekends or on public holidays. Additionally, automated systems and marketing calls will not be allowed to take place before 10am or after 8pm. 

Low-emission zones extended – As France combats air pollution, legislation regarding low-emission zones will extend regulations in several parts of France in 2023. Starting on January 1st, cars circulating on roads in Montpellier with the Crit’Air 5 stickers will be banned; in Toulouse, cars with Crit’Air 4 and 5 stickers will no longer be allowed on the roads; in Reims vehicles with the Crit’Air 4 sticker will be banned, and Strasbourg the “educational phase” will end on January 1st and cars with Crit’Air 5 stickers risk fines. Rouen will also end its educational phase on January 1st, meaning cars with Crit’Air 4 and 5 stickers will begin risking fines too.

From July 1st, cars in the Greater Paris area with the Crit’Air 3 sticker will be banned in the A86 perimetre and the same will go for cars circulating in Grenoble with Crit’Air 5 stickers. 

READ MORE: Driving in France: How the Crit’Air vehicle sticker system works

Anti-waste law comes into effect – Several parts of France’s 2020 anti-waste law will come into effect in 2023. First, disposable tableware will be banned for all table service in fast food restaurants and will be required to be replaced by reusable tableware. in April, paper receipts will begin to be phased out as the French government seeks to fight “against the dangerous substances present in cash register tickets” and “to remedy the significant waste that these tickets represent,” according to the French government website Service-Public.

READ MORE: How France’s new anti-waste laws will affect you

Bicycle parking in shared apartment complexes – As part of France’s 2019 “Mobility Orientation Law,” regulations surrounding secure bicycle parking in shared apartment buildings will come into effect on January 1st. The law will require home-owners associations (syndics) in buildings that already offer access to parking for vehicles to meet and discuss how they will offer secure parking for bicycles (if they do not already do so). During the meeting, the syndic will also need to compile estimations for how much these adjustments would cost, and then begin work to provide the space, unless they meet one of the exemption criteria.

You can learn more here.

French government budget – France’s new budget for 2023, which was debated and voted on in 2022, consists of measures to protect against inflation, plans to index the income tax scale to inflation, pay rises for minimum wage workers, and the renewal of the MaPrimRenov scheme. There are several other tenants to this legislation that will come into force in 2023, which you can read about here.

Roadworthiness test for motorcycles – After some back and forth, the French council of the state decided in October that motorcycles (two-wheeled vehicles) would also need to comply with “roadworthiness” testing starting January 1st, 2023. This is part of a decree passed by the French government in August 2021, and it specifically concerns two-wheeled vehicles registered to dates prior to 2016. The council of the state specified that the vehicles concerned are “motor vehicles with two, three or four wheels with a cylinder capacity of more than 125 cm3.” As of December 2022, the details regarding how this plan will be implemented were not yet available, so it is possible enforcement measures will be staggered.

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. 

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.”

Other laws that may come into effect in 2023

The law on immigration – While this law has not yet been voted on, it will be debated by France’s parliament in 2023. As of December 2022, the possible contents of the law included possible language tests for foreigners seeking to obtain a carte de séjour as well as easier procedures for deporting those who have overstayed their residency permits. 

READ MORE: Language tests and easier expulsion: What’s in France’s new immigration law

Changes to retirement – French 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. Nevertheless, President Emmanuel Macron seeks to pass pension reform in the near future, so a possible new law may be on the books for 2023.

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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?