News Digest: Property Taxes, School Holidays & France on High Terror Alert



News Digest: Property Taxes, School Holidays & France on High Terror Alert

France initiates its highest level of terror alert in the wake of this weekend’s events, schools break up for autumn, and property taxes are due for French homeowners. Plus, sign up for our free moving to France webinar this Thursday! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. France on high terror alert

France has been placed on high terror alert since last Friday (13th October), when a knife fatality at a school in Arras in northern France became the subject of a terrorist investigation. Teacher Dominique Bernard was killed by a former student who was later found to be on the French government’s ‘fiché S’ terrorist watch list. Two other staff members were injured in the attack, and the same school was yesterday (Monday, 16th October) evacuated over a potential bomb threat. A minute’s silence was also held in memory of Bernard yesterday as the nation mourned the tragic event.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said: “There is undoubtedly a link between the attack and what is happening in the Middle East,” and President Emmanuel Macron has called on police to tighten surveillance on all suspected terrorists. Over the weekend, additional threats saw closures to several Paris attractions, including the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, both of which turned out to be false alarms.

Nonetheless, France remains on “urgence attentat” – the highest terror alert level possible, which allows soldiers to be deployed to high-risk locations under ‘opération Sentinelle’, an operation launched in 2015 following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Up to 7,000 armed soldiers may be deployed while the country is under this alert level to protect tourist areas, public transport hubs, and busy shopping centres.

2. Time to pay your Taxe Foncière

Taxe foncière property taxes are due this week, and property owners are facing minimum increases of 7.1% on their annual bills – the largest annual increase in more than 30 years. Rising inflation and local tax hikes (largely attributed to the ending of the Taxe d’habitation on primary residences) are to blame for the soaring taxes.

All property owners in France are liable to pay the taxe foncière , and you can find your bill within your personal space at The deadline to pay by cheque, cash or TIPSEPA (only possible for bills that total less than €300) was yesterday (16th October), but for the majority of homeowners who will pay their bills online, the deadline for payments is this Saturday, 21st October.

Be sure to double-check your bill as mistakes in property ownership and property size are not unheard of. If you do wish to contest your bill, you can do so using the messaging service in your personal space and clicking  “Je signale une erreur sur le calcul de mon impôt‘”. You should detail the suspected problem and attach evidence of the claim.

3. School’s out for autumn!

This Friday is the last day of term for schoolchildren across France, with the autumn half-term break or “Vacances de la Toussaint” (named after the Catholic festival La Toussaint on November 1st) kicking off on Saturday. The two-week break runs from October 21st to November 6th and – unlike many of France’s school holidays, which are staggered based on the “zone” in which you live – is held at the same time throughout the country.

4. Join me for our latest FrenchEntrée webinar

For the fourth edition of our Moving to France webinar series, we’ll be focusing on moving to France with a family, and the free event is a must for anyone thinking of moving to France with children or to start a family, now or in the future.

I’ll be joined by a panel of experts, talking on a range of key subjects:

  • Beaux Villages, bilingual immobilier/estate agents: top tips and advice for finding your perfect family home in France.
  • Agence Axa International: the French healthcare system and health insurance for you and your children.
  • ICS Paris/Globeducate: Learn about one of France’s top international schools, part of the Globeducate group, which has international and bilingual schools throughout France.

Join me for the free live event this Thursday, October 19th, 10:00 am UK time/ 11:00 am French time.

You can sign up here or click the button below, and send your questions to me in advance at [email protected]. I hope to see you all there!

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Peter James
    2023-10-17 11:04:26
    Peter James
    Hi Zoe I have it in my head that a visa system was being introduced for visitors to France from the UK this November. If so do you have any details? Kind regards Peter


    • Zoë Smith
      2023-10-19 08:38:55
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Peter, I think you're talking about the ETIAS system - you might have missed my News Digest earlier in the year (read it here) which reported that the launch of this system has been pushed back until 2024. So there's no need to worry about it for travel this year - we'll keep you posted as we here more about the launch date next year. Best regards, Zoe


  •  Charlie Sharpe
    2023-10-17 06:43:44
    Charlie Sharpe
    Hello, You gave me a fright there! Online payment of Taxe Fonciere is 26.10.23 - at least that's the date of the prelevement. It might vary from departement to departement - but I don't think so. Other than this, I really enjoy your news round ups! Kind regards, Charlie Sharpe


    • Zoë Smith
      2023-10-19 08:45:09
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Charlie, Thanks for flagging this - we actually did make a mistake in the deadline, which is Saturday 21st October not Thursday 19th - oops! We've now amended it! The 26th October is the date of the prelevement (i.e. the date the money will actually be taken from your bank account) - 5 days later. However, you must still approve the payment in your online space by the deadline. Best regards, Zoe