With the June sunshine marking the start of the summer (hopefully!), what’s been happening in France over the last week? From new travel restrictions for UK travellers to an accelerated vaccine calendar, plus a bump in your gas bill for some homeowners—here are the five French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Essential Travel Only for UK Citizens
If you’re a French second-home owner or searching for property in France, you were probably disappointed with the news that France was placed on the UK’s Amber list. Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t look to be getting better any time soon.
Following concerns over the mounting cases of the ‘Indian variant’ in the UK, yesterday (May 31st) saw the introduction of strict new rules placed on travellers arriving in France from the UK. Travellers from the UK can now only enter France with an essential reason for travel, which does not include visiting a second home, property purchases, or visiting friends and family in France.
Read our article Travel Between France and UK: New Rules from June 2021 to find out everything you need to know and see the full list of Essential Reasons for Travelling to France from the UK.
While this is sad news for those hoping to purchase property in France in 2021, don’t let it stop you from planning and preparing. One way to do that is to become a free FrenchEntrée Member.
2. Vaccines now open to all over 18s!
France has come under considerable criticism over the previous months for it’s slow roll-out of vaccines (we reported last week that 20% of over-75s in France are still not vaccinated). However, things are looking up, especially for the country’s younger population.
As part of President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to accelerate France’s vaccine calendar, all over 18s are now eligible for vaccines from yesterday (May 31st) — two weeks before the original date of June 15th. The easiest way to book your appointment is online via apps such as Doctolib and Maiia, or via the government’s website Sante.fr.
It’s also possible to book an appointment by calling the vaccine centres directly or through your médecin traitant (GP). However, with spaces filling up fast, the online booking systems do seem to be the quickest way of securing an appointment.
3. French Gas Prices Set to Increase
French property owners and second-home owners may find an unwelcome rise in their utility bills over the coming months. From June 1st, the regulated tariffs of French natural gas supplier Engie are increasing by 4.4%. What does that mean in practice? A bump of 1.2% if you use gas for cooking, an extra 2.6% for those who have gas cooking and water heating, and a 4.6% increase for those with gas heating in their home.
4. Final Deadlines for French Tax Returns
The deadlines for filling in your French tax returns depend on the department you live in. So, if you live in French départements 1 to 19, you should have already sent yours off last week. Residents of départements 20 to 54 have until midnight tonight (June 1st) to get their tax return completed, and those in départements 55 to 976 still have another week—the deadline for you is midnight, Monday June 8th.
First time filling in your tax return? Read our handy guide to filling in your first French tax form.
5. Easing Covid-19 Restrictions
France is currently on step two of Emmanuel Macron’s four-step plan to easing Covid-19 restrictions. There is currently a 9pm to 6am curfew in place, restaurant and bar terraces are open (with restrictions in place), and all non-essential shops are open.
The latest Covid-19 statistics from Santé Publique as of May 30, 2021, include:
- a total of 8,541 recorded new cases in France in the last 24 hours
- a rate of positive tests of 3.2%, and 44 new deaths recorded
- 25,333,361 people have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose
These figures show France on track for step three of lifting restrictions, which is set to come into effect next week (June 9th) and includes the reopening of gyms and other leisure activities, and a reduced curfew from 11pm to 6am. We’ll keep you updated on the latest as we find out more.
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