After Halloween celebrations, a clock change, and a three-day weekend (for those of you that live in France, at least), it’s time to embrace the winter season in France. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. US Borders Reopen
As of next Monday (November 8th), vaccinated travellers from the UK, France, and the rest of Europe will once again be able to travel to the United States. The current Covid travel ban has been in place for 18 months, and while US nationals living in France have been able to travel during this period, it’s made travel tricky, to say the least.
From next week, all vaccinated travellers (including non-US citizens) will once again be able to travel to the US. Proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test taken with 72 hours will be required, but at the time of writing, no further details have been given. The rules for unvaccinated travellers remain unchanged.
Currently, vaccinated US citizens can travel to France with no restrictions (unvaccinated children can also travel with their family, although over 12s will need a negative Covid test); however, since France removed the US from its green list, unvaccinated travellers can only enter France with an essential reason.
2. Winter Relief for French Households
There have been a number of rises to gas and electricity prices in France over the last year, and gas users had been bracing themselves for a further 15% price hike set to come into effect on November 1st. However, there is some relief for French residents as the government has decided to freeze prices until at least the end of 2022. This means prices on domestic gas used for both heating and cooking will remain the same… at least for the moment.
November 1st also marks the start of the annual winter truce or ‘trêve hivernale’. This somewhat controversial French law dictates that non-paying tenants cannot be evicted over the winter period, and similarly, utility companies cannot cut off electricity, gas, or water supplies for accounts in arrears. This truce lasts until March 31st, 2022
3. Mountain Law Comes into Effect
Another change this winter is the introduction of the new ‘Mountain Law’ or Loi Montagne that mandates snow chains or tires to be fitted to all cars, motorhomes, and other vehicles in France’s mountainous regions.
The law concerns 48 French départements (see the full list here) in the south and east of France, and will apply equally to foreign cars and drivers. The law comes into effect from November 1st, and there are fines of €135 for non-compliance, although the government has hinted that this first winter will serve as a grace period, with warnings issued instead.
4. Planning a Move to France?
If you are looking at moving to or retiring to France in the future, then next week’s webinar is for you. It’s the final instalment of our three-part Destination France webinars (but don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more webinars planned for the coming months), and this time we’ll be focusing on all the practical aspects of making the move to France.
The webinar takes place on November 10th, 2021, at 10 am (UK time), and you can sign up here.
This time, our expert panel includes representatives from French Plans, specialists in French planning law, building, design, and renovation; Le Bons Voisins, who can tackle all your questions about owning and maintaining a second home; and Cranburys Removals, for expert advice on packing, storage, and removals to France.
A little update to our webinar schedule – unfortunately, our partners from Tricel won’t be able to join us for this webinar as previously announced. Watch this space for details of future webinars with Tricel and in the meantime, be sure to check out our dedicated sewage and waste management zone which is packed with advice for rural property owners.
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