The Connexion 231 - January 2022 e-Paper

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The Connexion 231 - January 2022 e-Paper
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On the front page

Heartbreak for Britons kept out by Covid rules

Families were split and plans had to be remade when travel rules between France and the UK tightened just a week before Christmas. The rules are not the same in both directions and are more serious for some. Dominic Barkley, 42, a security worker from London, told The Connexion how the ban means he cannot travel to see his father, who is ill with incurable stage 4 bowel cancer in France

Read how the change in UK-France travel rules has impacted some of our readers on the front page and continued on page 3

Key changes coming up in France in 2022

Covid and the repercussions of Brexit will continue to have an impact in 2022. Many other changes are also on the way, from environmental laws or renovation help to France’s presidency of the European Union. We summarise the key points. 

Understand upcoming changes in France in 2022 and how they could impact you on pages 6, 7 and 8

Solution to second home tax retention 

Britons who sell a €150,000-plus French second home must hire a tax agent (représentant fiscal) if there is a capital gain – but you can ‘shop around’. The représentant fiscal rule applies to all residents of non-EEA countries and can require a large chunk of the sale price to be held back for years in case tax offices contest deductions and demand more payments.

Read how UK residents Nick and Molly Cross faced having €175,000 held back on the sale of their renovated Burgundy farmhouse and how you can avoid this on the front page, and continued on page 2

French news explained

Fake certificates: One death, and inquiry into 339 health workers

Efforts are being stepped up to fight the problem of fake health passes after a woman who falsely claimed she was vaccinated died in hospital in December. The Connexion spoke to the doctor in whose intensive care unit the woman, in her fifties, died from Covid after being given treatment that would normally be reserved for someone who was vaccinated.

Learn more about the growing health pass black market in France on page 3

37 departments reinstate 90km/h limit

The number of departments that have seen the speed limit on departmental roads return to 90km/h has risen to 37 and is likely to rise further, according to a leading motoring group. Most departments which have returned roads to 90km/h are rural with low population densities, research from the Ligue de défense des conducteurs (LDC) shows.

Get the full picture of which departments have re-raised speed limits on page 4 

Bank sends in the bailiffs for solar panels that never worked

A couple who installed solar panels to help the environment say they have not worked since being fitted in 2015 – and they have been “a nightmare”. Keith and Linda Stevens have now received a shock visit from bailiffs chasing €20,000 for the panels, which were never finished because the firm that installed them went into liquidation weeks later.

Read the full story on page 5

France struggling with fibre optic issues

Alarm bells are ringing over the state of France’s fibre optic network before it has even been completed. The country appears to be on course to meet its objective of 100% access to fibre optic cable for all homes by 2025, but authorities are concerned about the number of complaints about connections.

See what regulator Arcep plans to do to improve the issue on page 4

Understand recent French headlines with The Connexion’s in-depth analysis in our news sections pages 1-12. We cover French news in daily articles online along with further analysis in our monthly print editions. View our subscription options. 

Brexit and France

Residency cards obligatory from January 1

Some 165,400 requests have now been made for Withdrawal Agreement (WA) residency cards for Britons living in France. The Interior Ministry maintains a target to have all cards which were applied for by October 3 on the dedicated website delivered by January 1.

Get advice if you are still waiting for your card on page 9

Comment: Harsh prefecture interview left me feeling unsure where I belong

Amber* has always felt French and was keen to apply for French nationality on turning 18 after Brexit. In theory, it should be a simple ‘declarative’ process if, as is her case, you have a French sibling and you have been schooled here since age six. However, the obligatory interview, which – according to an official site – is to check you are integrated and not ‘unworthy’, was anything but.

Read Amber’s experience of applying for French nationality on page 9. Plus stay informed with the latest Brexit news online in our Brexit section

Practical advice for living in France

Make sense of… Registering a car

Buying a car in France involves paperwork to officially register it. Since the end of 2017, formalities have moved online. We explain the process, likely costs, and what to do if you want to bring over a car from the UK.

Learn what you need to do to register a car in France on page 19 

Can I get insurance for my stay on a long-term visa?

Our reader asks if, when visiting a second home in France with a long-stay visa, any car and medical insurance company will cover them for more than 90 days.

See the answer and our advice for buying insurance for trips to France on page 19 

Flood tax is now levied by almost half of all mairies

Residents in nearly half of all communes are now subject to a new local tax to fund work to identify and tackle flood risks and, where needed, protect and restore wetlands. The tax, called Gemapi, and applicable since 2018, is capped at €40 per person. Figures from 2020 show 16,747 out of a total of 34,968 communes across the country currently levy it.

See if you are liable to pay flood tax in your commune on page 21

‘Smart’ speed limiters on all new cars mandatory from July

All new car models sold in the European Union must be fitted from July with ‘intelligent’ speed limiters that set off an alarm when speed restrictions are broken and slow the vehicle down. From 2024, all new cars, including models brought out before July 2022, will be required to have the equipment.

We outline the points to understand on page 32

How is property tax shared out if I sell my French house? Is declaration vital if we stay over half a year? Plus: A reminder if you are applying for a joint bank account 

Our financial advisor answers your money queries for January on page 33.

You can find more advice for managing your money in France in our Money and Tax section on pages 33 and 34, and online

Reader questions answered

You asked, we answered. Send your queries to 

  • Are multilingual forms still in use?
  • My mairie changed the name of my street: What must I do?
  • Is there a time limit for using feuilles de soins for health reimbursements?
  • May UK car licence holders ride a 125cc motorbike?
  • Is there a risk that the volcanoes of Auvergne will erupt again?

Get the answers to your questions on page 18 and elsewhere. You can also find answers to reader questions in the Your Questions section online.

French Living

Time to strike on France’s spectacular clocks for an 'horloge' tour

France is home to some extraordinary ‘timepieces’, from the country’s oldest in Paris to restored gems off the beaten track. Travel through time with our tour of city clocks to watch. 

Meet the last traditional makers of the Parisian café chair

Paris would not be Paris without its terrace cafés and their signature rattan chairs. Woven by Maison Gatti for just over one hundred years, the company is the last one in the city to make them in the traditional, artisanal way. Read our interview with owner Alexis Dyèvre.

Historic Lyon garden is a winter gem

The Jardin Botanique de Lyon is the largest public municipal garden in France, with the widest range of plants. In the winter its glasshouses are a wonderful way to enjoy a garden visit. We explore. 

French classics the easy way

In her new book, Anne-Katrin Weber combines a stroll through some of her favourite Parisian locations with timeless bistro dishes that she has enjoyed there. We share some of her picks to try at home.

You’ll find more culture and lifestyle articles, alongside recipes, quizzes and more, in our ‘French Living’ pull-out which comes free with every print edition.

More in the January edition: 

Property: Artisans must inform clients of planning permissions

Money: New forced heirship law - which wills are affected?

Reader story: Family escape to the chateau... from one just down the road

Family: ​​Class bullies face 10 years behind bars

Travel: ​​Touring in our €30,000 converted lorry