December has several key dates including the start of French MPs debating the ‘automatic visa’ plan for second-home owners and a last chance to benefit from financial aid for cycling. See our list below:
Prime de Noël benefit
This extra financial boost is paid out to lower-income families from December 15.
Around 2.3 million households are set to receive a minimum of €152.45, depending on the number of children in the household.
Eligible households will receive the bonus automatically and do not need to apply.
French MPs to debate ‘automatic visa’ proposal
France’s senators have approved a bill amendment giving British second-home owners an ‘automatic’ long-stay visa right without the need for any formalities.
The idea has been added as an article in France's immigration bill and will form part of the text sent to the Assemblée nationale députés (MPs) for debate from December 11.
Final deadline for income tax return changes
If you submit your annual income declaration online in France, you have until Wednesday December 6 to amend it.
You can do this by logging on to your personal space on the tax website impots.gouv.fr and clicking on Accédez à la correction en ligne (Access online correction).
You can change key details such as your income and expenses, but not details such as your address, family situation, or correspondence address (you should contact your tax office directly if these are incorrect).
Ski resorts to open
Some ski resorts are already up and running as snow fell early but most of the remaining major destinations are set to open in December.
Val d’Isere, which is linked to Tignes, has its opening date currently fixed to December 2.
Courchevel and Meribel are also set to follow on December 2 and Brides-les-Bains and Les Menuires will open on December 9. Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is set for a December 16 opening.
The Paradiski area which includes Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry is equally currently set to open officially on December 16.
The Grand Massif’s five stations - Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samöens and Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval are set for official opening on December 23. However the bigger resorts of Flaine, Les Carroz and Samoens will have pre-opening for people to ski from December 16.
The Portes du Soleil area brings together eight French stations and four Swiss stations, all which have different opening dates. In France Avoriaz 1800, Champéry Les Crosets, Châtel, Les Gets and Morzine are set to open the weekend of December 16. Meanwhile, Saint Jean d’Aulps, Chapelle-d’Abondance and Portes du Soleil will open on December 23.
Resorts in the southern Alps are all set to open at dates ranging from December 2 to 16.
End of the cycling ‘bonus’
The cycling ‘bonus’ - available at primealaconversion.gouv.fr - a government aid to help lower-income households buy and use bikes - is set to end on December 31.
The scheme – aimed at 50% of low-income households – offers up to €150 towards buying a new bike, €300 to €400 (depending on your income) for an electric bike and up to €1,000 to €2,000 for a cargo or folding bike.
End of some titres-restaurant?
December could be the last month that some food shop items will be covered by titres-restaurant (luncheon voucher) cheques, however it currently looks likely that there will be a last-minute reprieve.
An official list of items covered had been extended from October 2022, due to inflation and post-Covid economic difficulties, so as to cover various kinds of food that cannot be eaten immediately, including both fresh ingredients as well as store cupboard items such as rice and pasta.
From January 1, this is supposed to end, with the tickets reverting to only cover foods that are ready to eat. Restaurant owners have lobbied against the change and would like the vouchers to only be for actual restaurant meals.
However, in view of the angry reaction from the public, the government submitted a bill to extend the arrangement until the end of next year. It has now been adopted by the MPs and will go to the Senate on December 18.
Domestic violence support
From December 1, victims of domestic violence will receive financial help to support them in leaving their home.
Applications must be made to the Caisse d'allocations familiales (CAF). If successful, the applicant will receive the money in a single instalment, within “a maximum of three to five days”.
The amount will be €600 on average, with a minimum of €243. The amount will depend on the applicant’s resources and number of dependent children.
Eight dates to note before the end of the year
December 6 - St Nicholas Day. Towns in the north and east of France celebrate the figure who has been the patron saint of the Lorraine region since 1477.
December 7-10 - The Lyon Festival of Lights. More than two million people enjoyed this festive spectacle last year.
December 15 - The deadline for small businesses and freelancers to pay local business property tax (cotisation foncière des entreprises, or CFE). If you set up in 2023, you should file your CFE declaration before January 1, 2024.
December 21 - Free public transport starts in Montpellier. Buses and trams in Montpellier are to become completely free for residents (this does not apply to visitors) making it the first French city to offer free public transport all year round.
December 23-January 8 - Christmas school holidays. All three zones are on holiday at the same time.
December 25: Christmas bank holiday. December 26 is not a bank holiday in France.
December 31 - New Year’s Eve. Also known as le réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. Also the end of the flu vaccination campaign.
December 31 - deadline to declare hunting guns. Hunters must create an account and declare any guns they have before January 1, 2024.
Read more: How to declare possession of a gun in France