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Fuel, Prime de Noël, Covid: 9 December 2022 dates to note in France

Key dates include an end to fuel rebates and the 4% electricity cap, aid for wood-fired homes and gadget repairs, Christmas bonuses, new mask recommendations and long-Covid help

The deadline for children to write to Father Christmas (Père Noël) is one of the more festive dates on the calendar this month Pic: Yuganov Konstantin / Roman Malanchuk / 3rdtimeluckystudio / ELUTAS / Shutterstock

A new month means new changes in France, especially when the end of the month is also the end of the year. Here are some of the key changes to note coming up in December 2022.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 1

Paris 2024 ticket ballot opens

The ticket draw for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris is to open on December 1. The public can apply on the website tickets.paris2024.org for a chance to attend one of the 750 events scheduled for July 26-August 11, 2024.

Everyone who registers between December 1 and January 31, 2023, will have the same chance of getting a ticket to one of the events.

Read more: Paris 2024 Olympic Games: ticket sales calendar revealed

Read also: ‘Être bien dans tes baskets’: Our French expression of the week

Drought restrictions lifted in some departments

In some departments, drought restrictions are set to be lifted from December 1. For example, Bouches-du-Rhône. In the Alpes-Maritimes, they are expected to lift on December 15.

Almost 50 departments across France are still subject to drought restrictions, including limits on activities such as watering the garden, washing cars, or filling swimming pools. More than 20 departments are still classified as in ‘crisis’ (the highest alert level). 

Only 40 departments are without any restrictions, including the whole of Corsica, most of Brittany, and Normandy. You can check your department at the drought and rainfall monitoring website Propluvia.

Read also: Drought map: See what water restrictions apply in your department

More long Covid care reimbursed

From December 1, people who are still suffering from health problems 12 weeks after the first symptoms of Covid appeared, can be reimbursed 100% for their neuropsychological care and for occupational therapy. Visits to a physiotherapist, speech therapist or dietician are already reimbursed. 

Many patients with ‘long Covid’ have reported persistent problems such as concentration issues, brain fog, memory loss, and other cognitive issues. 

Long Covid is now an officially-recognised condition, and has been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 2

End of amnesty on unregistered weapons

On November 25, the government launched an operation for holders of non-declared firearms and other weapons. This enabled them to either register the weapons, or surrender them with no fear of prosecution. 

Firearms, handguns, sharp weapons, and small ammunition are concerned. 

Between Friday and Sunday, 21,000 weapons and nearly 600,000 rounds of ammunition were deposited in places dedicated to this operation. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there are around five million to six million weapons held illegally in France. 

This collection and amnesty will end on Friday, December 2, at 17:00.

A list of all the collection points in France can be found here

Read more: Reminder: undeclared weapons amnesty begins in France

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 6 

Saint Nicholas Day 

Saint Nicholas was the saint who inspired the legend of Santa Claus – due to his reputation as bringer of gifts and his wearing of long robes – and he is remembered on December 6 in Western Christian countries. 

In France, Saint Nicholas is also remembered as a protector of children thanks to an old tale in which he saves three boys from a wicked butcher and returns them to their families. 

This story is often told on December 6 and is also depicted in the popular French children’s song, ‘La Légende de Saint Nicolas’ (The legend of Saint Nicholas), sang by Henri Dès, a well known French singer for children. 

Read more: When is Saint Nicholas Day 2022 and how is it celebrated in France?

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 12

Energy cheque available  

A chèque énergie of up to €200 is to be paid to 12 million people in France in the 20% least well-off households during December. Around €100 will be available for households whose annual taxable income (revenu fiscal de référence (RFR)) is between €10,800 and €17,400. The cheque is to help households pay rising energy bills.

You can check your eligibility on this government simulator.

For households that heat with oil, an aid of €100-200 has also been available since November 7. Tenants in social housing who are struggling with energy bills will also benefit from a payment, up to a maximum of €600, from December 12. 

More information on eligibility is on the government website.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 14

Last date to correct your income tax declaration

Several dates in December relate to deadlines for tax returns. 

December 14 is the deadline for correcting your return using the online Corriger ma déclaration service via your personal space on the tax website impots.gouv.fr. It is also the deadline for making any adjustments to the advance that will otherwise be paid to you in January based on 60% of the tax credits you had against 2021 income (declared this spring). This is of interest if you did not in fact have any expenses entitling you to similar tax credits in the course of 2022. 

All new requests for making monthly payments of the property tax taxe foncière must also be made before December 15 if you want these to start applying from the start of next year.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 15

Out-of-warranty electronic repair aid opens

From December 15, people will be able to get financial help to repair out-of-warranty electronic items. This is part of the ‘loi Agec’, which aims to reduce waste and boost the ‘circular economy’. There is set to be a budget of €410million available for the scheme until 2027. 

It will take the form of a payment of €10-€45 depending on the type of appliance to repair. Officially-recognised repairers will also be signposted as part of the scheme.

Items in around 30 categories will be included, with the list set to be extended in the coming years. The amount on offer depends on the appliance. For example:

  • €10 for a coffee machine
  • €25 for a washing machine (up to 25% of the repair cost)
  • €45 for a laptop

Read more: France to launch grants for people to repair home electronic goods 

  • December 15-16

Prime de Noël to be paid

The annual prime de Noël’ (Christmas bonus) is to be paid to the least well-off households, especially those on social benefits. In 2021, it was paid over December 15 and 16. This year, more than 2.3 million people in France are set to receive it around a similar date.

The amount is fixed depending on the household’s income and composition. For example, a single person would receive €152.45. A single person with a child would receive €228.67. A couple without children would receive €228.67 maximum, while a couple with a child would get €274.41.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 20

Père Noël letter service deadline

Children in France have until December 20 to write to Père Noël, as this is the latest date after which they can expect a letter in return.

Read more: Children in France have until December 20 to write to Père Noël

Children sending letters addressed to Père Noël can expect to receive a response (although not the presents requested, sadly). Letters will be sent not to Lapland but to Libourne (Gironde).

Postal workers, assisted by a team of volunteer ‘elves’, will respond to letters in French or in English.

Children can write to the man himself in two ways.

  • A traditional letter in an envelope, addressed to Père Noël. Remember to put your own address on the back in order to receive a response.
  • An email via the animated website pere-noel.laposte.fr, via the link reading ‘Start’, and then ‘Ecrire ma lettre’ (Write my letter).

La Poste has a page with advice on how to write, and advises that children do not simply list gifts, but instead say hello, tell Father Christmas how their year has gone, so he can ‘see if they have been naughty or nice’, and say thank you.

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 22

Wood-fired heating aid begins

Financial help for households that heat their homes with wood and wood pellets is to be available on request from December 22. There will be €230million of public funds available in total.

Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal, who is managing the funds, has said: “We are going to open this aid from December 22. 

“People in France who heat with wood can log on to the site chequeenergie.gouv.fr [not yet open] and enter their information to check that they are within the eligible revenue band and that they do indeed use wood for heating.”

Up to €200 will be available, depending on household income. You can supply information on your income by entering your tax number in the website when it opens.

Read more: Heat your house in France with wood? How to apply for aid 

Air France strike notice

Cabin crew from flagship carrier Air France have threatened to strike in December, specifically over the Christmas period between December 22 and January 2, 2023.

A union statement said: “This strike notice must serve as a warning to our bosses. If this warning is not heard, only a strong mobilisation will be capable of tipping the balance.”

Read more: Air France cabin crew threaten strike action over Christmas break 

The industrial action would be in protest against the renegotiation of the collective cabin crew workplace agreement, which relates to their working conditions, pay, and progression, and which expired in October. 

Read also: Air France, EasyJet, Ryanair: Christmas strike threats multiply

Pic: The Talented Bee / Shutterstock

  • December 31

Fuel rebate ends

December is the last month (so far) that most drivers can get a government discount on fuel. The amount dropped to 10 cents per litre in November and is set to disappear completely after December 31.

The 10-cent-per-litre discount at TotalEnergies will also end on the same date.

The government has said that financial fuel aid will continue to be available for ‘heavy users’, such as those who need to travel long distances in their vehicles for work. 

Read more: French fuel discount to reduce, more about replacement aid revealed 

  • Month of December overall

Masks recommended again

Health experts have warned that people in France should wear masks again in enclosed, public spaces into December as health indicators suggest that Covid cases and hospitalisations are once again rising.

It comes as the healthcare system is already stretched due to seasonal flu and bronchiolitis.

Read more: Covid France: Face masks recommended in enclosed, busy spaces

Read more: Covid: Daily updates on the situation in France 

The latest figures from health authority Santé publique France (SPF) suggest that there has been an “increase in the spread” of Covid, and an increase in the number of hospitalisations over the previous seven days. This has followed “four weeks of decrease” said SPF.

Last week, 4,210 people were hospitalised for Covid, a rise of 6% compared to the week before.

The number of cases and hospitalisations are far lower than the peaks seen at the start of the year (19,000 hospitalisations) but rising numbers come as the health service is under considerable strain due to epidemic levels of winter flu and bronchiolitis.

The latter, which mainly affects infants, has arrived earlier and more severely than usual, causing some doctors to fear the impact of a “triple epidemic”. This has led one expert to join calls for a return to wearing masks and taking other barrier precautions.

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