1. Winter sales
The winter sales are under way but are shorter than usual – ending in most areas on February 4.
This semi-annual event, which is regulated by the government, offers shoppers discounts of up to 70%.
Sellers are not allowed to raise prices before discounting items, and the original price must be indicated as well as the discounted price.
Prior to this year, the sales lasted six weeks, but the 2019 loi Pacte changed this.
The government says that too long a period harms sales.
Departments set their own dates and four – Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Meuse (55), Moselle (57), and Vosges (88) – chose January 2 to 29.
2. Livret A
Interest paid on Livret A savings accounts falls from 0.75% to 0.5% - its lowest level yet - on February 1 in the first change in the rates since 2015.
The government says that under the standard method of calculation, which is linked to inflation and currency rates, the rate should have dropped to 0.23%, but it has committed to not allowing it to fall below 0.5%.
Interest on the Livret de développement durable et solidaire (LDDS) falls to the same rate.
3. Taxi rates
New taxi rates come in this month, including the fixed rates for trips to and from certain major airports.
The minimum cost of a trip is €7.30, and the fixed fee on the meter before a trip starts is capped at €4.18 which can rise by up to €2.50 (€4 in Paris) for taking five people or more and by up to €2 per piece of luggage, plus up to €1.12/km.
The per km amount may be increased by up to 50% at night or rush hour, up to 100% if the destination means the driver is unable to find a return leg client or up to 50% if the roads used require winter tyres.
There is a maximum €37.46/hour if waiting for a client who has reserved or in slow-moving traffic.
In certain cities, there are also extra fees for booking.
Fees from Paris Orly to the Left Bank are €32, and €37 for the Right Bank, and respectively €58 and €53 from Charles de Gaulle.
At Nice, they are €32 to the town centre, €80 to Cannes or €90 to Monaco. Rates at Toulouse are €15-€45, depending on the district.
Dates for your diary
Winter school holidays start in Zone C areas (until February 24).
The dates are February 15 to March 2 in Zone B, and February 22 to March 9 in Zone A.
The zones are aimed at avoiding a rush to mountain resorts at the same time.
As in most countries, Valentine’s Day is especially associated with romantic love in France, and the village of Saint-Valentin in Indre plays on this with a two-day festival, including awarding “love diplomas” at the mairie (village-saint-valentin.com).
If you are not in a couple, it is also considered to be a day to celebrate friendship.
Followed by le mercredi des Cendres (Ash Wednesday), this is traditionally the last day of the carnival season and an excuse for festivities before depriving yourself during le Carême (Lent).