top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

What is the Journal Officiel?

Connexion sometimes mentions the Journal Officiel – what is this and who publishes it? B.M.

The Journal Officiel de la République Française, or JO, is a daily French government publication that lists all the new national laws and decrees, as well as senior government job vacancies, and legal notices such as changes of name and acquisition of French nationality (some publications with personal information require permission to access them).

Since 2016 it is only online at official legal information site Légifrance (you can consult it at Before that it had existed in both paper and online formats since 2004.

It is published by the Direction de l’information légale et administrative (Dila), a service of the Prime Minister’s office, every day apart from Mondays, except if the previous day was a bank holiday. Its offices are at rue Desaix in south-west Paris.

The most important aspect of the JO is that new laws are not operative until they have been published in it.

This is because laws must be made public if they are to apply. Unless the law in question mentions a later date, it applies from the day after publication. However, any articles in a law that mention the need for additional decrees to put them into practice do not apply until the decree has itself been published in the JO.

Another role of the JO is publicising parliamentary debates, but the full verbatim of these is hosted at the sites of the respective bodies at (click Dans l’hémicycle > Comptes rendus des séances) or (Travaux parlementaires > Comptes rendus des débats). The JO service also publishes information about non-profit-making associations.

Historically, new laws were announced by a town crier, known as tambour de ville (town drum) from the fact that he or she banged a drum. The first newspaper to carry official notices was then the Gazette de France, from 1762. The Journal Officiel dates from 1868 and has had the monopoly on publishing new laws since 1870.

It should not be confused with a bulletin officiel, which provides updates from certain ministries, of which the best-known is the Finance Ministry one, mostly about taxes. This was called Bulletin Officiel des Impôts (BOI) until 2012 and since then (more accurately but less snappy) Bulletin Officiel des Finances Publiques-Impôts (BOFiP-Impôts).


Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now