18 recent and upcoming changes in France - May 2024

We cover ambulance sharing being made mandatory, cracking down on shrinkflation, changes to free samples and more

We also cover the new changes to parental leave
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Address change from June 1

A new law making it obligatory for communes of under 2,000 residents to name roads and number houses takes effect on June 1. The law is intended to make houses easier to find in case of emergency, and aid delivery of post and parcels.

New signage must be put up in communes of less than 2,000 inhabitants to indicate the new names. Not all mairies will be able to finish the task before June 1 but if you are affected, the local mairie should contact you to inform you of the address change. 

Bureaucracy simplification

Plans to simplify bureaucracy have been announced. The aim is for 3,000 more France Services drop-in centres to be available by 2026. 

There will also be simpler language on administrative forms and websites, more telephone operators to help with admin, so that all public service centres (such as France Travail, the Caf, and the Police Nationale) are able to answer 85% of phone calls immediately, more Urssaf staff, an online complaint system and AI assistance. 

Read more: 9 ways France plans to simplify bureaucracy for residents

Read more: How to get free help with French admin problems

Mandatory ambulance sharing 

Patients using ambulances or medical taxis may be forced to make a detour of 30km per trip, according to a draft decree to encourage sharing of medical transport. 

Doctors can still insist a patient is transported alone. Patients can also refuse shared transport, but the trip will have to be paid by them in advance. From 2025, they may be penalised for doing so.

Ambulances and medical taxis cost the Sécurité sociale €5.7 billion in reimbursements in 2022.

There are concerns people who regularly use hospital transport, such as for chemotherapy, may be seriously affected by longer travel times. 

Energy cheque application

Those with modest incomes who have not yet received their chèque énergie may apply on a new portal from July to December 2024. It is intended for energy-related bills, including eco-friendly renovations.

Automatic posting of cheques ended on April 25 but around one million eligible households did not receive theirs. This is due to suppression of the taxe d’habitation, which made identifying newly eligible households more difficult. 

European elections

On June 9, the 81 new French members of the European Parliament will be elected after a direct universal suffrage in a single-round ballot. Members of each party must be proportionally represented following the vote. 

Only EU nationals who have registered can vote. 

International trips

SNCF has temporarily stopped selling some international journeys on its SNCF Connect platform as it prepares a better system for booking trains. It will still sell journeys that it manages, such as on Eurostar or to Barcelona or Germany. Journeys such as Paris-Berlin or Lyon-Vienna will no longer be available.


Supermarkets must now indicate if a product’s size has decreased without its price going down in an effort to combat shrinkflation. The measure must be adopted by July 1 and the change in size/quantity must be displayed for two months after it is applied.

Read more: More everyday French supermarket products accused of ‘shrinkflation’

LEP decrease

The LEP (livret d’épargne populaire) interest rate is set to decrease for the third time in a row in its semi-annual recalculation in August. 

A tax-free, attractive savings account for those with low incomes, LEPs have had an interest rate of 5% since February 1 but this is expected to drop to around 3.5% on August 1 as inflation slows. 

Read more: Are non-residents eligible for high-interest French savings account?

Medical calendar

Mon espace santé, France’s online health space to track medical history and encourage better patient-doctor dialogue, now includes an appointments calendar. In the case of children, for example, this notes obligatory vaccinations and the 20 mandatory appointments for children before the age of 16.

Mon espace santé is free to use and was introduced in 2022 by Assurance maladie and the health ministry. You can see your medical profile, your medical folder and message health professionals confidentially. More features are set to be added soon.

Read more: CALENDAR: Check to see you are up to date with vaccinations in France

Late disability pension increase 

The 4.6% increase in disability pensions will only take effect at the beginning of August rather than beginning of May as originally planned. However, it will be applied retroactively. 

The pension is recalculated every April to take into account inflation.

Birth leave

From August 2025, congé parental (parental leave) will be replaced by congé de naissance (birth leave), offering better compensation but a shorter benefit period to encourage more parents to make use of it.

New parents will be entitled to 50% of their salary (up to €1,900) and each parent can take up to three months off.

The current allowance is €448 a month for up to two years for the same parent. This can be extended to three years if the second parent takes over.

Free sample change

Free samples will no longer be automatically given out in shops. Shoppers will have to ask for them. However, retailers will be allowed to inform customers of the free samples offered in any way they wish, so it is unclear how much of a difference this will make in practice. 

The change is a part of 2020’s anti-waste law and will not apply to unpackaged products for immediate consumption, such as cheese or meats in supermarkets. 

Read more: Why shoppers will not automatically get free samples now in France

EU ban on single-use plastic 

The European Parliament has banned the use of single-use plastic containers in cafés and restaurants and the use of ‘eternal polluters’ in products that come into contact with food by 2030. It is part of a law that seeks to combat packaging waste in the EU. 

Animal nutriscore

ANSES, the French agency for food, environmental and occupational health and safety, has proposed the creation of a new label based on producers’ treatment of animals.

Like the Nutri-score, it goes from A, for products that promote animal well being on every level, to E, for those that purely respect the legislation in place without any additional effort.

Code change

Earlier this year, the code de la route (highway code) changed. Now, signs intended for cyclists also apply to so-called personal transporters (engins de déplacement personnel motorisés or EDPMs), such as electric scooters, hoverboards and one-wheelers.

Read more: Do you recognise these French road signs? Their meanings have changed…

Olympic torch arrival

The Olympic torch continues its journey across France and is due to arrive in Paris on July 26 for the opening ceremony. It landed in Marseille on May 8, almost a month after it was lit in Athens. 

Read more: Day by day: Where Olympic torch will pass in France on way to Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris 

Work to repair the iron cross which fell when Notre-Dame cathedral caught alight in 2019 has finished.

The richly-ornamented cross is 12 metres high and weighs 1.5 tons. It was the only part of the choir’s roof that survived the flames, but took craftsmen more than 1,000 hours over the last eight months to repair.

The cathedral itself is still on course to reopen on December 8.

La Poste experimenting delivery with drones 

La Poste has added a third experimental delivery line by drone, between two villages in the Vercors massif. 

The two previous delivery lines started in 2016 and 2019 and have been shown to help deliver packages in difficult-to-access and isolated locations.

The drone’s flight is completely automatic and the new line can carry up to 10 kilograms of packages, up from 2 kilograms for the two previous lines.

The drone depositing the packages into the fixed delivery terminal