15 recent and upcoming changes for living in France 

See our list including medical fee increases and updates affecting gas and electricity bills

We cover rising gas bills, an asthma treatment shortage, Olympic motorway lanes and changes to doctor appointment fees
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1. Gas bills to rise...

The average price of gas is set to rise by 12% on July 1 because of an increase in distribution network tariffs. Prices have been going down in 2024 for the most part, so, even with the rise, the July price is still 3.5% lower than in January. 

The average yearly bill at the new price is €1,184 for a residential customer. Around 10 million homes in France use gas as their main energy source.

Read more: Gas bills rise in France: compare energy providers

2: ...but not electricity?

Electricity bills will go down by 10%-15% in February 2025 due to an increase in nuclear power generation, Economy minister Bruno Le Maire promised.

He used the announcement to score political points against Rassemblement National, which he claims “wants to handcuff us to the Gulf States and Russia”. 

3: €30 to see a doctor

The price of a general practice doctor’s appointment is to rise to €30 in December, up from €26.50, after unions and state health insurer Assurance Maladie signed an agreement.

Fees for specialists are also rising, such as gynaecologists (to €40, up from €31.50) and psychiatrists (€57, up from €51.70 for basic fees). 

Patients with social security cover are reimbursed – 70% by Assurance Maladie and 30% by mutuelles, if they have one – but the cost of mutuelles is likely to go up to reflect the increase. 

Read more: CONFIRMED: €30 fee to see a doctor in France from December 2024

4: Digital health card

A digital version of the carte Vitale healthcare card is now available in 23 departments 

– it was previously available in eight.

It can be downloaded to a smartphone and used in place of a physical card for medical appointments. 

You can check which departments and if you are eligible at tinyurl.com/digital-Vitale. There are no plans to entirely replace physical cards.

Read more: Digital carte Vitale begins in many areas: where and how will it work?

5: Wage increases

The French minimum wage, known as the Smic, is set to rise by around 2% in the third quarter of this year. 

It is adjusted every January but can also be changed during the year if the national consumer price index increases by at least 2%. The current Smic is €1,767 gross a month (€1,398 net). 

6: Ventolin shortage

Ventolin, used to treat asthma, is on the list of medicines at risk of shortages in France.

Supplies are under strain at pharmacies, and some of the four million people who suffer from asthma may struggle to get it. Manufacturer GSK has vowed to increase production.

Read more: Asthma treatment Ventolin placed on French list for risk of shortages

7: Speed controls

From July 7, all new cars sold in the European Union must be equipped with an AIV system: adaptation intelligente de vitesse (intelligent speed control).

This will inform the driver of the speed limit by detecting road signs or using the car’s GPS system. 

If you speed, the AIV system will automatically slow down the vehicle by reducing power or making the accelerator harder to push. It will also emit a visual or audio alert. 

Read more: New cars in France must have these features from July

8: Breast cancer costs

MPs have voted in favour of a first version of a potential law to reimburse the total cost of breast cancer treatment.

This is intended to include ‘support’ costs, such as for wigs or renewing breast prostheses, although a full list of what counts as support is yet to be drawn up. 

Breast cancer is the most deadly cancer in France for women and affects more than 700,000 people. 

Read more: Who gets called for a mammogram in France? Is it free?

9: ‘Giant’ tick alert

Santé publique France is warning people to be careful of “giant” ticks. They have been reported in 11 departments and are twice as large as regular ones. Advice includes being alert to bites, and inspecting your body, and those of children and pets, for ticks regularly.

Read more: Be vigilant over these large ticks found in south of France

10: Food origin label

A new logo is to appear on some supermarket food packaging this summer showing where the product has come from.

Called Origin’Info, it will indicate the source of the three main ingredients and it is a voluntary logo for manufacturers to add. Displaying the origins of fruits, vegetables and meat is compulsory. 

11: Anti-scam site

A new, free online portal has been created to check whether a website, link, email or text message is a scam. 

To use it, simply paste the suspicious address or message on cybersecurite.orange.fr

You should receive an instant response, although in some cases, it could take longer.

Read more: New way to check if a website or email is fraudulent in France

12: Tax repayments 

Millions of taxpayers will receive money from the tax authorities towards the end of July, following the 2023 income declaration season.

You may be affected if your situation changed in 2023 causing too much at-source tax to be taken, or if you are eligible for any tax credits or reductions, such as for having donated to charity or paid childcare costs for young children. 

13: Challenge speeding fines

A new app has been launched to challenge speeding fines. 

A challenge using Flash Radar costs a flat €57 fee, as opposed to the hundreds of euros it can cost to challenge via a law firm.

The law firm behind the app says most fines are dropped after an initial challenge as photographic evidence often does not clearly identify the driver. Yet only 2% of speeding fines are currently challenged in France. 

In 2023, more than €2billion was paid to the state in driving fines.

Read more: Drivers in France can challenge speeding fines via law firm’s new app

14: Olympic motorway lanes

From July 15, around 185km of main roads around Paris will be exclusively for vehicles accredited for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Only one lane will be reserved for Olympic vehicles, usually the furthest left one. They will be signposted as ‘Paris 2024’ lanes, with markings on the ground. Using them with a non-accredited vehicle may result in a €135 fine.

The scheme includes parts of the A1, A4, A12, A13, the périphérique and some main roads in Paris. 

15: €200 fine for using screens while driving

New flat-rate fines have been introduced to improve road safety and tighten driving rules in France, including €200 for using your phone at the wheel.

The changes, brought in on June 10, simplify the process for police to issue driving fines for minor offences and strengthen rules for other offences. 

They are part of a wider philosophy announced by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin of “treating good drivers well and bad drivers harshly.”

The new flat-rate fines for screen use can be applied if the screen is “not intended to help the driver” while driving. This includes smartphones and tablets. This category 5 offence can result in a €200 fine (€150 if paid quickly), rising to €450 if not paid by the due date.