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LIVING IN FRANCE

Blackouts, driving and admin: 6 essential articles for life in France

The possibility of power cuts this winter remains the topic du jour in France, so we look at how likely it is, plans the government has put in place and how you can stay informed. Plus, if and when you need to change your driving licence, Christmas dining in the French-style, and some important admin for Brits in France.

Blackouts, driving and admin: 6 essential articles for life in France
(Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

Let’s begin with some good news – “We’re not in a disaster movie”, according to government spokesperson Olivier Véran. Good to know.

Véran was speaking as the French government asks local authorities to prepare emergency plans in what it insists is the unlikely event of power cuts this winter, we take a look at how likely this scenario really is.

‘We’re not in a disaster movie’ – How likely are blackouts in France this winter?

Local authorities must still work on an emergency plan, however, that lays out in detail how planned power outages would happen in France, and which services would be affected.

Schools, trains and hospitals: How France will handle possible electricity blackouts this winter

Linked to that, the French government has encouraged people to use ‘Ecowatt’ – accessible both as a website and mobile application to keep track of energy use this winter, in an attempt to stave off shortages and possible power cuts. Here’s how it works and how can you sign-up.

‘Ecowatt’: How to use France’s new energy forecasting website and app

At The Local, we’re often asked the driving licence question: do we need to change our licence for a French one?

If you’re living here you may eventually need to swap your licence – but how long you have to make the swap and exactly how you do it depends on where your licence was issued. Here’s the low-down.

Reader question: Do I have to swap my driving licence in France?

Christmas is coming – and that means feasts. But if you’re expecting figgy pudding and mince pies in France, you’re likely to be disappointed. That said, and in a bid to tempt you into something different, the home of gastronomy has some wonderful festive food traditions of its own. French food blogger Florence Richomme explains more.

The 12 dishes that make up a classic French Christmas feast

An administrative one to sign off with this week. British adults who were living in France before the end of 2020 should all now have residency cards, but for families the situation is slightly different – here’s how to secure legal residency status for your children.

Brexit: How Brits in France can secure residency rights for their children

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DRIVING

Plans to create ‘car-share only’ lanes on French motorways

A consultation has begun on creating 'car-share only' lanes on certain French motorways, in order to encourage drivers to begin carpooling.

Plans to create 'car-share only' lanes on French motorways

Certain lanes on French motorways including the A1, A13 and both the interior and exterior ringroad in Paris could soon be reserved for buses, taxi and cars with more than one person inside.

The government consultation has been launched into plans for six roads in the Île de France region – the A1, A4, A13, A14, A86 and the Paris périphérique – after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Sections of some of these roads (mainly the Paris périphérique) will be used during the Games as ‘voies olympiques’ (Olympic lanes) during the Games – reserved for athletes, media and others accredited by the Paris Olympic committee at peak times. They will be equipped with traffic cameras and extra signage for this purpose.

However, once the Games are over, Paris authorities have proposed not simply returning the lanes to normal, but instead reserving them for shared vehicles – buses, taxis and any car with two or more people inside.

It will not involve building new lanes, simply reserving certain lanes for shared vehicles. The proposal includes a 12km section of the A1 between Charles de Gaulle airport and the Stade de France and a 13km section of the A13 between Rocquencourt and the Saint-Cloud tunnel.

Paris City Hall has been involved in testing several different methods of ‘carpooling cameras’ that can show how many people are in a vehicle, but it is not yet clear how the shared-vehicle lanes would work.

The French government is trying to encourage car-sharing as a way to lower France’s energy consumption, offering €100 to anyone who signs up to a car-share platform.

You can have your say on the consultation here

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