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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French tests, remote working and Notre-Dame secrets: 6 essential articles for life in France

Testing your language skills, working as a digital nomad in France, closures on the famous Canal du Midi and things to do in Spring are just some of our essential articles for life in France.

French tests, remote working and Notre-Dame secrets: 6 essential articles for life in France

Learning French can be a long process and it also brings you into a world of bewildering acronyms – here’s what these language levels mean in terms of your everyday French conversation, with quizzes so you can test your level.

Quiz: Test your French language level on the A1 to C2 scale

Modern technology means that many jobs can be done from anywhere in the world with only a laptop and a solid wifi connection – but what are the rules if you are working remotely in France for a company back in your home country?

Digital nomad: What are the rules on working remotely from France?

As drought forces the reopening of the Canal du Midi to be postponed, warnings over the low level of France’s water table have brought home the scale of the problems facing the country heading into summer.

Famous Canal du Midi stays closed amid water level fears in France

The days are getting longer and the temperatures are starting to rise, so we’ve got some ideas for places to visit and things to do in France this spring – including poetry, culture, art, music, food, wine … and some places that are just lovely to visit.

14 places to visit and festivals to enjoy in France this Spring

The fire that engulfed Notre-Dame four years ago has revealed a long-hidden secret about the Paris landmark that experts had long wondered: how builders dared – and succeeded – in putting up such thin walls to such a height. 

Notre Dame fire exposes hidden iron holding up Paris’s iconic cathedral

Let’s round off with another work-related question. France has strict employment rules – but does that extend to when you can clock on and off? And is it really true that French workers spend most of their time either on holiday or on a lunch break? Yes … and no. We explain.

Reader Question: When does the working day start and end for French employees?