For members


What is a Livret de Famille in France – and how do you get one?

If you and your family live in France for any length of time you're highly likely to be asked for your Livret de Famille - here's what this means and what the situation is for foreigners.

What is a Livret de Famille in France - and how do you get one?
Getting married opens up a whole new administrative book for French people... (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Point one

First things first: don’t worry if you don’t have one, or even if you don’t know what it is. Not having a Livret de Famille is not a barrier to completing an administrative task. Even in France.

When will I need one?

If you have children, it’s almost inevitable that you will be asked for one when you register them at a new school. And it’s also useful for a range of other administrative tasks, especially those involving offspring.

So what is it?

A Livret de Famille is nothing more or less than a booklet of vital records, proving a family’s make-up, parental and sibling relationships, that sort of thing.

Mixed families, with parents who have children from previous relationships, will have multiple Livrets de Familles, at which point things can get slightly confusing, administratively.

When a couple marry, that is the first entry into a new French Livret de Famille, which is given to the new couple on their marriage as an administrative symbol a new family. Otherwise, it will be delivered on the birth of an unmarried couple’s first child.

It is then the responsibility of the family to maintain their Livret de Famille, by updating these records when any life events – for example, marriage, birth, adoption, divorce, death – take place.

It is worth noting that several other countries – including EU neighbours Spain and Germany-  have something similar.

So, how do I get one?

You have to be French. Or have children with a French person – in which case the Livret is provided on the birth of the first child (note: non-French couples do not receive a Livret on the birth of a first child in France). Or marry in France. If you tie the knot here, you will be presented with your Livret at the end of the ceremony.

What?! But what about all those administration tasks?

Relax. Remember point one.

Despite its grand name, and its apparent importance in day-to-day administrative life, a Livret de Famille is just a booklet of documents. You can make up your own. You need:

  • Birth certificates – all of them; parents and any children in your household;
  • Marriage certificate, where applicable;
  • Divorce certificate(s), where applicable;
  • Proof of ID – your passport, or titre de séjour if you have one.

Be aware, you may need to have some documentation translated into French for certain administrative tasks, including renewing any visa.

Keep them together, keep them safe, and they’ll work well enough whenever you’re asked for your Livret de Famille.

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For members


Property tax surcharge: Where in France second-home owners are liable for extra taxes

Local authorities in certain parts of France are entitled to place an extra property tax on second homes - here's how the system works and how to find out if your area is introducing such a rule.

Property tax surcharge: Where in France second-home owners are liable for extra taxes

France’s householders’ tax – taxe d’habitation – has been almost completely phased out, but there is one group that it still applies to; second-home owners.

Not only do second-home owners still have to pay the tax, an increasing number of communes are imposing a ‘surcharge’ on second homes which increases the bill by up to 60 percent.

The government has given local authorities in areas where there is a housing shortage the power to increase taxes on second homes in order to fund more affordable housing for locals and an increasing number of communes are choosing to use this power.

READ ALSO Second home or main address? French property tax rules explained

Towns and cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and “a marked imbalance between supply and demand for housing” are known as zones tendues (troubled zones) and may increase their portion of the taxe d’habitation by between five and 60 percent.

For the record, taxe d’habitation is based on the rental value of dwellings, payable on all furnished premises used for residential purposes, in accordance with article 1407 of the CGI (French General Tax Code).

The aim of the surcharge is to encourage second home owners to either sell the property, or rent it out long term.

Earlier this year, we reported that the Mediterranean glamour resort of Saint-Tropez hopes to raise €3 million a year for new local housing by increasing the taxe d’habitation on second homes by 60 percent from next year.

They are far from the only town to do this. Paris decided to raise its portion of the taxe d’habitation bill on second homes by 60 percent in 2022; while some 255 towns and cities across the country – of the 1,136 eligible to do so – have taken up the option of boosting their rates. 

READ ALSO Second-home owners: What French taxes do you need to pay?

Last year, city councils in cities such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Biarritz, Arles and Saint-Jean-de-Luz voted to increase the tax to the maximum 60 percent.

Cities must be able to demonstrate significant second-property rates and that property purchase and rental prices are higher than the national average in order to be eligible.

New rules, which do away with the 50,000 lower limit on population, come into force in 2024 (delayed from 2023) and could see the tax rises implemented in up to 4,000 additional towns.

According to the Direction générale des finances publiques (DGFiP) a total 22.4 percent of the municipalities authorised to levy a surcharge on taxe d’habitation for second homeowners did so in 2022. 

The full list of towns able to impose higher taxe d’habitation rates is here.

READ ALSO Reader question: Who has to pay France’s ‘vacant property’ tax?


There are some. You may be able to claim exemption from taxe d’habitation on second homes if:

  • Your professional activity is close to their second home and obliges you to live there;
  • Your primary residence is a long-term care facility, meaning your former primary residence is now your second home;
  • The property is uninhabitable for a reason outside of your control. For example, if work is needed to make it habitable. If this is the case – and it’s not uncommon of you have bought a property as a restoration project – you need to register it as uninhabitable with your local tax office. You will usually then benefit from a reduced or zero tax bill for a limit period – in most areas two years is the maximum time you can declare the property uninhabitable.