Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Doing It in France

Practical information. Social security, finding a job, and even how to deal with dying. Your rights and responsibilities as a consumer. Comments about prices and service. Full articles, tips, and snippets of information from our staff writers.

Plastic shopping bags

Au revoir to plastic bags in France

The Local | Feb 25, 2016
Single use plastic bags are set to disappear from French checkouts by the end of March 2016. The law, part of France’s energy transition bill, was originally due to come into force on January 1st, but its introduction has been delayed due to a hold…
France map, new regions

What to expect in France for 2016

The Local | Feb 13, 2016
The start of the New Year in France brought in a flood of changes, including a complete reworking of France’s map and compulsory doggy bags in restaurants. Here’s everything you need to know. Less regions in France It’s 2016 and France now has 13…
Restaurant waiter

7 illegal things that may happen in restaurants in France

Riviera Reporter | Jan 12, 2016
In autumn 2015, a customer filed a complaint with the police against a bistro in Draguignan that refused to sell him a hot drink after 5pm. Nice-Matin journalist Benoit Guglielmi spoke with Marc Ghioldi, a Nice-based lawyer who deals in consumer…
Electric socket on money

Electric shock: EDF’s retroactive price rise is on its way

Jo-Ann Howell | Dec 30, 2015
If you are a Tarif Bleu EDF client in your home, then at some point over the first six months of 2016 you’ll be receiving a confusing invoice (if you haven't already), detailing a supplementary fee on your contract for the period from July 23rd 2012…
Cleaning Lady

It’s official: women do bulk of housework in France

The Local | Jul 19, 2015
Women in France still do the bulk of the housework and most men wouldn’t know a duster if it tickled them on the nose, a new study shows. French women spend two and a half times as much time as men looking after their children, according to research…

50 Ways to Close Your French Shutters

Philippa Campsie | Feb 02, 2015
On our last visit to Paris in June, we did most of our travelling by bus, which meant time spent waiting at bus stops and journeys on which we gazed out the window at the streets, instead of hurtling through a darkened tunnel on the Metro. And that…
Christmas Snowman

Christmas in France: Have yourself a Merry little ... Noël

Elodie Peyrano | Dec 23, 2014
While living in France you’ll soon discover that Christmas is THE holiday so there are a few things you should know if you want to be prepared. First of all, Christmas is not in December. Well of course the celebration, like in the rest of the…

French politics goes local - the role of Mayor

Riviera Reporter | Mar 24, 2014
Former US House Speaker Tip O’Neill first coined the phrase “All politics is local”. In France this is particularly true as mayors have more power than their counterparts in countries where the office is largely honorific. The power and the glory A…
Stroller Not Allowed Sign

Banning strollers in public places, is it legal?

Riviera Reporter | Dec 10, 2013
“I have nothing against babies ...” In early September, Singapore-based Scoot airlines announced the launch of “Scoot in Silence” – sections at the front of its cabins that ban anyone under 12. This follows a No Children Allowed movement spreading…
AGS - Linda Boersma

International removal companies help pack up your troubles

Riviera Reporter | May 04, 2013
Here on the Riviera there is a greater percentage of high value and long distance international moves than most places. Meet the people who can take you where you need to go. AGS MOVERS in Nice is a family-owned business that has personalised…

Moving locally or abroad: get it right

Nancy Heslin | May 02, 2013
All you need to know about changing base on the Côte d’Azur Recent research from Bosch Power Tools claims the average Brit moves house about eight times in their lifetime (and, as indicated in a separate study, spends more than five years with a…
Time is on their side

Who can retire when, time is on their side

Riviera Reporter | Apr 08, 2013
Figures just out show the wide age gap that still exists in France between retirement ages in different trades, despite reforms in 2003, 2008 and 2010 that tried to level the playing field. Doctors, lawyers and similar professionals retire on…
Moving Day

Moving? Here's who you need to tell and when

Riviera Reporter | Mar 08, 2013
As soon as possible If a tenant, notify landlord right away and before moving do an inventory with landlord and claim back deposit Organise material conditions of move Call a professional mover to protect against the risk of theft or damage Check to…
How not to put a foot wrong in France

How not to put a foot wrong in France – especially if you're a woman

Riviera Reporter | Feb 25, 2013
Géraldine Lepère lived in England for two years: "I spoke good English but I always felt very much that I didn't belong." Back in her native Grenoble – which, rather surprisingly, claims to be the provincial city with the largest number of expats –…

Efficiency of the French police with foreign victims

Patrick Middleton | Feb 23, 2013
Gotcha! What exactly French cop-speak is for that I don't know but certainly that's what les flics would have said when the other day they felt the collar of a man they allege in 1990 raped and strangled Joanna Parrish, a British exchange student,…
Stressed Secretary

Is the French working environment a happy one?

Riviera Reporter | Feb 10, 2013
“Working keeps us healthy,” says the French popular song. So would most employees sing along with this? A recent Ipsos study across the EU found that the French were a discontented lot: over four out of ten, a higher proportion than in most…
TV Licence

French TV licence: you have to pay

Patrick Middleton | Aug 27, 2012
So you never watch French television? You still need a licence. Over the nearly a quarter of a century we’ve published we’ve regularly got letters – especially from Brits – asking if they can avoid paying a television licence (redevance) by telling…

Taking a taxi? Know your rights

Riviera Reporter | Aug 06, 2012
You're at the head of the queue. You state your destination to the driver of the cab at the front – and he refuses to take you (too short a distance, maybe). He's in the wrong and you can tell him so. Only exception: you can be told to take the…
Cheap Bargain

Is it really a bargain?

Jill Penton-Browne | Jul 15, 2012
These days many of us are looking to live more cheaply, let’s face it, and discount retailers of every kind (including online) are enjoying a boom. So aren’t we lucky. No, says Ellen Ruppel Shell in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
La Fete des Voisins - Atanase Perifan

How to be a good neighbour in France

Patrick Middleton | May 10, 2012
And what about “them next door” in France? Patrick Middleton reports. René, an elderly retiree, had lived in the same Strasbourg apartment block for some twenty years. None of his neighbours, it seems, ever gave a thought to him. That changed a few…
Marriage at Chateau

Marriage in France for non-French citizens

Riviera Reporter | Apr 17, 2012
Civil ceremony You will need to visit the Etat Civil at the mairie of the town in which you wish to be married so that a file in your names can be set up. You do not have to make an appointment. Some mairie websites show peak and low waiting times…

Attitudes to Friday the thirteenth

Riviera Reporter | Apr 13, 2012
Two down, one to go Back in January we had a Friday the 13th and another in April. July is the last for 2012. Three is the maximum number of days with that date possible in a single year; but every year has at least one. Of course, you may simply…

What is PMU?

Riviera Reporter | Apr 12, 2012
On Friday the 13th... or any other day, The French like to try their luck. Pari Mutuel Urbain (pmu.fr) was founded in 1930 as a racing authority for horse betting in France. Bets can be made in person at one of their 10,400 sales outlets in France,…
Feuilles de Soins

The French Healthcare System: For small businesses

Pascale Florin | Mar 02, 2012
How The Health System Works For Auto-Entrepreneurs, Micro-Entrepreneurs and Commercants Once a small business has been created and the various pieces of ID sent to the authorities (RSI), you are issued with a temporary Immatriculation number…
carte vitale_001

The French Healthcare System: Getting into it

Pascale Florin | Mar 01, 2012
Getting into the System Expats from an EEC country living in France can join the French state-run healthcare system though how this is done depends on whether they are retired, self-employed or other. Once in the system, the Titulaire is given a…

Got a beef with the SNCF?

Riviera Reporter | Feb 23, 2012
If you want to submit a claim to SNCF for reimbursement, you need to fill in the required form [here] and return it by post to: Service relations client SNCF 62973 ARRAS Cedex 9 Complaints concerning the conduct of an SNCF voyage are handled by…

French legal system - who does what?

Steph McClean | Feb 18, 2012
The three main legal professions in France are notaires, avocats and huissiers de justice. There are also others who play an important role in the system such as administrateurs judiciaires and commissaires-priseurs and numerous other lesser-known…

BPCA provides measures to help Var flood victims

BPCA | Jan 07, 2012
VAR Special Report / Bulletin from the BPCA to its clients The Department of the Var has just been subjected to violent storms. Human and property losses are substantial. Banque Populaire Côte d’Azur has decided to react quickly and provide a number…

Rural Living in France - an essential read first

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
Happiness is in the fields Well, so goes the French saying but the countryside can be an uncomfortable place for an ignorant newcomer - or if you've recently arrived. Here's a look at exactly the book you should read before settling in the sticks.…

Official French websites in English

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
A surprising number of French government websites are partly or entirely translated into English. Here are some: OFFICIAL FRENCH SITES IN ENGLISH www.ameli.fr Service-public.fr www.amendes.gouv.fr National Assembly Economic and Social Council
Credit cards

Bank card scam - What next?

Steph McLean | Jan 07, 2012
After recently having had the distressing experience of our bank card details being stolen and used by the thief to make internet purchases, other Members might be interested to know that, upsetting though these events are, there can be a happy…
Mother and baby

Made in Monaco - a personal account of motherhood

Lucy Bonser | Jan 07, 2012
Lucy Bonser recently had a baby in Monaco Here are some of her jottings date about pregnancy, birth and motherhood taken from the perspective of a very middle-class English girl living in the Principality. Industrial-sized sanitary towel? Check.…
Holding hands

What exactly is PACS?

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
The pacte civil de solidarité (PACS) was introduced Nov 1999 as “a contract between two adult persons of either sex to organise their lives in common." No hassle involved with town halls and churches, you simply go to a courthouse and sign a piece…

EHIC/CEAM Play the right card!

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
So you’re planning to Dagenham or Dun Laoghaire, Dordrecht or Dortmund. As any medic will tell you, the season of goodwill is also peak time for upset stomachs and ... kitchen accidents. So it could be you’ll need to see a doctor while you’re…

Retrieving lost objects

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
WHAT NOW? In a new column about what to do in unexpected situations, we look at retrieving lost objects Supermarket or shopping centre: objects that are turned in are usually kept on the spot for about 5 days. They’re then passed on to the police or…
Bailiff's office

The Bailiff (l’huissier de justice)

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
Answering a reader’s question Phil Heinlein introduces l’huissier de justice. Joanna in Antibes has acquired some very noisy neighbours: music at all hours, motorbikes, shouting, barking – “it’s unbearable”. A neighbour tells her she should get a…

Of doctors, fees and delivery dates

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
This column is always happy to alert readers to their rights. The right, for example, not to get a nasty surprise when the guy in a white coat – doctor or dentist – tells you how much you must pay. Since the end of last year it’s been obligatory for…

Fighting the good fight against inflated prices, lying ads … and stale sausage

Patrick Middleton | Jan 07, 2012
Patrick Middleton has been talking to François Robert, deputy head of the DDCCRF in Nice, the body which exists to protect consumers’ interests The name’s a mouthful, certainly: la Direction départementale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de…
Rude person

They’re not just rude, they’re French

Patrick Middleton | Jan 07, 2012
We often hear complaints from visitors about alleged ill-mannered or negligent service in cafés and restaurants. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Canadian travel writer Katherine Gougeon has offered some advice on this issue: “When it comes to service…

Getting that rental deposit back

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
As I've often noted in this column, French law is clearly favourable to tenants but it doesn't offer immediate protection against dodgy landlords. Barry writes from Lytham St Anne's in the UK to say that during a year on a student exchange programme…

UFC : France’s equivalent of the Consumer’s Association

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
They’ll fight your corner When Stuttgart-born Siefried Ulmer took early retirement from IBM in La Gaude – he’d been there for thirty years – he soon got bored. He often speculated on how he could find a useful and interesting way to spend some of…
Shop sales

Careful with those Christmas bargains across the frontier!

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
Torben's tale is worth thinking about: "Jeg forstär ikke, jeg forstär ikke ..." Torben, a young Dane from Aarhus, was so stressed one July afternoon when he returned to Nice from a half-day's trip to Ventimiglia that he was failed by his usually…

How long should you keep paperwork?

Riviera Reporter | Sep 09, 2011
We're all awash with paperwork, some of it important and some of it extraneous. In France the normal limitation period (délai de prescription) in legal matters is 5 years so any documents relative to court cases should be kept at least that long…

Setting up an Association in France

Riviera Reporter | Jan 23, 2011
Make it official As we wrote a few issues back, Kate Palthey set up her own 1901 association - Nourir les Enfants Haiti - to facilitate donations for her daughter's Haiti Roof Project. While it's possible to set up an association in France without…

Canned music and SACEM, the French performing rights agency

Riviera Reporter | Jan 23, 2011
Music, they say, is the food of love and, we suppose, of sex... and also of shopping. More thought goes into choosing the tracks you hear at the supermarket than you might think. According to retail experts, music with a slow beat gets people buying…
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