In France, there are a total of 34,968 municipalities as of January 1, 2020, and even more municipal decrees.

A municipal decree is a text reporting a unilateral administrative decision, taken by the mayor. The latter can indeed take “orders within the framework of his police powers and within the framework of the competences which were delegated to him at the beginning of his mandate by the municipal council”, specifies the official site of the local authorities.

But the city councilor cannot do anything, in theory. He must indeed justify his decisions according to “the legal and factual considerations which make it possible to understand the decision taken”, one can still read on the administrative site.

However, this slightly autocratic system has given rise, over the years, to certain surprising rules, often taken by elected officials in a humorous or provocative tone.

Ban on dying, derogation for Santa Claus… Discover in the following slideshow the 9 most comical municipal decrees in France.

Municipal decrees: what do we risk if we do not respect them?

Municipal by-laws must be posted or published regularly, so that the public is informed. Most are also available on the community’s website.

The mayor also specifies, in his text, the way in which he wishes these to be carried out. It is generally up to the municipal police to ensure that they are respected.

Because anyone who violates a municipal by-law is liable to a fine.

Since February 2022, the sanctions in this area have also been tightened. From now on, “the violation of the prohibitions or the breach of the obligations enacted by the decrees and police orders are punished by the fine provided for by a 2nd class contravention, that is to say a maximum of 150 euros (instead of of the 38 euros for the 1st class fine)”, specifies the Gazette des communes.

Better to stay informed…