We migrated most of our automation from ARM Templates to Bicep in the recent months and things have been good so far. We ran into an issue deploying a bicep file containing French characters using Azure CLI. The message was: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0x82 in position 1197: invalid start byte

The problem

I usually write things in English when I code so this was a non-issue for us until... We wanted to write non-compliant messages in French in our Azure Policy. Here is an example that contains the French character é and reproduce my error:

targetScope = 'managementGroup'

var policyAssignmentName = substring(replace(guid('testassignment-#01'), '-', ''), 0, 23)

resource policyAssignment 'Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments@2020-09-01' = {
  name: policyAssignmentName
  properties: {
    policyDefinitionId: '/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/0473574d-2d43-4217-aefe-941fcdf7e684'
    displayName: 'AzCLI and Bicep encoding bug'
    description: 'AzCLI and Bicep encoding bug'
    enforcementMode: 'Default'
    parameters: {
      listOfAllowedLocations: {
        value: [
        message: 'La région qui a été choisi n\'est pas valide...'

As you can see, I get the error mentioned at the top when invoking the following command:

az deployment mg create --management-group-id experimental --location canadaeast -f .\azcli-bicep-bug.bicep

'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0x82 in position 1179: invalid start byte

The error is that the character é is badly handled. UTF-8 is used instead of Unicode in the Bicep wrapper _bicep.py.

An issue has been filled on the GitHub repo of Azure CLI #18029

The workaround

So... this is not working as a one-time operation, calling az deployment. Bicep can convert to and from ARM Templates. What I ended up doing until this issue is fixed is:

Generate an ARM template from my bicep file and deploy that ARM template. Two steps instead of one.

az bicep build -f .\azcli-bicep-bug.bicep

az deployment mg create --management-group-id experimental --location canadaeast -f .\azcli-bicep-bug.json

Hope it can help some of you!