How simple is it to buy and insure a car in France for new Expats?

We are moving to Pau from the UK to live permanently in 7 weeks time.
I was originally going to take my car and worry about changing it later, but is this the best option. Should I sell in the UK now and buy a car when we arrive in France. As we are moving to central Pau, we will be able to survive for a few weeks if needed without a car. Any thoughts or advice anyone?

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Yes, go for it. We off-loaded our UK car before coming to France (gave it to my son) and managed to buy a French registered LHD car in the UK before coming out here. Best choice ever. Now, 9 years later, we still have the French car and found the transition from driving on the right much easier and safer to achieve in a LHD car,

Insurance was also a breeze; much easier if already on the French register. There are a number of English speaking agents if the language troubles you.


We bought a very well-maintained second hand car off a local garage forecourt recently, it took about ten minutes to do the paperwork and arrange the registration, and the immatriculation document in our name popped into our letter box within three days. Insurance was arranged by our bank (Credit Agricole Normandie) in ten minutes too.

Second hand cars in France aren’t cheap, but buying one here saves a heap of fuss and bother.