Quick question, we plan to move over to France in the near future ie when our house sells & would love to be able to keep our campervan. We have heard that taxing and MOT is relatively easy but insurance for RHD is not! Any advice from others who have experienced this would be gratefully received.
A few random comments:
Personally I think all the stuff you hear about French insurers making any difference between LHD and RHD, is an urban myth. As long as you have got it registered in France on French plates, which is obligatory if you live in France, the fact of it being RHD is of no interest to them. That is my experience at least.
AFAIK the only “MOT” related difference for campervans (in France it’s called a CT and you have it done every 2 years) is that you also need a habitation check by a specialist firm.
There is no annual road tax in France, you pay a one-off fee when you first register it.
If it’s a modern van built / converted by a mainstream manufacturer you shouldn’t have much trouble getting it registered in France. If it’s an older van, or a home conversion, it might be more complicated.
France is a great place for camping cars - enjoy!
I was cheered by your point about RHD/LHD but the reg’ing of a self-build Ah! Anna - there’s the rub … My understanding is that they are Very Picky about this.
Anyone who has been thu’ it, I’d be very grateful for how it went.!
It’s true about campers and France. I am amazed that even the smallest villages have a few parking places reserved for campers. At this place I had difficulty deciding which way round gave the better view. So here’s both.
What sort of camper van is it??
Home-build or mainstream manufacturer… and which year was it built???
It’s a Peugeot Autocruise Rythm 2012.
For insurance speak to @fabien
How about a certificate of conformity ??? just a thought.
What is a certificate of conformity? Where would we get that please?
Provided by the Manufacturer… a vehicle built in 2012 would (presumably) have met all the EU requirements and thus carry/provide such a certificate.
Worth asking wherever you bought the vehicle from… and/or the manufacturer.
You’ll need conformity (one way or another) in order to Register the vehicle in France.
The problem is that the UK has very few regs on van conversions but France does, mainly safely related, and they are very specific. For instance there are specified minimum distances between different elements of the van, so if your build doesn’t meet the normes then you would have to literally rebuilt it to make it conform.
There is an organisation that offers a paid service to inspect your campervan and give you a report on exactly what would need to be done if you want to register it in France, and they’ll also guide you through the paperwork, arranging an inspection etc. There’s no way round it really because once it’s of an age to need a CT, a CT station won’t test a vehicle that has unofficial modifications. Unless you are very attached to your van you probably won’t want the hassle. Sorry.
I have a friend who had a standard factory converted Romahome built on a Citroen C15, they were mainstream vehicles in the UK but he couldn’t get it registered in France.
Thank you, I’ll have a look in our paperwork, bought the van June 2018.
Thank you we’ve used Fabien for medical insurance quotes, will give him an email re vehicle insurance.
Well, I am attached to it. But as I built it, I can unbuild it and build it again how they tell me I must. It’s actually not that complicated, internally. I’m not averse to doing some major revisions. It would end up better! Rebuilds usually do. In fact, among self-builders it is acknowledged that they are never completed.
I may be better off starting from scratch with a FR reg panel van and putting it together in stages as per the regs, as they are handed down from the mountain-top. This would get round the prob of having a GB reg vehicle but not being able to drive it.
You are almost right about regs for vans in the UK. It would be more accurate to say there are none. A self-build will pass the MoT if it satisfies the mechanical and emission requirements for its class of vehicle. They don’t care a hoot what’s inside.
Same with boats. In UK there is no mandatory registration of seagoing vessels under a certain length - 24 metres! And there is no certification as to its fit-out, condition or anything simlar. A Brit can indeed go to sea in a sieve.
And our mariner needs no certificates of salty ability. As for the rules about certain classes of vessel being restricted to certain distances off-shore and whether at day or night! Crikey! There are in France! Remember Trafalgar.
For British sailors the RYA and DoT have arranged ‘The International Certificate of Competence’ as a placatory gesture towards our more nautically mimsy neighbours. It was too rough to do man overboard when I took mine.
At my boatyard I did once refuse to relaunch a bloke’s rat-infested tub on the grounds that his proposed trip down the Tamar, out of Plymouth Sound, round The Lizards and Land’s End to the Bristol Channel was only going to result in the RNLI being called out - probably before he reached Looe.
We had to bring it ashore in the first place because a seacock came away when my engineer touched it. We were stood looking at a fountain 2 feet high of the Tamar where the Tamar didn’t oughta be. But, rat-infested tub or no, he was entitled to go anywhere he pleased, for as long as it would float.
Here is a link to a photocopy of the 2007 normes which will give you an idea of how detailed the requirements are. It covers virtually everything, for instance glancing at it just now I happened to notice that all furniture units must have rounded corners not square corners!
You would need to check for any changes since this was published. AFAIK the only publication currently available from AFNOR (the French standards organisation) containing these normes is priced at nearly 300€ so although this photocopy isn’t great quality, it is valuable!
How’s your French? If you need any help with the translation, as a fellow camping-cariste I’d be happy to help (specific bits, I hasten to add, not the whole thing!).
Anna, thanks. I am most grateful. I will consult you if I run into difficulties. My ex-secretary at my boatyard is bi-lingual so although she might not know camper van technical phraseology - great with boaty stuff tho’ - we should be OK.
Rounded corners! I almost had kenipshens! You will see from the photo why.
But then I thought my cabinets could have some rounded corners added … I already did to the bottom corner of the unit to the left of the side door because it is indeed very painful to run a shoulder into it.
But such a level of beaurocratic concern for our welfare with things we fabricate for our own use is astonishing.
When Pedro Almodovar put these words into the mouth of Marisa Paredes I had to freeze the image. I then made a calendar with this picture for every month. Because it’s true!
I am reminded - once again - of the words of Douglas Hurd, then a cabinet minister. He was a Europhile but on the condition that the EU “did not engage with every jot and tittle of our lives”.
Sadly, the recent words of mon ami French Franck, on the very topic of my van, are coming truer by the day - “France is a very regulated society”.
Well, thank goodness for that! So much better than the chaos of the UK. All that turmoil and stress…give me France any day.
But did the EU oblige the UK to adopt these normes? No.
France’s regulations on many things, from campervan conversions to workers rights, go way beyond EU normes. Did the EU make France lower its standards? No.
The British hangup over being ruled by Brussels is based on ignorance and hostility imho.
We brought our RHD Burstner moho over with us when we moved last year and managed to get it registered in France without any problem at all. Luckily for us, Burstner were able to supply us with a “whole body” Certificate of Conformity which was accepted by the French authorities without question. Check your vehicle documents - you may already have a CoC. If not, contact Autocruise and ask if they can supply one - but stress that you need a “whole body” CoC (otherwise you’ll have to ask Peugeot for a separate one for the cab/chassis!). If , for any reason, you can’t get said CoC, you’ll need to have the vehicle inspected by DREAL who will tell you what you what, if any, modifications they’ll require you to make in order to make it conform - be warned, this can be HUGELY expensive and very time-consuming! You can register it here with a UK MOT, as long as it has at least six months validity but you’ll need to get a CT done as soon as it’s registered in order to drive on French roads legally. We had no problems getting insurance - it actually worked out a lot cheaper than we’d been paying in Northern Ireland tho’ you may find it more expensive than in England. There’s no annual road tax to be paid, just a one-off registration fee - in our case, that equated to just one year’s VED but in your case, with a 2012 vehicle, you’ll have to pay an additional “malus” tax - it shouldn’t be too much as it’s levied on a sliding scale downwards, depending on the age of the vehicle - those aged 10 years plus don’t pay this. If you need any further info, don’t hesitate to ask.
Nice to hear a positive story about UK motor homes…