Keeping a car in France


(Anna Watson) #42

I regularly drive both RHD and LHD vehicles, and also mix’n’match which side of the road I’m on, and yes I do regularly get confused and find myself rootling around in the door’s glove box looking for the gearstick, or trying to change gear with the window winder. It happens quite randomly in the middle of a journey, I’ve been getting it right up to that point and suddenly confusion sets in. But it’s no big deal - it makes me laugh at myself.


(Jacky O'Callaghan) #43

As long as it doesn’t happen at the wrong time and causes an accident…


(Sandra Shadrach) #44

No brainer, buy a second hand car in France and you can spend your holiday driving around the local sites and not trying to work out how to get the certificate of conformity! This will also avoid a later holiday being ruined when you arrive to find that your UK car is no longer working and you spend 3 of your 4 weeks waiting for the spare part to arrive from the UK…

Silly things like car parks, toll booths etc are all designed for LHD cars, flipping nuisance if you don’t have one. I had a LHD car in the UK for a while, hubby brought it back from the Middle East, and it was fine if one of the kids was with me, I could get in and out of the Waitrose car park. If just me in the car, I had to get out, walk round and get the ticket and walk back and drive through before it closed again!!! I always felt safe in this as it was a 4WD, and high road position, so it was safe and easy to overtake, even when sitting in the wrong road position, but the thought of driving a standard saloon car on some French roads in a UK car fills me with a certain dread - you come across so many cyclists you need to overtake, that you need excellent visibility on the road ahead…

I also find that I don’t really know my right from my left, nor can I remember whether I should be driving on the right or the left, so my rule is always to get the right car for the country I am in, then as a driver, I sit in the middle of the road, and my passenger by the pavement. Then I get it right, and believe me, when in the WRONG car or the country I am driving in, I have got it wrong more times than I care to admit to!

The upside of second hand cars being more expensive here is that when you come to sell it, you will get more back again!


(Anna Watson) #45

Realistically, I’m trying to think of a situation where changing gear a few seconds later than you normally would, could conceivably cause an accident.


(Teresa Ewart) #47

hello Ashley,
we live here full-time but we have our original vw golf lhd Irish car. we’ve been here 6 years. we bought our car new 12 years ago and i hope we’ll have it forever!
it’s easy to permanently import and use a uk car imo. it is just a process - you follow the boring bureaucratic paper trail. it is not expensive, and it is no different than a french car to keep it here once it’s registered.
first thing to do once you’ve bought it is get a certificate of conformity which is free…
if you’d like, or anyone else who can’t find the info, i’ll happily post the process


(Graham Lees) #48

Maybe that will change after Brexit? I refer to some of the posts made by people wanting to import American cars to France…


(Teresa Ewart) #49

I can’t see how that would make any difference? There’s a point where a car is registered in one country, and is then imported into another. At that point you pay the import duty due and the legality of the car becomes a French issue - insurance, road-worthiness, registered owner.
The fact it is LHD or RHD, and from where it was imported or first registered is irrelevant.
Any-hoo UK-wise it’s simply conjecture as it’ll be another item on the list of "things the UK never thought about when leaving Europe"
dot dot dot !


(stella wood) #50

@Teresa_Ewart

Unfortunately, it is not always a simple matter to import a vehicle into France…from the UK or anywhere else… although I agree LHD or RHD makes no difference… except for lights…

As has been said many times on this forum… it depends on the vehicle itself …


(David Martin) #51

Where a car was first registered is hardly irrelevant. British cars are straightforward to import into France as cars sold in both countries conform to the same EU specifications. Cars built for other markets, eg the USA or the Far East are not treated the same.


(Ashley Clarke) #52

Hi Teresa
If you can post the process, that would be v helpful.
Many thanks

Teresa Ewart
January 6 |

hello Ashley,
we live here full-time but we have our original vw golf lhd Irish car. we’ve been here 6 years. we bought our car new 12 years ago and i hope we’ll have it forever!
it’s easy to permanently import and use a uk car imo. it is just a process - you follow the boring bureaucratic paper trail. it is not expensive, and it is no different than a french car to keep it here once it’s registered.
first thing to do once you’ve bought it is get a certificate of conformity which is free…
if you’d like, or anyone else who can’t find the info, i’ll happily post the process

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(Graham Lees) #53

It is extremely relevant to which many American car owners who have wished to import to France can testify…


(stella wood) #54

It is also very important… where the car was actually built… arrrghh :confounded:


(David Martin) #55

Where the car is built should not matter. It’s the market that it is built for that counts.


(Jonathan Badger) #56

I’m also left handed & can’t agree with this. After the initial learning curve I now don’t have to think about using LHD & my rare need to use a RHD (& drive on the left again) never seems to confuse.

As most of my driving is in a van I would find it very dangerous to have RHD in France - at some acute junctions you don’t get to see a lot through a cab bulkhead or a panel van side. I admit that fully glazed cars are less of an issue but they are still problematic when wishing to overtake when driving on your own, or with a non-driver in the passenger seat.


(Teresa Ewart) #57

apologies of course Graham. Please elaborate!


(Anna Watson) #58

A vehicle made for the US market by definition won’t get a certificate of confirmity to confirm it meets EU normes because obviously it doesn’t, it wasn’t made to. So you would have to have it inspected and that would involve looking at individual components. US standards diverge so widely from EU standards that just about anything could potentially need changing, and realistically not everything can be changed. Emissions are an obvious problem, but even down to the seatbelts and windscreens - US auto glass and other components marked to show they meet EU norms re shattering etc. That’s not to say US standards are necessarily lower, in some cases they’re higher, but the point is that they’re different. Hence the issue of regulatory alignment…


(Graham Roberts) #59

Stella, it is my understanding that the various “lease schemes” available in France are only available to non EU customers. Not sure of the exact reasons, but Americans, Aussies, Sth Africans and Kiwis can use it but not from the UK. I could be corrected of course, but that is my understanding…a very good scheme for people wanting a vehicle for at least 2 months. Full registration and insurance costs are included in the lease price and of course you receive a brand new vehicle to you specs…


(stella wood) #60

Fair enough… I was not aware of that…and I wonder why that would be the case… seems odd… but then, things are not always as we might prefer them to be… :wink:


(Peter Goble) #61

I agree with Stella and Graham about second hand cars, it’s a no-brainer and saves hassles. A local garagiste supplied our car: he knew the provenance and service history and arranged the CT and registration on the spot. The whole transaction from test-drive, through full service and replacing the cam-belt to driving it away, took 24 hours.

The car had done 170,000 km and is 9 years old but in immaculate condition, a Ford C-Max Ghia diesel. It cost us 4,700 Euros and I think it value for money. Similar vehicles in UK are being advertised at similar prices and sometimes more. French owners seem to be much more conscientious about servicing, oil changes, and garaging than in UK too. There are far more older cars on the roads here than in UK, and in better shape.


(Graham Roberts) #62

It is a great scheme for non EU residents and offers better value than the normal rental process.