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Right-hand drive car in France - do-able or annoying?

(16 Posts)
EmmaNicole Wed 22-Jun-11 20:15:30

I'm moving to France in a few weeks and want to take my car with me (don't want to have to fork out for a new one, and don't want the hassle of selling) but just how inconvenient will it be driving a right-hand drive car in France? I've found it fine during 2 week holidays but know it could be a different kettle of fish when there permanently. I would value your experiences.... Thx

Bonsoir Wed 22-Jun-11 21:00:23

No problem at all.

jenpet Wed 22-Jun-11 21:14:31

It is fine - unless you need to overtake! wink
But you need to be aware you have a limited amount of time driving with foreign plates before you need to re-register it with a French numberplate.

natation Wed 22-Jun-11 21:54:49

No problem at all. Do the Maths though, long term over a few years. Think about insurance costs, fuel costs and tax costs. Re-plating will involve changing the lights, unless you have a new car where lights can be changed at the touch of a button.

MmeLindor. Wed 22-Jun-11 23:16:29

Doable but really depends on where you will be living. Of you are very rural where you need to overtake on small country roads then a LHD car is much better and safer.

Them there is the run around the car when you go into a car park where you have to take a ticket. Same at motorway toll barriers.

If you are definitely staying there then I would sell and buy RHD. For a few months it would be ok.

thumbwitch Thu 23-Jun-11 04:18:55

Only problem really is overtaking on single carriageway roads with no one else in the car. If you have someone in the passenger seat, not such an issue. Oh and MmeL has just thrown up the one about ticket machines/toll booths - so two problems.

I agree - if you're going to live out there, flog your car and get a LHD one instead.

thumbwitch Thu 23-Jun-11 04:20:03

Another thing to consider, not sure if it's still much of a problem in France, but there were problems a while back of foreign cars being at higher risk of carjacking - so probably better to blend in.

Portofino Thu 23-Jun-11 09:25:06

Bear in mind you will probably need to "import" it to be able to get french insurance. No problem for driving really - the only awkward thing I remember was the drive through at McDonalds blush

Portofino Thu 23-Jun-11 09:26:16

We kept our UK car for a year then sold it and bought a Belgian one.

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 23-Jun-11 12:05:13

I'm doing it the other way round. I am taking our Swiss registered car and will re register it in England.
It will be annoying for entry tickets and stuff like that, but it is so reliable and big we don't want to flog it.
DH will be on his bicycle until he joins us.

dilbertina Thu 23-Jun-11 13:35:03

We brought 2 cars with us. I don't find driving a problem at all.
You will need to register and insure it though...and that was a bit of a palava. You need to get a certificate of conformity from manufacturer (try and get this in UK before you leave) and as others have said swap the lights, Dh did this himself. Then you'll need to get the equivalent of MOT done and be prepared to throw yourself on the mercy of the local officialdom to get proper papers (they may try telling you that your model car doesn't exist a few times...) Good luck!

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 23-Jun-11 15:00:44

Kreecher - it is a nightmare doing that. We did it and it took the best part of a year to get the bloody thing registered. The most difficult thing is insurance - getting it insured before you register it in UK - expect it to cost $$$. Also you may (or may not) be required to change the speedometer - we got conflicting advice from the DVLA and didn't, but other people we know who imported vehicles had to. This also costs $$$$.

It also took us forever to get a certificate from Honda to say that the car was EU compliant - this and the insurance issue were the biggest headache, as our Belgian insurer would no longer insure us as we weren't living in Belgium. And no UK insurer will insure a car which is not registered in UK (you need to find one who will insure on the chassis no - they are like hen's teeth and will only do it for about a week, to give you time to get the car registered, and you have to hope that there are no hold ups and that you can get the thing registered in a week). And insuring a LHD car once you've registered it, is not without its problems either. Most insurance websites won't do LHD online - you need to ring up and ring round. I wouldn't do it again.

BizzeeBee Thu 23-Jun-11 16:08:19

We have had a RHD car in France for 4 years. For the motorway tolls we use the telepeage to avoid the ticket issue. For car park tickets either lean over, or if you are really brave we have one of those mobility aid grabber arms in the car to do the tickets. That takes some practice though!

We reregistered the car which was a hassle but we got there in the end. We have kept our UK lights incase we take the car back to the UK.

We've recently taken delivery of our first RHD car so it's a shock working out how to drive it!

EmmaNicole Thu 23-Jun-11 21:16:56

Thanks for all your advice...looks as though we'll keep it to be going on with and see how we manage. I'd heard that re-registering it is a nightmare!! BizeeBee, you've tickled me with the mobility grabber arm!!! Ingenious.

Canella Mon 27-Jun-11 05:40:55

I've been driving my right hand drive since we moved here 2 years ago. I agree it can be trickier for overtaking but i've got used to the car park ticket thing (and i'm rarely alone in the car!)
We just couldnt sell it before we moved which is why we had to bring it with us- the registration was a bit laborious and it was costly to have the lights changed.

The problem is now that we are stuck with this car till it dies. We cant sell it here and would lose money selling it in the UK since its got continental plates and lights. But its only 6 yrs old so its got a bit of life yet!

Be prepared tho for locals to stare at you like you've come from Mars - a RHD seems to be a rarity round here!!

rushingrachel Tue 28-Jun-11 13:22:12

I lived in Paris between 2003 and 2006 and kept my trusty UK registered Nissan micra all the time without changing anything. I just got AXA insurance with full time European cover from a firm of insurance brokers in Swansea. Never broken into, never stopped by the police, and preferred driving it. Maybe I was just lucky.

I would certainly not go through the bother of reregistering thought. Bound to be long and frustrating and expensive. I have a company car in Belgium and got used to driving the LHD car quite quickly, even in Brussels which isn't the easiest.

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