Buying a car in France

We bought a car in France in July. It’s a peugeot 307. We found it through www.lacentrale.fr. We had to buy a car to go to the Netherlands the first weekend of July. So we were in a hurry and we didn’t have a car to go see other cars. So we were restricted to the surroundings of our place. We found and looked at 2 cars. The funny thing was that both owners gave us a very extensive demonstration of every aspect of the vehicle. Something we weren’t used to in the Netherlands. Down to the very buttons to light a cigarette. Then the bureaucracy began…

When we bought the Peugeot the bureaucracy began. We had to fill in lots of forms. One for the seller one for the vendor and one for the “prefecture”. Some days after I went to the “Sous-Prefecture” of Saint Germain en Laye to get a ” carte grize” (gray card) for our car. In France there is no frequent road tax. They have toll roads (worth their money). The other thing you register a car on your name you have to pay a certain onetime amount. This amount depends on the car (size, engine, pollution etc) and the town you register it. In our case it was 320 euro for the Peugeot 307.

Then after waiting for 40 minutes in line I came to a desk with a lady asking me what I wanted. After telling her she gave me another paper to fill out (the same data as on the ones I filled out before). But I figured this other form would end up at some other place. However when I came to the teller the two form were stapled together. This to me was the ultimate form of bureaucracy. Two forms with exactly the same data stapled together!

Then I needed to check for a new license plate. For this I was directed to some truck. There was an old man in the midst of hundreds of license plates. He spoke in a non understandable French (for me). He asked me something I couldn’t understand. He checked my new “carte grize” and said I didn’t need a new license plate. This is the story how we got our car.