This was supposed to be a post about how easy we were finding the whole process of registering the car with French plates. First we collected the necessary paperwork, then we went to the Sous-Préfecture in Limoux, which is basically an administrative office similar to a town council office back in England, where we were given a list of documents and told to go to the Service des Impôts des Particuliers de Limoux (SIP), a short walk away, leaving not more than 20 minutes later with the paperwork we needed to take to the main Prefecture in Carcassone. All set, it seemed. Could it really be so easy? The next day, today, we picked DD up from the Maternelle and headed up to the main Prefecture in Carcassone to submit the forms and pay the fee, curious about how we would get on but optimistic that everything was in order. Then this happened:
Which roughly translates as: The carte gris desk is closed this afternoon, so you can’t get one unless you are paying by cheque. Marvellous. Since we don’t (currently) have a cheque book with our bank account that was pretty much that. We laughed. It was all going so well!
But it wasn’t all bad. It was our first time visiting Carcassone so we walked around for a while and stumbled upon the large ice rink and modest Christmas market. DD enjoyed watching the ice skaters and was very happy to be given a sweet treat as we walked past Santa, as sweets are usually banned.
After a short walk around we decided to try our luck back at the Prefecture and trying to take advantage of our immigrant status by playing dumb about the notice in the hope that at least we’d get the paperwork done. As it turned out the guy on the desk was more than helpful and, after explaining that we couldn’t pay today, checking and making copies of our documents so returning on a future date would be a relatively quick and easy process. So we’re going up tomorrow.
Whether we end up registering the vehicle or not remains to be seen as we are not at all sure how much it will cost, and that will be the determiner. We’ve gone ahead with this on the basis of our friends registering their car for about 500 euros, but that was a few years ago and now there’s an eco-tax payable on first registration of a vehicle. We can’t work out whether that means first registration in France or first registration wherever that happened to be. According to an online calculator that could mean the difference between 400 and 1,400 euros! If the cost is too high we just won’t do it and are back to selling up and buying a secondhand car here. It’s so confusing!!