Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.


Daily Life



Moving Planner

Q & A

Reading List


Travel Planner

Expat Store



Driving License



Guide France


Learn French


Tax Services


ForumRead Message

Subject: I own a home in France, but can't own a car??
Date: Monday, April 17, 2006
Name: Destia
Message: We own a home in Normandy and stay there for a month or 2 a year. When we went to pick up a new car we had purchased, we were told we could not buy it without a carte grise and could certainly not insure it. A neighbor rescued us and now insures it for us. We would like to relieve him of this burden. We understand that if we lived in other areas of France, insuring and owning it would be no problem. Any idea of how to handle this situation would be appreciated.

Replies Posted 5.

Name Barbara White
Message I am moving to France in Sept to live in the Dordogne. Can I buy a car for cash as soon as I arrive? I am worried about transport as I have been told I cannot buy one until I have a utility bill. Is that correct? Thanks. Babs

Name Samantha
Message You might find this webpage helpful, it has a list of everything you need to buy a car in Normandy:

Name Destia
Message Yes, I was confused. I do realize that the Carte Grise has to be in the car at all times and the man who owns the car for us has it in the car. The problem is that we want to officially buy it from him...I guess as a used car. We have some utility bills in our name which are mailed to us in the don't have our french address on them. Do you think they insist in having them sent to a mail box in France? We also have a card which shows that we pay for Liabilite Civile. We were under the impression that in Normandy we would have to demonstate that we had a job and a residence card. Thank you, Peter, for pointing out that we might not have to be a "tax residence". We also know that the different "Departements" in France each have their own rules. We will check again.

Name Peter
Message Hi

I think there is some confusion here.

The carte grise is legal title to the vehicle. You are entitled to it, and can't sell without it.

In my area (Herault / Gard), you have to demonstrate residence (utility bills !), not be tax resident (6months+).

There are many "extended stay, but not tax resident" expats who keep cars for their visits. Most arrive by low cost flights, because it is much cheaper than driving down.

I think you need to work with the dealer again.


Name Samantha
Message Where did you buy the car from? Is it brand new? The owner is supposed to supply the carte grise (the title) at the sale, it's against the law not to. You need to go back and talk to whoever you bought it from. Once you have the title, you will need to go to the préfecture and exchange it for a new one, same as in the US.

If they didn't give it to you and told you you had to get one on your own, it sounds like something fishy is going on, or like the car was stolen.

Sign-up for the FREE Americans in France newsletter.
Just type in your e-mail address and click 'Subscribe'.






Search Site

Travel Store


Auto Rentals



Phone Card



Terms &

Terms of Service


RSS Feed

Support this Site


Follow me
on Twitter.

Americans in France

Promote Your Page Too