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If you were us, would you buy a vehicle in France or the UK?

2586 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  suninspired
Hi, again. We have peculiar circumstances and are hoping that maybe ...just maybe... someone has similar experience and can advise.

Our situation is different to most in that as Brit/Canadians we're looking to move from Canada to France. We intend buying a motorhome to tour France and get a feel for whereabouts we'd like to settle. But to purchase and register a motorhome in France we'd need to first have a physical address (which would put the cart before the horse, so to speak). Is there a way we could purchase and register a motorhome in France without having a physical address? Obviously, the circumstances would be the same if it were just a car we were wanting to buy, so if the motorhome issue confuses folks, simply think "car" instead of "motorhome".

We could, instead, purchase a LHD motorhome in the UK using our UK address (property owned together with my folks who live there). And then we could come across to France and tour as planned. But that means duplicate costs of registering in the UK and then again later in France. And it also means being restricted to less choice in LHD Euramobil, Hymer, Rapido, Pilote etc vehicles available in the UK.

Another obstacle is the conversion of our Canadian driving licences. France doesn't recognise British Columbia licences for reciprocation, but we could hand in our licences in the UK and get UK licences (and later convert to French). France recognises South African drivers' licences for reciprocation but ours have now expired since living in Canada.

So what would you do?
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Hi, regarding the vehicle I think you've already answered your own question..

If you can use a UK address then buy something in the UK. The only 'sticky' situation may be finding suitable insurance cover (most insurance companies have a time limit on mainland european cover) - registering in the UK is a formality, but re-registering in France can sometimes be a bit of a palava, but not too difficult if you have some patience - the French system is full of red tape.

Good luck!
Any chance you can claim to be a Roma (gypsy)? (ok, just kidding)

I'm assuming you have UK nationality, so don't have the visa issue to worry about. (Since you'd need to have a physical address in France to get your visa, too.)

If there is no reciprocity for your Canadian licenses, you either need to make the swap for UK licenses or you take classes and take the driving tests in France.

You may find it rather difficult to maneuver in France without having a fixed address. I can think of so many things that require it - including renting or buying a home once you decide where you want to settle. You'll need an address to open a bank account and quite possibly to get a French driving license (even if you're just trading in your UK licenses).

It might be easier to set up camp in the UK at your property there, and make an extended "holiday" trip to France to determine where you'd like to settle (at least for the first few months).
and the steering wheel will be on the wrong side
Thanks Gapster. Yeah, it looks like the easiest route will be to swop licences in the UK as well as buy and register the motorhome there too. There are a number of insurance companies that will insure for periods up to 365 days away from the UK. Safeguard and Comfort are two of them.

Bev, you're quite right in advising we make an "extended holiday trip" to France before buying. Travelling leisurely around France in a motorhome (gypsy-style :D) will hopefully give us a better grass-roots feel for various areas - more so than travelling by car and doing the B&B thing.
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