Exporting a UK-bought LHD car to France

Tracey, a British expat living in Brittany, contacted us to ask the following question: I am thinking of exporting a UK-bought LHD car to France. The car would be registered in Poland. Is this possible? How difficult would it be? EXPORTING A UK BOUGHT LHD CAR TO...

Driving in France

In recent years, travelling to the continent and driving in France has become increasingly easy for Brits. Both the Channel Tunnel and the various ferry companies offer numerous options. We live in Swindon and usually use the Portsmouth - Le Havre crossing. It offers...

Mushroom picking in France

Autumn, mushroom picking season Mid-October is upon us, and autumn is already well on its way... glorious golden colours abound in the countryside. A real feast for the senses: bright yellows, oranges, rich reds and browns so pleasing to the eye. The earthy and musty...

Pineau … or Pinot? Do you know the difference?

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Mushrooming in Monteneuf forest

An unexpected visitor (original post by Nicola) There was a terrific storm yesterday in the Ploërmel area. I had just put another log on the fire this afternoon when there was a knock at the door. Since yesterday was a bank holiday, we were rather startled: generally,...

Peage sign ahead of French toll booths

French Autoroute System

Unlike the UK, France has a large network of autoroutes which require the payment of a toll if you want to use them. The tolls payable aren’t cheap (for example, it’s around 55 Euros to travel between Caen and Bordeaux), but the roads are well maintained, usually quiet, and really do cut journey times. Maximum speed limit is 130km/h, except when it is raining when the speed limit is reduced to 110km/h.

Toll Booth Delays at French Péages

However, in built up areas and during peak periods elsewhere, there can often be very large queues at the toll booths, which can delay an otherwise rapid journey through France. At these toll booths (péages) it’s not always obvious which booth drivers need to go to, which can cause some last minute changes of direction. Some booths take cash, others take cards and cash, and others are for the vehicles that have a transponder (or tag) fitted.

Transponders for fast use of French Toll booths

We’ve often wondered how to make use of the “fast lane” booths, the ones where the barriers are raised without the driver having to hand over any cash, or enter a credit or debit card. These booths generally don’t have as much traffic passing through them, and the vehicles that do use them go through very quickly. Well, now we know…

The vehicles are fitted with transponders, little electronic tags that sit inside the windscreen just behind the rear-view mirror. As a vehicle approaches the barrier, the tag is ‘read’ and the barrier is raised. Payment then comes out of your nominated UK bank account. You can now buy these transponders in the UK for use when you’re in France.

The company that provided them were called Sanef Tolling, who were licenced to supply transponders for light vehicles (not larger vehicles like motorhomes for the time being). This UK company now seems to be offering the electronic tags. There are no toll discounts available, and you have to pay a registration fee, a deposit for the tag, an annual management fee as well as a usage fee for each month that you actually use it (but there is a payment ceiling after 2 months of usage in any year). However, the tag is transferable between vehicles.

I don’t think the convenience of this system outweighs the cost for us – we use toll roads for no more than 6 or 7 days each year, and generally away from the busy areas and outside of peak periods, but I’m sure that this will be useful to a lot of English second-home owners in France.

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