The cost of registering a car in France

If you either buy a car in France or bring over a foreign car and register it in France you will have to pay a registration fee for the carte gris - the registration documents. And how much you will pay varies from place to place.

The cost of registering a car in France
Photo: AFP

The French government has just released the revised costs for 2020, and how much you pay depends on the region of France you live in.

To be the legal owner of a car in France you need the carte gris – the vehicle registration documents.

READ ALSO The six month rule and other things to know about bringing a car to France

If you're buying either a new or second hand car in France you need to register it after the purchase to make sure it is legally yours.

If you buy it from the garage they will often do this for you, but if you are making a private sale you will need to do the paperwork. And it's important that you do because not having a carte gris meas the car is not officially registered to you and this will invalidate your insurance.

The same applies to people who bring a foreign registered vehicle over to France.

If you bring a foreign car over and you are resident in France, after six months you must change the registration to French.

This rule is widely ignored or misunderstood, but nevertheless it is the case and if you don't comply with it it gives your insurance company a reason not to pay out if you have an accident.

Once the car is registered you will get the carte gris to make you the legal owner of the vehicle in France.

And of course you have to pay when you register new ownership.

Unlike the UK, there is no annual road tax to pay in France, but you will have to pay when you change ownership and the cost can be quite substantial.

And it also varies from region to region, as part of the total cost is a regional tax.

For most people the cost is between €250 and €350, but it depends on the type of vehicle you are registering and where you register it.

Whether it is petrol or diesel, emissions rate and engine size all affect the price.

The French government has just published the revised list of 2020 regional tax levels and they are;

Auverge-Rhône-Alpes – €43

Bourgogne-France-Comté – €51

Bretagne – €51

Centre-Val-de Loire – €49.80

Grand-Est – €42

Hauts-de-France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais) – €35.40

Hauts-de-France (Picardie) – €33

Île-de-France – €46.15

Nouvelle Aquitaine – €41

Normandie – €35

Occitanie – €44

Pays-de-la-Loire – €48

So bad news for people in Brittany and Bourgogne-France-Comté but other factors like the power of the vehicle, its age and emissions status all affect the cost too.

But there is good news for people who drive a hybrid or electric vehicle – these are exempt from regional taxes so the cost of registration will be significantly lower.

For an online calculator that will tell you how you will have to pay – click here.

READ ALSO What are the rules for driving in France after Brexit?

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.