Contrôle technique: How to save money on your compulsory French car inspection

The technical inspection of vehicles - France's equivalent of an MOT - must be done every two years, but prices vary widely from place to place.

Contrôle technique: How to save money on your compulsory French car inspection
Photo: AFP

Now the French Finance Ministry has put together an online price comparison site to enable motorists to find the cheapest côntrole technique near them.

The site asks for your vehicle type (car, van, camper van etc), type of fuel (petrol or diesel) and location before showing you a list of nearby garages and their rates. You can find the site here.

Prices for the inspection can vary by around €50 from place to place, so it's well worth shopping around.

The vehicle check must be done every two years or your car will not be road legal (although an extension was given for people whose côntrole technique ran out during lockdown) and in 2018 the standards for the inspection were tightened up.

The new tests take longer than the old ones and are consequently more expensive – usually between €65 and €110 depending on where you are. And then you face having to pay for repairs if a fault is found.

The new côntrole technique tests 134 things about the vehicle and includes 'critical faults' that “constitute a direct and immediate danger for road safety or that have a serious impact on the environment”.

The environmental aspect of the new inspection has worried many drivers of older cars, but mechanics says this will only be a problem for old cars that are badly maintained and highly polluting.

For full details on what the inspection involves, click here.


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What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

Under French law, dogs, cats and ferrets that are kept as pets must be identified and registered on a national database.

What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

The animal must be identifiable by a tattoo or microchip – the most common method – registered on the Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database. 

All dogs aged four months and over, cats over seven months old, and ferrets born after November 1st, 2021, that are over seven months old that were, must be tagged in this way. This also offers pet owners peace of mind as it means they can be easily identified and returned if they go missing, as pets sometimes do.

READ ALSO Do you really need a licence if your cat has kittens in France?

The procedure to insert the microchip, or ink the tattoo, must be carried out by an approved professional. The procedure should be done by a vet and costs between €40 and €70.

For anyone who has travelled to France from another country with a pet, the animal will already be microchipped – and on the register. But if the animal joined a family while in France, a trip to the vet may be in order.

READ ALSO Paperwork and shots: How to bring a pet to France from the USA

Once the animal is registered on the database, the owner will receive a letter from I-CAD, along with a credit card-sized document listing the registered animal’s details, including its home address.

It is up to the owner to ensure the details remain correct, including notifying the database operators of any change of address. This can be done via the I-CAD website. Alternatively, you could use the Filalapat app (download for free here), or the more traditional postal service.

As well as declaring any change of address, you should also inform the database operators if you are giving up the animal, or if it dies.

Under a 2021, first-time buyers of cats or dogs have to sign a ‘certificate of commitment and understanding’ before they are allowed to purchase a pet. 

After the signed document is delivered to the authorities, future owners have seven days to change their mind – the idea is to prevent people from ‘impulsively’ buying pets only to abandon them later.