Today we bought a car, a pug (Puegeot) 406. It is 12 years old with around 200 000km on the clock (which is typical of French cars). It cost us 1800 Euro ($2300) after car purchase, transfer fees and third party insurance. We had budgeted up to $10000 on cars/ hire cars, so this was a real bonus. When we arrived in town we mentioned to our local contact that we were going to buy a car. He said he knew of an ex-pat Pom (Theresa) who had one for sale. Theresa had just bought a new car and was trying to sell her old one. She also had wifi problems, which meant that we may be of mutual benefit to each other.

Buying a car in France is a bit more complex than in Australia. You need to prove your identity (passport), need to be a French resident (visa), proof of address (rental contract) and then sign about a dozen forms, organise insurance and roadside assistance. Luckily Theresa was there to help us through all that.

Not our car, but same colour and model.

We have met a number of poms and aussies in town who knew of Theresa and her car and confirmed that it would be a good buy. So we set up a time with Theresa to meet her at the local Peogeot garage (where the car was being sold on consignment). Indeed it was a good car. A lot of kms but it ran smoothly, straight and plenty of power. Body wise it was in excellent condition, with obvious signs of being well looked after.

We took it for a test spin with the local garage owner. He was a pleasant guy who tried his best to communicate with us. Surprisingly we got the gist of what he was saying. He had a bit of a panic attack when I held the steering wheel by one hand. “non, non” he said while raising both his hands.

We got back to the garage and said “Nous voudrons l’achater”. – We would like to buy it!  He understood that, and also when the topic of “l’argent” (the money) came up. Theresa was with us and guided us through the process, which can be quite convoluted if you cannot speak the lingo. Theresea is English but speaks reasonably fluent French. An Australian couple we met in town (doing the same thing as us) spent over three months trying to finalise their paperwork for their car purchase. We took one afternoon. Theresa then took us down to the local AXA office and organised the compulsory third party insurance. We then went back to her place and had celebratory drinks (as you do in France) and then fixed her wifi. It seems everyone in this village has the same wifi /internet provider, who gives them a hexadecimal wifi password of 30 characters long, but doesn’t actually tell them what it is. They don’t know how to log into their routers and find out what it is or how to change it. Could be a lucrative sideline here.

Anyway, we went left the car at the garage when we went to Theresa’s for drinks. When we got back to the garage, we tried to start the car, but it had a flat battery! Merde! We left the car and will go back in the morning to get it going.

We now have a set of wheels for the year. Next step is to get a bike carrier and then bikes. We had booked a hire car for three weeks, but know we can take it back two weeks early, saving us around $400! Now all that is left is for Paige to re-learn how to drive a manual car on the right hand side of the road!!.

Selling a car can also be quite an involved process. The car has to have a roadworthy check done within 4 months of the date of sale and any defects have to be rectified before it can be sold. On a 13 year old car that may prove to be a tad expensive. I think we will just leave it at the carpark of Charles de Gaul Aeroport as when we fly out out the end of the year 🙂

Au revoir, Rod