It wasn’t so hard.

All we had to do was go into the Tourist Information Office in Bergerac, get directions for the Préfecture and pick up a form.

Which had to be completed and submitted along with another form from the Hôtel des Impôts, on the other side of town. (“Impôt” is French for “tax”. I love the idea of a hotel for taxes. Gives you the impression you can check in to pay any time you like.)

And a valid Contrôle Technique (if you’re British, the French equivalent of an MOT).

Which necessitated a rendez-vous (meeting) with our local Renault garage, a good 300 metres (yards) from our house.

Where our car got a “CT” sticker on its windscreen, and an invitation to return in two years for another one. (I have no idea how much this cost, as the garage seems unwilling to give us a bill.)

Which meant I could go back to the Préfecture and hand over the completed form I got from them. And the one from the Tax Hotel. And the CT. And my passport. My proof of address (this is called a “Justificative de Domicile” – with a soft “J” – took me about a week to say it – you try). And the British Registration papers. And the car’s first registration paper, which was from the Charente, just North of the Dordogne.

All of which was carefully photocopied and handed back to me, along with my Carte Grise (French registration) tantalisingly partially filled out.

Then I waited.

Until someone called me over to say that the Préfecture in Charente had no idea the car had been taken out of the region, let alone the country.

I should return when this was sorted out.

Which I did. And, after handing over the same documents for further photocopying, walked away with a completed Carte Grise – and the impression it takes 48 hours to make a number plate.

Fortunately, as I picked up the daughter from school and mentioned my success, another English parent said I had to have the number plate made within 48 hours. Or face a fine.

Needful to say, I went to a garage near our house and had the plates made. Which took about 48 seconds.

I’m glad I went.

Turns out the woman that works there is our neighbour from where we’re going to live. What seems more bizarre is that she didn’t know Dominique – the previous owner.

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