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France - Car Purchase and Sale


Used car - If you decide to buy a second-hand car, you must obtain a document called 'contrôle technique'. If the car is over four years old, it  must pass a technical control test. This technical test is compulsory for private and commercial vehicles under 3.5 tons and over four years old. It must be done less than 6 months prior to the selling date.

To get a better idea of the market prices of cars, I advise you to buy the magazine "Argus" which lists the value of all makes of cars or verify online at : (you will be required to pay a nominal amount for the search).

New Cars - Car dealers or online car dealers are the  starting point to purchase a new car. To register a new car, you will need the following documents:
- Proof of residence and identity
- The 'cession' certificate
- The 'carte grise'

The majority of car dealers will do all the paperwork for you! 


If  you want to sell your car in France, you need to have the following documents ready:

  • a certification de cession from the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture or the Police Station in three copies (or to obtain a copy click here), which both parties must sign and retain a copy each, the last copy is for the 'Préfecture'
  • a certificat de non gage (or certificats de situation), obtained from the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. This document proves that the seller is entitled to transfer the property of the vehicle. It can be obtained online by providing the VIN numer fo the car at the following address. For the web address click here or cut and paste the address below in your browser and follow the instructions on the web page (all in french), rubrique 'Vos demarches';
    Online you need to provide the following information contained in your Carte grise:
    Identification de la carte grise (Car title identification, Licence Plate)

    Numéro d'immatriculation (Date de première immatriculation du véhicule ou date de première mise en circulation) First registration date of vehicle or first date of introduction to circulation of the vehicle

    Nom et prénom ou raison sociale du titulaire (Last name and Name or Company name of owner)

    Identification du véhicule
    Numéro de série du véhicule (VIN NUMBER)
  • certificat de contrôle technique - proves that car passed vehicle inspection. It has to be doneevery two years and the technical control document is obtained from one of the authorized centers (see website:

On the 'carte grise' (car registration document) the seller must sign and write 'vendu le"' followed by the date. Then he must cut off the upper right-hand corner and send it to the Préfecture together with the certificates.
After sending all these documents to the 'Prefecture', the new owner will receive a new 'carte grise' in his/her name.

To advertise the sale of your car you can:
- put an add in the newspaper or online (,,,,
- park your car near a traffic circle and put a
'A VENDRE' (for sale) sign, with a contact  number and price
- check if through your company you may advertise internally
- advertise for free in Paguro!