French number plates

24 Replies

Hi, my name is martin. I am moving to France soon and need info on changing my bike over to a French plate, also my 1976 series 111 land rover. They are currently on Irish plates, also any good sites for second hand cars and vans for sale, thanks.

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George Philpott 1385372536

Hi:    Re Bikes:  It is slightly different to cars, and can be quite complicated.

Your best bet to get the latest accurate legal info for bikes is to go to this forum:  (for some reason I can't post links in here)   Sign up to that Forum - it is an English speaking bike forum for bikers in France : mostly Brits but lots of other natonalities as well (there are a few irish members).... You will get heps of info on Biking in France there, plus we do occasional meets as well .  I(when you get on there you'll find me as "Jamstealer").

I sugggest you join that quickly: as bike registration in France is a bit complex: some people find it easier to flog their bike at home and buy another in France.  You will get loads of completely accurate information there.  Plus up to date info on helment laws, and a bit of myth-busting about some of the other laws.   And we have a good link to the French Bike Association (FFMC)

But if If your bike is post 2003 then it is not too complex and you need to get a European Certificate of Conformity (from the manufacturer) , and go to the French Tax office (Centre d'impots) to get a "Quittus Fiscal" which shows you have paid VAT on it at home.   You ma yalso have to go to a dealer for your bike make to get a certificate to say it is legal in France as well (ie European Headlights, and a Km Speedo) .  (my bike doesn't have that problem as it has a digital speedo which I convert to Km with a press of a button, and the headlights dip stright, not left or right).  

There is an additional issue in France which is that they have a top power limit  of 106 BHP.  If you have something with morepower than that you may have to go to a dealer to get the power restricted (most modern bikes get it done by putting a different map in the ECU)

The good thing is that there is no CT (MOT) for bikes in France (at the moment, it changes in 2016, and goes to a 2 yearly CT like the one for cars)

If it is pre-2003, then it is more difficult as the Eurpopean CoC for bikes did not exist before that: and you need to jump through extra hoops to get another certificate from the manufacturers.  Unless it is really old, when you may be able to register it as a "Vehicule de Collection".

Go ask the Bike club, (or mail me for more info)

I suggest you do it quite quickly, as you may need to make a decision about your bike  (whether to bring it, or Sell and buy one in France).    But France is excellent for biking: most drivers are fairly Bike-aware (better than UK), and the roads are really good.


motogp-873641 1385375343

I have registered several cars and bikes (different ages too) and have found no difference in potential complication. Except that a bike does not need a CT which surely makes life easier?

The only issue with bikes, but not a complicated one to deal with, is that there is currently a horsepower limit of 100 BHP and the chances are that this limit is going to be removed within a year or two.

bikeclubfrance is definitly a good website for all bikers and here are a few more........



motogp-873641 1385375475

"The good thing is that there is no CT (MOT) for bikes in France (at the moment, it changes in 2016, and goes to a 2 yearly CT like the one for cars)"

I would be interested to see the source of this information which according to my French biker friends is still a proposal and one which the FFMC have been fighting strongly.

George Philpott 1385375942

FFMC have fought this one but from the latest official Bulletins, it looks 90% inevitable.  (if you know who VVaranoir is, he'll give you the latest info)

George Philpott 1385377578

The European Parliament is voting on a whole raft of vehicle legisalation (including the CT issue)  about now.  FFMC put a last ditch bid to CNSR to get a vote against it in the EP, but since CNSR want it as well, we don't have a huge amount of leverage.

There is huge commercial lobbying going on to get it passed (mainly by BMW and Honda, who between them own the company who will most likely get the contract to do the testing)

Rocketman-579161 1385378629

Interesting concept - setting up a bike CT infrastructure in France. Where are they going to get all the bike qualified testers to do it and how "local" will the test centres be?

I sold my much loved 2300cc Triumph Rocket 3 before coming over as it was proving too difficult to register it here. The 100bhp issue was too big for me as my bike was well tuned and I was not prepared to have the bhp halved. It was also going to cost a lot to have new speedo and headlights fitted and certified by a dealer. If they change the bhp law I may well get another one. You can get stuff like "Tuneboy" which you can use to load your own engine map to restore the bhp but I am not sure how legal that was going to be.

Wher are you going to live? There are number of us Land Rover fanatics here as well as bikers!


the furbo turbo 1385408341

Thanks George, Stephen, Motogp and Rocketman for the prompt replies and valuable info. My wife is English and me Irish although i've been working in London since the age of 14 as a joiner, 44 years old now. We sold up in Peacehaven, East Sussex 7 years ago and moved to Galway in Ireland and built our own house, big mistake, the wife hates the place. Now the sale of our house is underway, the buyer having paid a deposit I can only hope it goes smoth as it can. We are still undecided about where in France, we started looking in Normandy and the likes but now looking half way down the map. I'm trying to keep the budjet under 100,000 euros, for a country property with a few acres of land as I have 6 dogs. The vehicles, well, I need to buy a cheap runaround van in France or 4x4 for the wife and dogs. I work in a joinery shop in London 3 weeks on 1 week off give or take a couple of days each way. I will think about working in France in a couple of years or so when I learn a bit of French and can get established as a carpenter/joiner, so for the moment I can stick my bike on uk plates regestered at the factory where I work. It's a honda varadero XL1000V, 1999, it was approx 93 bhp stock but I've had it dynojetted and race cans so now she pulls like a train. No mot required in Ireland either, and the Landy, well, she's 1976 with an old ford transit diesel engine. It's tax exempt being over 30 years so 56 euros a year , the chassis is like a patchwork quilt with all the welding but if I fitted a new chassis it would go on to a new reg and with the 200 tdi engine I have on a pallet ready to fit it would cost the best part of 1500 euros to tax per year. It might be better if I sell the Landy in Ireland or are they a bit more easy on clearing old vehicles over there? Also if any of you into land rover guys are looking for a vintage landrover winch it's from the early 1960s and not many made, I can stick it in the furniture lorry when moving.  If you go on facebook and search martin curran, there's a few of us but my profile pic has my light blue series 111 and varadero, go into my photos and there's a pic of the winch somewhere or go on landrover club de france, I have a pic posted of it there. Thanks again for the info guys.  

George Philpott 1385412541

Although the Vadarero is pre-2003, it may noit be too difficult to re-register  as the model was also sold in France at that time.  

However, if you are not too attached to it, it might just be easier to flog it and get something similar in France, already registered :    although the deals of second hand bikes are not necessarily so good as can be had in Uk or Ireland, you can probably pick up something very similar, Vadarero, Cross tourer, Vstrom, Tiger , Beemer F/GS, Versys etc  series for reasonable money: there is a site called "leboncoin£ (google it) which is classified ads and has a good bike section.

the furbo turbo 1385414163

Thanks George, will do. I paid 2000 euros for my varadero and spent almost as much again for tuning, respray, top sellerie seat cover, tank cover and tank bag from France believe it or not and i had no love for it 2 years ago when I got her but there is a little bit of me that will be sad to see her go but if I cant find something I fancy I'll keep her. How do they test the bhp do you know? If it's on a dyno roller I could change the sprockets, up 1 tooth on the front and down 2 teeth on the back sprocket would give it a higher top speed but less bhp, like trying to start off on a mountain bike in a high gear.

George Philpott 1385419758

I would not worry about the BHP: the issue is really with bikes that are already over the limit: I am not aware of anyone actually putting a bike on the Dyno: so if the Vaderero was (in original spec) less than the 106BHP,( "out of the box" in new condition I think they are about 95BHP?)then no one is going to check it, or check out if your new cans/etc have upped the power.  Really it's when someone has something like a 'blade which is in original nick (+ of the 106) that the dealers are supposed to confirm that they have limited it somehow.  

It's a slighly grey area: Technically you are not prevented from having a 106BHP+ bike if you are importing it.  as it it legal to have one elsewhere in Europe: you are not supposed to be able to buy or sell one in France: And some insurance companies will insure a 106+ bike, or take your word for it that you have restricted it, or just not ask.   however, I know some french guys buy stuff like R1s, Blades, .'busas which have been restricted (via a re-map) and just download the original map back into the ECU.   I guess the only problem there is if there was an accident and someone then checked the bike.  

You just need to ask Honda if they can give you a european attestation paper for the Vaderero: They may well be able to.  I know some bods have got Honda to give them papers for pre-2003 bikes (eg Pans ) to get them registered.  Probably worth a call to Honda to ask.

if you go on Bikeclubfrance: someone who has done it may be able to answer more clearly.

itemsforsale-922906 1388140896

Well the good news is that motogp was right and the CT for bikes is not on the horizon and the earliest it might become law is 2022.

Lobbying is not necessarily negative.

La preuve, les motards ont réussi à repousser le contrôle technique à 2022. The proof bikers successfully repelled the roadworthiness 2022. Retour sur une stratégie gagnante avec F.

Back on a winning strategy with F. Jeorge, président de la Fédération européenne des associations de motards (FEMA). Jeorge, President of the European Federation of Associations of bikers (FEMA).

Les associations de motards viennent de prouver qu'elles étaient capables de mener une campagne de lobbying et de mobilisation à l'échelle du Vieux Continent.

Associations bikers come to prove that they were capable of carrying out a campaign of lobbying and advocacy across the Old Continent.

Elles ont réussi à faire repousser le contrôle technique (CT) moto à l'échéance de 2022 au niveau européen, avec une clause sur la sécurité routière qui permet à chaque État membre de l'Union de l'appliquer ou non sur son territoire.

They managed to push the technical control (CT) motorcycle maturity 2022 at European level, with a clause on road safety that allows each member of the Union to apply or not state on its territory.


durav 1388154427

I'm going to be trying out the 106 BHP problem in the next few weeks as I will be importing my 2012 Pan European which, although in no way a performance bike, is the wrong side of the 'Gentlemen's Agreement' not to sell bikes above the 106 mark in France. I will leave getting the power reduced as the final option if all else fails. It will be strange then if I have a COC stating one BHP and a certificate showing another. My biggest worry is insurance, if no French bikes are over 106 BHP then surely the French insurance companies will see that figure as a limit as well. 

On bikes having to heve a CT, what's the problem? I'm on the side of those who believe that setting up the infrastructure across France will take a while but have no problem needing a roadworthyness check every couple of years. 

manxman-888566 1388167720

I half agree with george phillpot about the good roads in France its just what you can come up against round the next bend, its very often loose gravel in the summer months and all sorts of crap all year round, I just ride with more caution these days. As regards insurance, thats worth checking also, my last uk insurance on my BMW 1100RT was £132 all in,   I was quoted over 600 euros and that was on top of what it would have cost to put it on French plates,  which was out of the question,  I took it back to the uk and got ripped off selling it,  so as people have said, do your homework before bringing your bike over,   I now have a french reg. 600 Honda which would eat the Bee Em for breakfast and only half the insurance,    good luck with your move France is a lovely place to live.

George Philpott 1388181058

"Well the good news is that motogp was right and the CT for bikes is not on the horizon and the earliest it might become law is 2022."

Not quite true;  The EU has agreed (it seems) that the  CT or technical examination for all bikes across the EU will not be compulsory for all EU countries until 2022.  This is beacuase a number of EU countries have stated that there is no way that they can comply before 2022

However, member states may do their own version until then.  it is highly likely that the French government will try to press ahead with their own version ahead of 2022, if they can put the infrastructure together to do it.  

They want to do this, as if they have their own test in place before the EU mandates it, then they can choose the format of the test.  It won't be 2016, but it probably wont be much longer after.

FFMC and others are rushing around saying that they have won a victory, but they haven't, actually.

Personally I don't care if there is a CT for bikes or not.

George Philpott 1388187250


Some french insurance companies will insure a bike over 106 with no problem: others will refuse to.  Some just ask you if it has been restricted, and take your word for it. 

The Pan is only 117 BHP anyway, so hardly much over the limit: anyway that 117 is measured at the flywheel, so I bet it's only about 110 at the rear wheel anyway.   

If you have to restrict it, I expect it is as simple as just having a different map squirted into the ECU: I suspect that is done as standard by Honda on all Pans they sell in France.  And when the restriction is lifted (we hope 2016) you can just squirt the original map back into it.  

Unless Honda has put an anti-tamper programme on the ECU , you can do it yourself: I update/change the Tune map on my Tiger whenever I want using a laptop and a cable.  

durav 1388191012

I had a Triumph TT600 before and that was straightforward to map. The Pans sold in France only have about 90BHP, quite a difference but I think that theimprobably have a bit more torque and that could well suit the bike anyway.. 

George Philpott 1388193243

I was speaking to a guy who has a BMW K1300 with the "French Map" in it:  dropped it from 130+ BHP to 100 ish, but apparently it has now got loads more torque: he does lots of touring, and actually reckons it's a lot better with less power and bucketloads of torque.

Does a PowerCommander work on a  Pan?  you could probably make a really fantastic bespoke map for it

itemsforsale-922906 1388232382

" it is highly likely that the French government will try to press ahead with their own version ahead of 2022, if they can put the infrastructure together to do it".  

Well I can see three reasons in that sentence that demonstrate this is not going to happen and personally I would quite like to see a CT for bikes so long as it includes solexes etc.

As for getting a bike that exceeds the legal power limit insured, I'm sure it is possible but it will count for nothing at all in a courtroom, especially if a fatality is involved.


durav 1388233597

Not sure about the PowerCommander. For registration I'm sure that the important thing might come down to having an official bit of paper stating the BHP output. 

Regarding insurance, it is not illeagal to use a motorbike producing more than 106 BHP in France, there is an agreement between the government and the manufacturers not to sell above this output. There is a similar agreement in Germany, the government there will keep some stretches of autobahn unrestricted as long as cars sold in Germany are 'limited' to 155 mph. 

George Philpott 1388235013

My guess is 2018:  Infrastructure is not a huge problem: it will be almost certainly be done by a company caled DEKRA which already does most (all) of the CT in France and  TUV testing in Germany: and is already putting together the wherewithal to do it in a number of the new EU countries from Eastern Europe. ( a number of them have no roadworthiness inspection for any vehicle at all). 


George Philpott 1388244267

@durav: you are right: technically the law is "you can't buy or sell one"   if you can get the bike regiustered, without restricting it, (and without lying) then you are home free.   I know of one or two people who have apparently registered a bike and been quite open about it being higher power, and it has gone straight through, no problems.  



Offroad 1388249634

I registered my 2003 Honda CBR600 in France some years ago. Honda UK supplied the CoC free of charge which I then took with all the others documents to the prefecture who immediately issued the attestation and I bought the number plate on the return journey home. Although the power bhp output was above the specified 100bhp in France there was absolutely no mention or concern by the foncs at the prefecture albeit that point had caused me some concern leading up to registering the bike. It's now of no concern as it now resides elsewhere and has been re-registered where it started life.

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