Ethylotests obligatoire – breathalysers must be carried!!

From the 1st July 2012, all vehicles in France should carry a new breathalyser. This actually means that you need to have 2 breathalysers in your car, as if you are stopped and required to use one, you will not be allowed to move the car without an unused breathalyser in the vehicle!!

The law is in force from the 1st July; though thankfully sanctions (an on the spot fine of 11 euros) will not be applied until the 1st November. Having bought sufficient we lent some to a friend, and now can not buy anymore – latest news is that they are not expected until the beginning of August!

If you buy them anywhere other than France, pleae make sure that the conform to French norms, as indicated on the package

Norme Francaise

So that’s the new law – but what of the things that are already law?

Warning triangles are obligatory and should be used in the event of breakdown or accident

Warning Triangle

Reflective, or high visibility vests are also obligatory, and there should be enough for all passengers in the vehicle

Reflective vest

Country of origin plates are also required by international law – most number plates these days include these as standard, but if not you must have one.

Seat belts are compulsory, as are special seat restraint systems for children.

Radar detection equipment is prohibited; so if you have this as part of a GPS system, it needs to be switched off.

Headlamp adapters for English cars – dazzling continental drivers could invalidate your insurance.

Not obligatory, but recommended are –

First aid kit – European Law requires drivers to stop and provide assistance in the event of an accident.

Spare bulb kit – on the spot fines for non-working lights!

Spare bulb kit

Happy – and safe – motoring; and happy holidays

Bob & Marjory

English invade Surtainville !!

After the vikings last weekend – and perhaps previously –

it was the turn of the english at the Mare des Laguettes –

Jaguar, MG, Morgan, Triumph – all English makes – even (for fans of the original “Prisoner” series) two Caterham “Super 7” –

All english cars, but look again at the registration plates.

All owned locally by members of the “Roadsters Owners Club” of Normandy. Preserved in excellent condition and driven with pride –

We visited with French friends, who asked if there are similar clubs in England for French cars !!  but then went on to admit that the French have never built cars like these – but we did remember the pheneomenon of the “2CV” clubs in England.

Has any nation other than England, or Italy, built cars like these? Not only stylish and sleek, but winners of races like Le Mans year on year, as many of these cars boasted –

Bob & Marjory

How will you celebrate St. George?


How will you celebrate St. George’s day? Yes, that’s George, patron saint of England; whose festival falls on the 23rd April, as also does Shakespeare’s birthday. So quite a bit for English people to celebrate.

In Les Pieux this wekend is given over to a celebration of St. George; with a dinner dance on Saturday evening, dancing to the music of the 70s and 80s. And then, wait for it –

The French National Pedal Car meeting.                                                    

“Championnat de France de Voiture a Pedale”, organised by La Federation Francaise des Clubs de Voitures a Pedales.

What this has to do with St. George, slayer of the dragon, saviour of the damsel in distress; and hence image of all that is good about the English – brave, fearless, and with a care for those in need – I am at a loss to imagine.

There was a slight revival some years ago of the mummer’s plays in which St. George features. But what will you do to celebrate St. George? It would be good to have something both traditional and modern to celebrate our patron saint, in the same way as Patrick is celebrated for the Irish.

Bob and Marjory

Watch out; there’s a gendarme about

The local press reported the case of an English driver rushing to catch a ferry, arrested, fined and points put on his licence. Needless to say he missed his ferry, is out of pocket, and his car is immobilised awaiting a valid licence holder collecting it and taking it back to England.

He was recorded as driving at up to 183kmph in a 110km limit – a dual carriageway. The gendarmes immobilised his car and took him to a cash point to withdraw the €450 on-the-spot fine (he obviously did not have that much cash on him; cards and cheques are not acceptable). €90 is the basic speeding fine, but then an amount is added for extra kilometres over the limit.

A concern in the past has been that points have not been recorded on non-French licences. In this case the gendarmes confiscated the licence and sent it away for processing properly. Hence he was not allowed to drive his car.

We’ve heard in the past of others being caught out by not understanding or following the letter of the law!! It’s not really worth the hassle of complaining after the event. Much better to be sure, before you set out, of what the law requires, and what are the duties of the upholder’s of the law.

Some minor examples – having log-book, insurance documents, passport and driving licence with you at all times; having warning triangle, spare bulbs and so on, in the car. Check it out before you visit. Rather be safe than sorry.

Bob and Marjory