Leaving Paris and A Week Around Northern Burgundy, France

Paris to Sens

Paris to Sens

After Paris, it was time to head south to start registering our RV in France. Sens is a village about 1 1/2 hours south of Paris and Veron is just a bit further. As we are new to all of this it took us a bit longer. Our French agent Phill (a Brit) has his rental and sales depot there and we needed to meet up and start the paperwork process post haste! Our German export plates were expiring in just a week and we were looking at parking the camping car in a campsite pitch until the French registration got sorted out. I should mention that my lifelong friend Tory and his wife Susie were coming to France to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary and we were to meet up with them in the Burgundy region in just two weeks so it was critical for us to get things done before then, if possible.

The river and swans next to the campground.

The river and swans next to the campground.

Leaving Paris was pretty easy and we followed the ring road around town and south to Sens without issue. We got to Phill’s place around 2 in the afternoon, just as they were opening back up after lunch. It was great to finally meet face to face after months of emailing! Our shakedown run from Germany to France had rattled loose our grey water drain lever and we were at 100% capacity (newbie mistake) so addressing that was our first order of business! Phill was quick with the cordless drill and had the lever working again in no time. Thanks Phill!

The little village of Joigny.

The little village of Joigny.

Next on the agenda was looking at our paperwork to make sure everything was in order.  We all went over everything and as it seemed O.K. we scheduled our Control Techniqe for Saturday at noon (It’s like a SMOG check or a road worthiness test, we had one done in Germany as part of the buying process). We also scheduled our tax appointment and registration appointment.  A trip to the office supply store for our company stamp was also on the itinerary.  Nothing gets done in France without a company stamp!

Old style house in Joigny.

Wooden house in Joigny from the 16th century.

We needed to stay in the general vicinity while we went through the registration process and Phill and Hanna had some recommendations for campgrounds that would still be open this late in the season.  We opted to head south to one of the closest ones in a small village called St. Julien du Sault. We stayed at the quaint (Shani prefers the term rustic) Camping des Îles right on the banks of the Yonne river. It’s a small campground, with a lovely beach, and definitely served our purposes.

The towns we stayed in in the Sens region.

The towns we stayed in in the Sens region.

On Saturday we did the Control Techniqe and had a short visit with Phill after our successful passing. With this step out of the way we were clear to continue the process and had appointments setup for Monday and Wednesday. We headed south to a little village called Joigny for the rest of the weekend.

The main feature in the old part of Joigny.

The main feature in the old part of Joigny.

We stayed at the excellent municipal campground in Joigny which is conveniently located for an easy walk into town. It is a picturesque little town right on the river. The old part of town has 3 churches that date from the 11th and 16th century and we had a really nice walk exploring the narrow streets and old cobblestone walkways. Unfortunately the campground was set to close for the season and we needed to find a place to bunk down for a potentially long period of time in case things didn’t go smoothly with the RV registration.

So this led us to Migennes and the municipal campground there. The big selling point for us was its proximity to the train station.  We had no idea how long we were going to be parked there while the registration process ran its course. If we were going to be stuck somewhere we at least wanted the option to hop a train south if need be.  It was also right on the route to Auxerre which was where the registration  office was located. Phill could pick us up on the way the appointment.

Sebastian and I exploring rural French villages.

Sebastian and I exploring rural French villages.

Monday morning we showed up at Phill’s place for our tax appointment and we elected to just send Shani off with him . Her French is much better than mine and she likes doing that kind of thing more than I do. I stayed behind with Sebastian as he was feeling under the weather. We weren’t (still aren’t) comfortable leaving the little guy in the camping car for extended periods of time. Things at the tax office went off without a hitch (woohoo!) and the next big day was Wednesday, registration office day.

The little bridge into town in Migennes.

The little bridge into town in Migennes.

Registration day was the linchpin of the whole project. We would finally find out if all of the effort and paperwork was in order for the French authorities. One just never knows and Phill was very straight forward on this. As a side note, we were able in fully insure the vehicle in France before the whole registration was finished so that was quite a relief! 

Shani takes a selfie in Auxerre.

Shani takes a selfie in Auxerre.

With fingers crossed and all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed and paperwork checked and double checked Phill and Shani and the company stamp headed to Auxerre again. The registration agent only briefly looked at the papers, insisting they would be scrutinized that afternoon and they would let us know if there was a problem then. We were cautiously optimistic. Thankfully, we didn’t hear anything negative from Auxerre, and as Phill said, no news is good news from them.

Auxerre

Auxerre

On Thursday Shani hopped on the train to pick up our temporary registration in Auxerre. She had her fingers crossed that nothing would go wrong as she was pretty sure if would be tough to figure out in French!  But all went well and just like that we were fully legal and registered in France (Woohoo!!!! from Shani). Quite the relief and a little amazed we were able to pull it off! I should also mention that Phill was an invaluable resource in this process and definitely under promised and over delivered. He and Hanna and all of their staff were very enjoyable to work with on this project. Thanks again Phill!

The machine with exports plates parked waiting for French plates.

The machine with exports plates parked waiting for French plates.

On Friday morning we traveled up to Veron for one last visit to the depot to have our permanent plates riveted on the rig and that was that. What a relief to finally be able to properly start our adventure. Our next mission to meet up with Tory in Beaune was shaping up to be on schedule and we pointed the camping car south with our destination as Chablis. 

Phill putting the finishing touches on the deal.

Phill putting the finishing touches on the deal.

Stay tuned as we make our way through Burgundy, have some fun with our friends in Beaune and continue our push south through Spain and into Portugal.  

6 comments on “Leaving Paris and A Week Around Northern Burgundy, France”

  1. Scott says:

    So you’re going to have to do this agent / paperwork process in every country?

    1. Todd says:

      Nope it is a one time thing. The RV is legally registered and insured in France and we are free to travel where we please. There are a couple of options for Americans to legally buy, register and insure a RV in Europe. This seemed like the most reasonable path for us.

      1. Scott says:

        Glad to hear. Sounds like a hassle…

        1. Todd says:

          Aside from the process taking longer than we expected we were lucky to have no major issues holding us up. But yes, it was a bit of a hassle. The classic hurry up and wait scenario.

  2. Dad says:

    Nice. Thanks for the pics!Love you guys.

  3. Dad says:

    Nice. Things are well here. Thanks for the pics!Love you guys.

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