Removals or Van Hire?
There are a number of removals companies around now who are specialised in transporting goods abroad and if you can afford them, then we would recommend using them.

In our experience, hiring a van to do the trip yourself is a near impossible task. There is a distinct lack of companies willing to do one-way hires onto the continent, even if they are an international company.

We managed to hire a van from Europcar, but only because we were doing a two-way hire from France. And as we still had a house in England, we didn't have to worry about storage issues. Our daughter, however, was unable to find anyone willing to hire a van from England to France. They could have hired a car one way (from the same company!) but not a van. Odd, but true. And since coming to France, we have found that many other people had the same problem.

One possible remedy to the situation is to entice some very close friends with the promise of a free (working) holiday to come over with you, so that they can take the van back again. Otherwise wait, as we did, until you have the perfect house, do a two-way hire from France and pick up your worldly goods from storage.

The other way, of course, is to pay someone to do the hard work for you. There are a number of companies out there who focus solely on moving people abroad and although the cost might seem quite high, when weighed up against the cost of putting your goods into storage, you'll probably find that there isn't much in it.

For example see what this company offers:

Excess International Movers

If you would like to recommend a company to us, or advertise your removal services, then please contact us.

Importing Personal Goods
Since 1993, there have been no controls imposed on the importation of personal used goods into France.

However, there are issues relating to the importation of new goods which are important to know.

New goods purchased free of duty will be taxed as per rate applicable in the country where they will be used. To a new vehicle purchased in another member state of the European Union, the Value Added Tax (TVA in French) must be paid in France. Vehicles acquired less than 3 months ago or having run for less than 3000 kms are considered as new. However, no French VAT will have to be paid if the French Fiscal Services are provided with the original receipt stating that the VAT has been paid and with a proof of a valid foreign registration of the vehicle.

For further information, you can contact:

Service des renseignements douaniers
23 rue de l’Université
75700 PARIS
Tel: 00 331 40 24 65 10
Fax: 00 331 40 24 65 30

Custom Attaché Ambassade de France Kingsgate House
115 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7831 0142
Fax: 020 7831 2143

Info on Removals to France Eura-relocation is the professional body for relocation service providers across Europe.

SNPRM Here you will find an English version for the French Syndicat National des Professionels de la Relocation et de la Mobilite, which details officially recognised relocation service companies.