I am driving my Cooper S over to France soon and wanted to know whats needed. I know that the lights need extra covers to stop the main beam blinding those poor French drivers and I know that I need a GB sticker.
Anything else that I need to bear in mind or buy before I go?
Oh yeh, is Shell Optimax available in France as I haven't run my car on anything else since I bought it last year!
Almost every pertrol station will have 95 and 98 grade fuel. Just make sure you pick 98 - which is the same grade as Optimax. It will keep your mini happy. I am not 100% sure that a GB sticker is now a legal requirement (we're all one big happy European family, aren't we?). Also, I think that you can go over without adjusting the lights, as long as you aren't there for more than a certain period of time (2 weeks?). Could be wrong on this though.
Make sure you call your Insurer for a green card. There are some Shell stations, but not many. I just went for 98RON where I could. Used my debit card to pay for everything... er, and didn't do anything to my lights as they are Xenons.
GB sticker is not required if you have a Euro-plate - which all MINIs should, unless you have specifically changed it for a Union Jack or England flag or similar
A first aid kit (legal requirement)
A warning triangle
A spare bulb kit
Copies of your registration document / driving licence / green card / insurance certificate
And a spare set of driving glasses if by law you need them to correct your eyesight
"Anything else that I need to bear in mind or buy before I go?"
Look out for 'priorite a droite', ie roads & roundabouts where the person approaching from the right has priority. This is the case around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris (vehicles coming onto the roundabout have priority), & on many roads in smaller towns & villages, although this is being phased out...
Just be twice as wary as - particularly in small provincial towns, Citroens pull out in front of you from the right without so much as a by your leave.
Also - & this is true of any country, NEVER drink & drive. Gendarmes block whole main roads & test everybody, this has happened to me a couple of times...
Finally, keep your eyes on the road & off those beuatiful French women !
"So many beautiful things to see in Paris, makes me glad I was born a man"
Of course everyone here is right.... should things go horribly wrong though and you forget all the GB stickers, first aid kits and spare glasses, I wouldn't worry about it too much - I've driven around France and Switzerland for about 7 or 8 months in total in english cars and never had any problems... just avoid irritating the local law too much!
Xenon lights can't be adapted by covers-but the gendarmes may not realise this. The 04/5 lights can be adjusted electronically apparently via an internal switch but my source could not tell me about earlier lights-your dealer will not know!
Most people just risk it
Start thinking about which side of the road to drive on now, in England. Wrong side of the road accidents don't happen when you have other cars visible all the time, they happen when you start off onto an empty road, pull out from a layby or something. So think, each time you have to decide which side to drive on. The trouble is, you don't have to think in England, it is subconcious, so it is a good idea to start working out sooner in what situations you are making decisions as to what side to drive on.
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