Driving in France Looking to Buy a House


If you have decided to drive around with the idea of buying a house in France, you may wish to brush up your knowledge about how to ask in French the various things that will invariably come up.

You will no doubt have questions to ask the estate agent (un agent immobilier).

You will also want to know something of the French banking, since you will eventually wish to open an account there.

Let us start with the visit to an estate agent.

We are looking for a house for roughly XYZ euros (Nous cherchons une maison  pour environs XYZ euros. We have two children so we need three or four bedrooms. (nous avons deux enfants, alors une maison avec 3 ou 4 chambres a coucher).

We would like to see houses in this area (Nous voulons voir des maisons dans les alentours.

We would like to see houses not further than three kilometres from here (Nous voulons voir des maisons pas plus que trois kilometres d'ici)

The house is situated in lovely surroundings (La maison est situee dans un tres bon cadre).

It is important to have central heating (C'est important d'avoir le chauffage central).

We are going to look around (Nous allons faire un tour).

The house is in a beautiful location (La maison est dans un endroit magnifique ).

Is there a supermarket nearby? (Y at-il un supermarche pres d'ici? )

This is exactly what I was looking for (C'est exactement ce que je cherchais )

I really liked the first house more than the second one (J'ai encore plus aime la premiere maison que la deuxieme )

We have finally reached a decision (Nous avons finalement parvenus a une decision )

It is not far from the town centre (C'est pas loin de centre de ville )

The building was completely renovated (Le batiment a ete entierment renove )

A row of houses (La rangee de maisons ).

Note that in France, the land is measured in hectares. You will come across the word le demihectare  and  since an acre is 0.4 hectares, it is easy to work things out.

Let us now turn to some of the words and expressions you will come across when opening a bank account in France.

It is important to remember, to never issue a cheque without having sufficient funds

in the bank to meet it. If the cheque is not met, the matter will be reported, and the Banque de France can impose a ban called Interdit Bancaire. This means, that for 5 years, one is not allowed to issue cheques.

A savings account ( compte d'epargne ) and a long term savings account ( compte

D'epargne logement ) are popular. Having a tax exempt savings account (codevi) may be the one you will want to have. Of course, the current account is the one you will want anyway, and this one is called compte courante.

Should you need an overdsraft, it is called decouvert. Other names to note, are the clearance of a cheque (encaissement ), the ATM machine ( distributeur or guishet

automatique ), the balance ( solde ), the statement of account ( releve de compte ),the permission to debit your account the provider is asking ( titre inter bancaire de payment ) or ( TIP ) for short.

A few more things like the interest rate ( taux ), the account holder ( titulaire ),

the transfer of funds to some other account ( virement ), detailed particulars of your account and bank ( releve d'identite bancaire ) or (RIB) for short, direct debit (prelevement automatique), ,and the exhange rate ( le cours du change ) are also useful to know.

Paul Dubsky 

Exchange Currency fast and cheap

Useful Phrases When Driving in French Speaking Countries 

Sometimes one wants to ask people how to get to somewhere, or where is this or that, and without knowing how to say it, life can be a little difficult.

Here are a series of likely phrases which may help in typical situations.

Excuse me, but can you tell me where I can find a petrol station? ( Excusez moi, mais pouvez vous me dire ou je peux trouver une station service?)

Your car may need some attention and you wish to ask: I need a mechanic to look at the car ( J’ai besoin d’un mechanicien a regarder ma voiture)

It may be a Sunday and you want to ask: Is there a garage open on a Sunday here? (Y at-il un garage ouvert le dimanche ici?)

If you have a flat battery you may need to ask: I have a flat battery have you a charger? ( La batterie est a plat avez-vous un chargeur?)

You are on your way to Paris and you want to know how far it is: How long does it take to Paris from here? ( Combien de temps faut-il pour Paris d’ici?)

You may want to be sure they take a credit card: Can we pay by credit card, we have not enough cash?( Pouvons nous vous payer par la carte de credit nous n’avons pas assez d’argent?)

You are looking for a toilet and say: Excuse me are there any toilets near here? (Excusez moi,y at-il des toilettes pres d’ici?)

You see a policeman (un agent de police) and you want to ask him: Is this the right way for the motorway?( C’est bien la direction pour l’autoroute?) Or you may ask him: Is there a motel nearby? ( Y at-it un motel pres d’ici?}.

You have arrived late at the hotel and you want to say: There were a lot of delays on the road ( Il y avait trops de bouchons sur la route) . You may wish to add :

On top of that the car stalled several times (En plus, la voiture a cale plusieurs fois.

The car may be dirty so you are looking for somewhere to have it washed and you ask: Is there a place to wash the car: Y at-il une place pour laver la voiture?

If you see a sign that says: Impasse then it means a No Through Road. You may wish to know that (faire demi tour) means to turn back. Just in case you get a parking ticket, it is called (la contravention) and the traffic warden is called ( le contractuel).

The fog (le brouillard) can be a nuisance and the flood (l’inondation) is another hazard. You may want to know that mud is called (la boue).

When people tell you to keep going straight on, they say (Tout droit).When they tell you to turn left: ( Tournez a gauche) when they say turn right: (Tournez a droite) and when they say turn to turn right at the next lights: (Tournez  a droite au prochains feux).

You may need to find a bank and ask, is there a bank here? (Y at-il une banque ici?)

You may need to know the exchange rate (Le cours du change).

Sometimes, one wants to confirm one is on the right road for Paris let us say: Is this the right road to Paris:  (C’est bien la route pour Paris?) If you want to say: I am sorry to trouble you: (Je suis desole de vous deranger).

In case you want to know what the rush hour is in French, it is (les heures d’affluence).

You will not need your medical insurance (une assurance maladie) if having the flu  (avoir la grippe), but you may, if you have a heart attack ( une crise cardiaque ).

In case you need to find a local pub, you will have to ask for (le bistro du coin).

Paul Dubsky

Currency Exchange

Useful Tips on Driving in France

Every year, thousands of foreign drivers will take to the French roads. Many will be on holiday, some will be coming to France on business or to purchase a property, some will be passing through on the way to other destinations. All will be exposed to certain different driving requirements to adhere to.


Quite a number of people tend to disregard certain points thinking that the chances of getting caught are slim, and anyway thinking they are foreigners, they imagine that they can be excused.


Do not underestimate the chances of getting a fine, as radar checks are numerous. You can even lose your licence if you exceed the speed limit by 25 k/h and speeding fines are imposed on the spot. So keep to the limits and enjoy your trip rather than have any problems.


It is worthwhile to remember that when the roads are wet, the speed limit is reduced.


On the motorway the limit of 130k/h is reduced to 120k/h when conditions are wet. On the dual carriage way the limit is 110k/h and reduced to 100k/h when conditions are wet. Keep watching for the various signs such as going through towns where the 50k/h sign will appear.


Don't get caught without wearing your seat belts in the front, as well as making sure the passengers at the back are wearing them too.


Remember that the minimum age allowed to drive in France is 18.


As far as the headlamps are concerned, yes they must have converters, and when the visibility conditions are not good, you are required to keep the dipped headlights on.


As for the roundabouts, the priority is given to the vehicles coming from your left.


You may also find it useful to know some of the following  expressions and words:


  1. To be out of petrol = Tomber en panne d' essence
  2. To break down = Tomber en panne
  3. Switch the engine off = Coupez le moteur
  4. No entry = Sens interdit
  5. Tyre = Pneu
  6. Keep going straight on = Continuez tout droit
  7. Petrol station = Poste d' essence
  8. To have a puncture = Crever
  9. I will arrive late = J' arriverai tard
  10. It would be better to take the car = Il vaudrait mieux de prendre la voiture
  11. To move towards = Se diriger vers
  12.  It is not serious/ do not worry about it = Ce n' est pas grave
  13. To set off = Se mettre en route
  14. To come back = Revenir
  15. To leave = Partir
  16. To arrive = Arriver
  17. To go = Aller
  18. The battery = La batterie
  19. Wheel = Roue
  20. At the wheel = Au Volant
  21. Brake = Frein
  22. Driving licence = Permis de conduire
  23. To drive too fast = Aller trop vite
  24. Crash one' s car into = Faire rentrer sa voiture dans
  25. To crash into = Rentrer dans
  26. There is no hurry = Rien ne presse
  27. To come = Venir

Paul Dubsky

Foreign Exchange



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