I bought something today.

AN AUTOMATIC CAR!!!

It’s a Renault Super 5 with only 70,000 KM on it. It’s an ’86, but it’s in great condition and oh so clean! We had to go to Chalon-sur-Saône (200 km north of here) to buy it, but it was so worth it!!!


I didn’t mention finding this car online before because I was afraid I would jinx it or it would turn out to not be an automatic car after all. You wouldn’t believe how many times I found an automatic car that I wanted to buy, only to find out the seller had made a mistake in the ad and it was really a manual. FIVE TIMES. So if you are looking to buy an automatic car, do not trust online ads. Unless boîte auto or automatique is written in the title, then it’s not really an automatic, and the person was too lazy to proofread the ad before hitting submit.

And since I dread anything to do with banking in this country, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get a chèque de banque (cashier’s check) even though I had enough money in my account. We needed to leave by 11 this morning, so we thought that arriving at the bank at 9 would give us enough time. Except the person helping us was new and didn’t know how to do cashier’s checks. And then the bank didn’t have any more cashier’s checks on hand (seriously!), so they had to get special authorization to go into the vault to find them or something equally ridiculous. We decided to leave while they searched for this piece of paper, and had a nice chocolat chaud and croissant downtown. Luckily for me, they had found the cashier’s checks by the time we returned and we were able to get everything done just in time to leave for Chalon.

David called Direct Assurance before our return to Annecy and got everything settled in 10 minutes. My insurance should be 38 € a month and it will decrease each year that I am insured in France. And the cost of the carte grise (registration) shouldn’t be too bad either since the car is older than 10 years and it’s only 5 CV. I have one month to buy my carte grise and then I need to change the plaque d’immatriculation (license plate) since it came from a different département. But that’s it.

The 2 hour drive home was fine and not as stressful as I thought it would be. Everything worked out fine today and I’m still having a hard time believing it. I’m no longer a slave to Ebay or Priceminister, searching for automatics every single day… I have my own car in France and I am finally independent again! I am going to drive myself to work tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier. I may have spent a lot of money today, but I certainly don’t regret it.

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  • Karina

    congrats!!!! :-)

  • Karina

    congrats!!!! :-)

  • JP

    Congrats on finding one… It’s a shame you didn’t mention something ahead of time, Chalon-sur-Saône is where I live! Unless the Châlon (accented ‘a’) you speak of is actually a different town. ;-) I’m glad everything worked out for you.

  • JP

    Congrats on finding one… It’s a shame you didn’t mention something ahead of time, Chalon-sur-Saône is where I live! Unless the Châlon (accented ‘a’) you speak of is actually a different town. ;-) I’m glad everything worked out for you.

  • Rose

    Felicitations! Hopefully the commute to school isn’t too bad now. You do know that a die-hard group of assistants diligently follow this blog. You have groupies :-)

  • Rose

    Felicitations! Hopefully the commute to school isn’t too bad now.

    You do know that a die-hard group of assistants diligently follow this blog. You have groupies :-)

  • Linda

    Good for you. Isn’t it great to have a new car, not to mention independence?

  • Linda

    Good for you. Isn’t it great to have a new car, not to mention independence?

  • Leah

    Congrats, Jennie. I’m so happy for you, this is a long time coming!

  • Leah

    Congrats, Jennie. I’m so happy for you, this is a long time coming!

  • joy suzanne

    Ooooh, nice! I wish I had a car, sometimes. But Montpellier centre is piedton, and we have the tram, so most of the time it’s cool…

  • joy suzanne

    Ooooh, nice! I wish I had a car, sometimes. But Montpellier centre is piedton, and we have the tram, so most of the time it’s cool…

  • Astrid

    Congratulations!! It’s great to have a car to get around, not only for work but for social events too. would have felt completely isolated without it.

  • Astrid

    Congratulations!! It’s great to have a car to get around, not only for work but for social events too. would have felt completely isolated without it.

  • The Late Bloomer

    Félicitations! You must be so happy, and relieved. I can understand how liberating it must be — when I was in the U.S. I drove my dad’s car again and remembered what it was like to have my own wheels… Maybe I might eventually get that feeling back here again — but not without having to pass by the French permis process first! YIKES.Enjoy the weekend with your new wheels!

  • The Late Bloomer

    Félicitations! You must be so happy, and relieved. I can understand how liberating it must be — when I was in the U.S. I drove my dad’s car again and remembered what it was like to have my own wheels… Maybe I might eventually get that feeling back here again — but not without having to pass by the French permis process first! YIKES.

    Enjoy the weekend with your new wheels!

  • Karen

    Congratulations! That’s great news!

  • Karen

    Congratulations! That’s great news!

  • Crystal

    hey jennie congrats on the car…my first automatic car in france was a renault 5 too from 1989…lucky for me though, it had power steering and a radio/cd player (you’ll be fine though…I have to concentrate so much on driving that i never listened to the radio anyway). A lot of Super 5’s are automatic but Im surprised you have to pay 38 euros a month in insurance..I paid less than 30 euros per month for a car with more km and a later year…I guess it depends on what company you use to insure your car. Anyway, my little renault served me well during the 1.5 years I had it and we had to part ways in a horrible car wreck (getting over that slowly) but old french cars are actually really good quality. I agree that getting them started in the morning with the manual starter is a pain in the ass though (gotta let them warm up a loooong time if you dont want to stall). Enjoy her!!

  • Crystal

    hey jennie congrats on the car…my first automatic car in france was a renault 5 too from 1989…lucky for me though, it had power steering and a radio/cd player (you’ll be fine though…I have to concentrate so much on driving that i never listened to the radio anyway). A lot of Super 5’s are automatic but Im surprised you have to pay 38 euros a month in insurance..I paid less than 30 euros per month for a car with more km and a later year…I guess it depends on what company you use to insure your car. Anyway, my little renault served me well during the 1.5 years I had it and we had to part ways in a horrible car wreck (getting over that slowly) but old french cars are actually really good quality. I agree that getting them started in the morning with the manual starter is a pain in the ass though (gotta let them warm up a loooong time if you dont want to stall). Enjoy her!!

  • NikkiMK

    That is so exciting. Congrats! Glad you finally found one :)

  • NikkiMK

    That is so exciting. Congrats! Glad you finally found one :)

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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