Je cherche une voiture automatique.

I’m trying to find an automatic car that isn’t too expensive so that I don’t have to take the train to work anymore. Comprehending car ads in French is no easy task. And thanks a lot, paruvendu.fr, for recently removing the search function that specifies boîte automatique instead of boîte manuelle. ::sigh:: I am not looking forward to going back to work without a car. And there’s no way I’ll be ready to drive a manual car anytime soon, especially not for an hour through the mountains.

Ok, let’s try to decode some ads. First, you have to choose what type of car: Berline, Coupé, Monospace, Break, etc. I have no idea what these mean. Let’s just leave it on Berline. Type in maximum price and location. Don’t care which marque or modèle, and voilà:

R19 ESS AN 92 TBE 122.600km CT OK pneus neige. Hmm. What does R19 mean? I understand ESS means essence (gas) instead of diesel, and the year (AN for année) is 1992. Uh, TBE??? 122,600 km – I still can’t think in kilometers… The CT is OK, that’s good to know, if only I knew what CT meant. Ah, comes with snow tires. And now I have a headache. But it doesn’t matter anyway because it’s a boîte manuelle!

Plan B. Let’s try looking at Top Annonces that came in the mail today. The cars are sorted according to the make, which means nothing to me since I have no idea if a Twingo is better than a Clio or a Renault or a Fiat. Most don’t even list the prices. I realize this will be waste of time as the abbreviations are even worse (more confusing) than online ads, and I cannot find any that specify boîte automatique.

Attempt 3. Ebay is my last hope. Score! I can search for automatique and have mostly boîte auto in my results! Wish me luck!

* * * * * * * * * *
Automobile abbreviations & vocabulary:

AN – année (year)
AV – à vendre (for sale)
bosse – dent
carrosserie – body of car
carte grise – registration
clim – climatisation (air conditioning)
CT OK – contrôle technique OK (vehicle inspection OK)
CV – chevaux (horsepower)
ESS- essence (gasoline)
MEC – mis en circulation (put into service)
moteur HS – moteur hors service (motor doesn’t work)
p – portes (doors)
pr pce – pour pièces (for pieces)
px à déb – prix à débattre (price to debate / or best offer)
TBE – très bon état (very good condition)
vdue en l’état – vendue en l’état (sold as is)
vitre – window of car

And my favorite driving words:
dos d’âne – bump (donkey’s back)
nid-de-poule – pothole (chicken’s nest)

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  • Emma

    Hello JennieI’m a friend of Crystal and thought I’d say hi because I like hearing about other assistants that stayed in france to be with their boyfriends! I came to france in sept 2005, and hey, i’m still here, living with my frenchie in picardie! 3rd year as an assistant in Picardie. Where are you? hope you’re ok and enjoying the toussaint holidays! woo!

  • Emma

    Hello Jennie

    I’m a friend of Crystal and thought I’d say hi because I like hearing about other assistants that stayed in france to be with their boyfriends! I came to france in sept 2005, and hey, i’m still here, living with my frenchie in picardie! 3rd year as an assistant in Picardie. Where are you? hope you’re ok and enjoying the toussaint holidays! woo!

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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