Freddy & Bertie Arrive in Belaugh

Despite my worries, everything went surprisingly smoothly when we took Freddy and Bertie through the French Pet Travel Scheme Control Zone last Sunday.

As per the plan, I’d taken the dogs the day before to our vets in Chateauneuf-de-Grasse to be inspected, flea, tick and tape worm treated. Passports were duly completed, timed, stamped and signed. The clock was now ticking as we had a ‘window’ of not less than 24 hours but not more than 48 hours to drive through France and reach the Control Zone in Calais.

Our journey was identical to our two previous ones – only this time we had to contend with extremely strong gusty winds, from Aix-en-Provence onwards and steady rain (but thankfully abated winds) as we reached Lyon and which continued throughout our  entire journey up to Calais.

After an overnight stay at our usual Premiere Class hotel outside of Troyes, we continued our drive towards Calais, reaching the French Pet Travel Control Building shortly before mid-day.

A large black paw print on a yellow background to the right of the Eurotunnel check-in point and passenger terminal building helped direct us in the right direction.

Parking in the designated area we took the two dogs for a short walk around the grassed exercise area before entering the control point building. I honestly expected to be greeted by white-coated vet-like personnel but instead found two typical French ‘fonctionnaires’ well cocooned behind their desks.

After an initial ‘Bonjour’, I handed over the passports and the desk clerk began to enter the details into their computer system. After being asked which Shuttle we were booked on, I was then passed the chip reader to scan both dogs. Not once did the clerk leave her desk to look or inspect the dogs.

With doggy details now in their computer system we were handed a printed paper with the date and time the control was done along with a reference code, the number and type of animals. All hand-written I might add . . .

Interestingly, both dogs dealt with the journey totally differently. Bertie hid most of the time under the blanket on the back seat, while Freddy sat peering through the window, captivated by the moving scenery and traffic. He never slept or rested his eyes but sat upright alert – ready to take on the world.

Needless to say – who’s a very (very) tired boy now?

Ticking All The Boxes

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

So I’m at the Prefecture de Grasse to obtain a Certificate d’Immatriculation d’un Véhicle for my MG (nobody gets in without a ticket and an extremely long wait) only to be told that, while I may have the correct paperwork and forms filled out, I’m missing one from the Centre des Impôts*.

Naturally said building is located miles away from the Prefecture – which meant returning the following day, with proper document to hand, and queuing up and waiting another two hours. . .

Then I ticked all the boxes for the dogs & cats needing to go into kennels for two weeks. While Freddy and Muffin look upon the kennels as a doggy holiday camp, Bertie thinks otherwise and tried heading back to the car as fast as his little legs could take him.

Then I ticked all the boxes at Maaf to get the MG’s insurance made out for his new number plates – and got them fitted at my local key cutter man. At this point I should explain that, when we bought the MG, we imported him into France, thus making his UK number plate void. At that time I was more than happy as I had no intention (ever) of returning to England to live. Famous last words . . .

And in between all of my boxes getting ticked, our friend Simon managed to tick one off too. Making an early start yesterday morning he (with I expect a very happy grin on his face) drove across the Millau Viaduct in his whizzy Ford Focus RS.

* This was a totally useless piece of paper as my MG is over 10 years old and, under French law, is automatically exempt from any import tax duties. But no matter they still insisted they had to have it ‘pour le dossier‘. So off I drove to the Impôts to get said paper. The good news is that it didn’t cost me a cent to get.

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