Monday, January 19, 2009

J'aime Le Loir & Cher

Some of you may know that, in France, you can tell which administrative department a car is registered in by looking at its plaque d'immatriculation (license plate). The last two numbers on the plate are the department's number. It's similar to state license plates in the US, without all the colors and logos and things.

Our department is the Loir-et-Cher, 41.

But starting this year, France has eliminated that practice. License plates will stay with their cars, regardless of which department they're registered in. It's a big change. Imagine if you had California plates on your car but lived in New York. And your next-door neighbor's plates said Tennessee on them. And as the fleet changes over time, the department numbers will disappear altogether.

To counter this move, some administrative departments, like ours, have sent out bumper stickers (above) with the department number on them. That way, you can show the world where you really live, even if your license plate says something else. Le Loir et Cher is highlighted on this map.

Until we buy a new car with a different numbered plate, we won't be needing this sticker. Maybe one day? Will we care?


  1. I think you'll care - I was actually really surprised at how bummed I was at not being a 56 anymore. It's how you identify the "us" from the "them" - and God help me the first time I go back to Bretagne with a 75 plate!!

  2. Our old state Iowa uses the 1st #'s of a license plate to designate the county of residence

    so does Montana with some 60+ counties - a friend out there can tell you each county per the #! then again he identifies tire tracks too to the car and driver!!
    He must not have time for readying blogs!!

  3. And so, why is it that they're changing this?

  4. I was driving in the Loire last spring with a Paris friend when another driver honked at us. My friend said, "Oh, they don't like Paris drivers!" Is that generally true (in France, not just in the Loire)?


  5. That's kind of disappointing. It was fun to use the number to see if you could figure out where the car was from.

  6. I've been hearing the grand controversy over the change. I love reading where people live based on plates. Quel dommage!

  7. What was the reason for the change? The original idea seemed good to me.

  8. ksam, good luck with that!

    dale, I know some states print the names of counties on plates, but I didn't know other used numbers!

    judy, I think it has something to do with getting all the European countries to have a consistent system for registering vehicles.

    bettyann, I think it is. When a crazy driver passes you on the road, 9 times out of ten the plate number is 75, or one of the 90's (metropolitan Paris).

    chris, I agree.

    rachael, Yes, another era comes to an end. Change is our friend...

    muzbot, like I said, I think it has to do with new European Union rules. I'll have to research it some more.


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