French village street name changes: Drivers must update car documents

Around 200,000 streets are affected and some people will need to change their vehicle number plates

street view with name of road in traditional french village of Gigondas, Provence
Communes with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants must now have house numbers and street names
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Many drivers around France must update their vehicle registration documents (if they have not already done so) as thousands of streets in small communes are given official names from June.

A law known as 3DS, adopted in 2022, made it mandatory for all communes, including those with fewer than 2,000 residents, to name roads and number houses.

This includes private roads not closed off by gates, and cul-de-sacs as well as homes located in lieux-dits (outlying hamlets that are part of a larger commune). 

It is estimated that there have been as many as 200,000 streets with no name under the previously more relaxed rules, and up to 1.8 million people could be affected by the change.

Larger communes, with more than 2,000 inhabitants had until January 2024 to make the change, however, the deadline for smaller communes is June 1.

Many villages have reportedly been rushing to find names at the last minute to comply with the requirement by June 1.

Those affected should find that their homes are now easier to find for the postal service and delivery firms, as there will be less ambiguity if their full new address is used, but there will be some admin work for these residents in making sure all relevant bodies are aware of it.

Read also: Rising number plate fraud in France: How to handle false traffic fines 

However, people with residency cards who are affected by the address changes do not need to update the address on their card

Changes for drivers

Car owners in France have a responsibility to keep their carte grise registration documents up to date, in line with article R322-7 of the French highway code, which states:

“All owners of registered vehicles shall, in the month following a change of address, of headquarters or of a vehicle’s assigned establishment, make a declaration to the relevant departmental prefect concerning this change.”

This means the document must be changed to show the new official address if applicable, as, for example, the website of one small commune affected by the change explains here

For vehicles whose registration is in the standard ‘SIV’ (vehicle registration system) format (AA-123-AA), the first three address changes are free. Any subsequent changes cost €2.76.

Owners of vehicles which still have old number plates dating from before 2009 will be attributed a new SIV registration number on changing their address. This will mean purchasing new number plates, which cost upwards of €10 each.

In most cases, unless you have already had several previous changes of address, you will be sent a small sticker in the post to place on the document, indicating the change.

You can inform the body that manages vehicle registrations, the Système d'Immatriculation des Véhicules or SIV, about your new address on the Service Public website here, or on the website of the Agence nationale des titres sécurisés (ANTS), here.

What happens if you do not update your carte grise?

It is possible to be fined for having the incorrect address on your carte grise.

This does not result in a points deduction but could lead to a €135 fine, reduced to €90 if paid within three days if it is issued in person or within 15 days if sent to your home.