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Is it cheaper to have a car impounded in France than park at airport?

We take a look at the figures after a French press article on the subject in Perpignan

Airport parking lots can be expensive if cars are under surveillance Pic: Gennaro Leonardi Photos / Shutterstock

A driver in Perpignan is reported to prefer to have his car impounded rather than park at the local airport when he travels - as it is cheaper.

SOS Remorquage, the company which manages the pound, confirmed to The Connexion that the man brings his car to them, leaving the keys, for 15-day periods while he is away.

Is it really worth it?

We decided to check out the figures.

The price of impounding a car is standardised across France – except for in Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille which have their own rates – with a daily fee of €6.42.

“You can’t get that price anywhere else,” said a spokesperson for SOS Remorquage. “But it is also necessary to pay a one-off impounding fee each time which is €121.”

This means that for 15 days, the maximum possible duration, the man would have paid €217.30. 

That is much more expensive than the parking lot at the Perpignan airport which costs €80 for two weeks, however it does mean that the car is constantly watched.

An impound lot also has little to no traffic other than staff as entry is forbidden for the public. In this man’s case the added security may be viewed as being worth the extra cost but there are situations where it can be cost effective.

Cheaper in some cases 

If your local pound is close to the airport and you plan to be away on a two-week trip, then it may be worth checking out the prices.

In Nice, for example, airport parking fees range from €200 - €350 for two weeks depending on the services chosen.

This makes the pound fees competitive although it does mean making your way to the pound once off the plane. In Nice that involves a 20-minute walk.

Pounds also have restrictive opening hours so it may not be the best option if leaving or returning in the evening.

Overall impounding may be a way of saving a small amount for those airports with expensive parking or which are not well secured but it does carry risk as well as the extra distance to travel / time constraints.

For example, if the 15 day period is overstayed - perhaps due to a flight delay – then the car may be destroyed.

There are other solutions for long-term parking, such as renting parking boxes; these fully enclosed garages are more secure and do not carry the risks that a pound may. Prices range from €50 - €300 per month but they are more often found within cities than near airports.

Related articles:

Why are home and car insurance premiums set to rise in France?

Test yourself with 5 questions from the new French theory driving test

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