Hi we are planning to drive down this summer.In

06/25/2021 - 04:52

Hi we are planning to drive down this summer.

In the old days we would take a trailer loaded with personal effects, mainly old used items of very little if any value. 

My question is has anyone passed through French customs with a trailer? 

If most the items were purchased off ebay for pence do I fill in  French import papers and any idea of the tax rate we would be charged on second hand goods, old radiators etc. 






How will you get to Italy?

I thought that France, Germany and Italy had quarantine requirements on Brits, and no way through Switzerland.  Unless, of course, you have Italian residency.

I'd be inclined to take a relaxed approach.

If they ask just tell them that you're taking some old bits and pieces to your second home.As long as the vehicle towing the trailer does not advertise secondhand goods or antiques you should be OK, as it will appear non-commercial.  

At the moment, no restrictions on entry to France, and from 26 June no restrictions on entering Swiss.  The over-arching caveat is of course, that both countries will want to see double jab Covid vaccine record, and it would be wise to take a PCR/other Covid test less than 48 hours before entering France. Good Luck.

In reply to by chris18

Re entering Switzerland, I just read that Switzerland is only accepting Astro Zeneca vaccinations from within EU. 
When we drove to/from Italy last month we didn’t have a trailer but the car was packed to the gunnels and no one was interested in what we were carrying. 

Thanks for that. I am planning to complete a customs declaration ( printed off from the post office Web) which just lists items and values basically, attach receipts, all second hand and very low value plus copies of house deeds etc in Italy. Hopefully that will work.

No sausage or bacon rolls in the lunch box! 

Re traveling over we are an orange list country to France so require copies of double vaccines and provide negative test result but they will accept the much cheaper test so not too bad. 

Personally it seems like a small price to pay to get over there for the summer. 


You should be OK, you've clearly taken all reasonable steps.  Are you going ferry or eurotunnel?  We use eurotunnel, just out of personal preference.

Do you drive through France and into Italy, or France/Swiss/Italy?  The reason I ask is because we really enjoy the drive, so much so that when we get to the Italian border i'm sometimes tempted to go back to Calais and start all over again.  This idea is not popular with my family!

In the past we've stayed in Calais just outside the tunnel at an Ibis that sells decent food in its own restaurant, room service only during Covid.  We've also stayed at Reims, Metz, Bourg en Bresse and latterly Troyes - all very nice to look around.  In Switzerland we've stayed in Colmar and Lugano. We've used the Gottard tunnel (free with Swiss vignette) , Mont Blanc tunnel (€45 one way), and Great St Bernard tunnel (€28 one way). 


I usually take the ferry as its a bit more economical with a trailer and top box + on the return it's a welcome 2 hour sleep.

On the way down I usually go via mulhouse, colmar gottard tunnel route. 

The trick for me is timing it so we arrive at the top of Lake maggiore early morning and always stop for a lake side coffee at a tiny bar beside the ferry stop in baveno. 

Counting the days. 

Yes definitely.  We have already called in some favours from local friends who are dropping in groceries and wine to keep us going for the 5 days.

No hardship sitting in the garden by the stream for 5 days.... Oh and getting on with the massive list of works that need to be done on the property. 

@Clueless in Italy @alan h

Quite right.  If our Italian friends require us to quarantine for 5 days then so be it.  We would expect them to respect our requirements if the situation was reversed, so we must respect theirs.

I take on board Alan h previous comment. It looks like from my post that we are intending to stop at my usual coffee stop.... Not this time I will just have to wave as we go past to our 5 day quarantine and maybe pop back after that. 

Italy has now, 2021, got some very strict rules on what personal goods can be brought into the country.  Better check up on thus before departure. Good luck.

Update on Italy trip. 

We filled in customs declarations and items everything with nominal values and attached receipts for higher value items. All in a folder with our Italian codice fiscal, house ownership papers, Italian property tax bill and any other obscure bits of official looking Italian papers. 

We had a rapid antigen test taken at a walk in centre in Guildford with the results certificate emailed with in half an hour. 

We had copies of our double vaccine certificates. 

Dover French passport control checked and stamped passports and wanted to see proof of double vaccine and then we head up to the customs sheds.... Nothing straight through.

Off at calais towards the customs are.... Straight through no checks, no interest. 

Switzerland at the boarder pulled over to get vignette, official approached us... Only interested in vignette, one for car and one for big full looking trailer.

Italian border big queues approached the official.... Straight through didn't even want to see our proof of negative test. 

So we have arrived. 

Lots of work beforehand but the actual trip was no different to any other time. 

Well done.  You've prepared thoroughly and have enjoyed a relatively stress free journey as a direct result.  

There are a few other Italy Forums, and I note that on those other forums a number of people are posting messages where they have had pretty much the same experience as you - thorough prep followed by a surprisingly 'light touch' at the border check points.

This is the one we used book online and walk in appt. 


London Medical Laboratory Guildford 

6 Market Street

Fill in you Italian locator info and arrival time etc the five day quarantine starts from then. On day 6 go to local pharmacy book a flow test for about 30 euro and an hour later you will have clear  test results. Don't forget to ask for green pass at the same time.