To Obtain A French Driving License
|By Jeff Steiner
license is exchangeable for a French license if it is from one of the following
states: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina
and Kentucky (Please note this list can change at any time!). If
you think I missed a state, then call your local Préfecture or sous
Préfecture or French embassy/consulate. They will tell you if your
license is exchangeable. If you do have a license from one of the states
listed, you have one year from the date you entered France: the date stamped
on your passport or Carte de Séjour, to make the exchange. If you
wait more than a year, all is lost; you will have to obtain a French driving
license ‘from scratch’, a difficult process. The process, starting
from scratch is expensive and a nuisance.
a driving school - Not an easy course in and of itself, because
so many go out of business. I went with L’Ecole de Conduite Francaise (ECF),
a chain, to obtain my license. It was fortunate that I did. The other independently
owned school I looked at went out of business. There are some schools in
Paris that teach classes in English. Classes taught in English are expensive.
When you sign-up with your driving school you pay a flat fee for the written
test, in my case about $220 US. Then you pay by the lesson, $35 US per
lesson, for the practical.
The written test is made up of forty multiple choice questions. You have
thirty seconds to answer each and must answer 35 or more correctly to pass.
What I found the most difficult about the written test, was that more than
one answer could be correct on some of the multiple choice questions. This
along with the fact that some questions are in two parts makes the written
test in reality more than forty questions. Your driving school will give
you a textbook for the written test that explains, if that is possible,
the French driving code.
|All of your
in class preparation for the written test consists of taking a practice
test and then going over the test question by question, with the instructor.
The practice tests have the same type questions, but more difficult, than
the actual test. The time constrains are the same.
a little over a month getting ready for the written test. I was not
working and went to my school almost every day. The school had self-teaching
CD ROMs available during the day and classes at night. Some schools have
classes through out the day with no CD ROMs.
I was not
able to take the written test when I wanted to. First there was a problem
getting back my paperwork from the Préfecture. I was told it would
take a month, but because I was outside the norm, a foreigner, it took
longer. Then when I finally received the test date, the test was canceled
because there was the smell of gas in the examination center.
Offshore Resources Gallery
unlike the states, you cannot choose the test location. Your school is
given exam dates that it then gives to the students. Sometimes if demand
is great, schools only have dates every few weeks.
If you get
frustrated at times with studying for the written test, just remember that
the actual test is easier than the practice tests. A friend of mine, the
day before she took the written test, missed fourteen on a practice test,
yet she passed when it counted.
all the above it is possible to study on your own for the written test.
No one I know has; but my local Préfecture said I could.
There are plenty
of CD-ROMs that teach the written test.
test - If this is the part you think will be the easiest, think
again. It took me nine one hour lessons before I was “ready” for
my driving test. That was with already driving for fifteen years! French
driving schools make most of their money from driving lessons, they run
about $35 apiece, and so in no time you will have spent a few hundred dollars.
lasts twenty minutes: you may be asked to parallel park, go through
a few intersections that are yield right, drive on the highway, just about
anything that you might do driving. Like the written, the driving test
is not as difficult as your instructor will make it out to be. My instructors
were very strict; you had to do everything exactly as asked. For example
when you change lanes, you need to look in your mirror, look over your
shoulder, then look in the mirror again. Also you need to be constantly
looking in your mirrors, about every ten seconds, so you know what’s behind
you, your instructor will nitpick like crazy and it will not be nice. One
major frustration: I was told to forget a lot of what I learned in studying
for the written test. Another frustration and most French will attest to
this, no one drives like they are taught in France.
going to spend a few months, my case three, to obtain a French driver’s
will see on a daily basis drivers running red lights, driving way over
the speed limit and other infractions.
To read more
about living and driving in France Click
Jeff Click Here
Index ~ France