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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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French Drivers’ Code: A Humbling Experience

Now that I’ve dealt with the humbling experience of failing the French drivers’ code test not once but six times, I’ll make this post short and sweet

After the first disastrous French drivers’ code examination in Nimes — with a translator — I braved on to retake the test in Uzès, in French. For 30 euros instead of 110 euros, I figured I could afford to fail. It would be good practice for my French, too.

I blundered in French for three consecutive weeks — #2, #3, and test #4

For test #5,  I signed up again in Nimes. With the translator. I would surely pass.

drivers test
Translator Vincent with Fanny, the auto school instructor

Not so.

Remember the handheld device that messed me up with the translator the last time?

A Humbling Experience

Back to Uzès for Test #6. 

I signed up for test #6 in Uzés. In French. Same time. Same place. Failed.

Test #7. Same time. Same place. To be perfectly honest, I would give up on taking the test if I screwed up a seventh time — even though, according to the French guidelines, I can take it as many times as I wish… or can afford.

During the week, a sympathetic friend sent me an email with a link to an ad on Leboncoin, the French version of eBay. The ad included a photo of a used “Twizzy,” Renault’s “sans permis” car. The “no driver’s license” car was my perfect choice. A cut above a 4-wheel motorcycle, the Twizzy could get me to the grocery store, to a friend’s house, to the train station… anywhere I would care to go … at 40 kilometers per hour .. on back roads.


Humbling Experience #7

Walking into the test site for the seventh time — with a totally different attitude — I found myself singing Kenny Rogers’s song, “The Gambler.”

“Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”

I was definitely ready to “fold ’em.

Perhaps my “give a damn” attitude made the difference.

Whatever it was … I passed!

French Drivers License. Next Step

According to the French government, I have five years to take private driving lessons and pass the practical part of the driver’s test. I’ll need every year to get at the rate I’m going. Actually, Twizzy is looking better and better.

Meanwhile, I’m taking a break. I’m off to visit my family in the States.

While I’m there, maybe I’ll take a road trip. By myself. Driving with the license I’ve had since I was sixteen.



Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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