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French Drivers Test. Gimme A Break!

As much as I’d love to write a blog post this week, I’m too busy stressing! The French drivers’ code test is on tap for February 16th. 

Finally, there’s a date for the first part of my French Driver’s License – the code test. I promise it’s one of the most agonizing things I’ve had to do living in France. Studying a poorly translated manual is terrible enough. Paying for an online tutorial that’s translated even worse is the crowning blow.

Then there are the driving lessons in French and the driving test if/when I pass the code test.

It all adds insult to injury.

So … hang on. I’ll be back to blogging soon. Meanwhile …

More about getting a French Drivers License  

I will tell you now an excellent example of “do what I say, not what I do.” This is primarily meant for Americans relocating to France but could apply to more.

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Get your French drivers license your first year.

From my understanding,  Americans have two ways to get a French driver’s license: the “easy” way or the stressful, complex, complicated, and frustrating way. To take advantage of the easy way, you have to move here from a state that has reciprocity with France or a “reciprocal” state.

If your state is listed, you’re one of the lucky ones. You “simply” exchange your US license for a French one. I notate “simply” because nothing’s simple in France, especially when dealing with French bureaucracy. The simple exchange took eight months for one friend.

Those of us without reciprocity must earn our driver’s license the hard way. That means we must study the French driver’s code, take a test, and then pass a practical driving test with a dual-control car … and a French instructor. Did I mention the code test is in French? And it’s administered only one day each month in my department, the Gard. The good news is that people my age can pay for a translator for the code test. The whole process takes months. First example: I ordered a copy of the driver’s codebook translated into English. It took 2 weeks to arrive.

Believe me, you’ll be hearing more about the driver’s license.

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