Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Passed my French Driver's Test and ready to roll. Questions?

Passed my French Driver's Test and ready to roll. Questions?

Old Oct 24th, 2000, 04:40 PM
  #1  
Al
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Passed my French Driver's Test and ready to roll. Questions?

We lived in France until not long ago and did the whole thing. Went to driving school (Auto Ecole), took the test, and now have our French licenses. They're good for life, even if you go blind! Unlike the U.S., the French figure you have enough common sense to figure out when it's time to pack it in. If you have ever been curious about highway rules or stuff like that just ask. I think I know the answers because they really grill you on over there on both the written and road exams!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 04:55 PM
  #2  
KT
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just curious -- how can you tell whether the French driving authorities figure you have enough common sense to know when it's time to stop driving, or whether they just don't care?
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 05:06 PM
  #3  
Art
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've seen some drivers over there that I'm sure were blind.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 05:06 PM
  #4  
Art
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Of course I've seen quite a few here in the US as well.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 06:35 PM
  #5  
Al
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We asked about that (KT's comment)when we were in driving school. It seem to come down to how our respective cultures function. As our driving instructor put it, you should lose your license for bad driving and not for anything else. If you are a bad driver you will eventually be stopped. Whether or not it is age that contributes to driving poorly, or alcohol, or vision it will sooner or later catch up with you. Take bad vision, for example. You will have other problems before your driving is effected and will therefore get your eyes taken care of. Always? Of course, not. Almost always? I'd say yes. Here in the U.S. most of us might say that we are proactive by requiring periodic eye exams (in the states I've lived in). The French call that none of the government's business; if I'm blind and drive well, then buzz off, so to speak.
Here's another interesting facet of getting licensed in France. You are instructed by your driving instructor to be sure to speed by 5 km/hr during the driving test. Why? To demonstrate confidence as opposed to seeming timid. Culture again.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 06:44 PM
  #6  
pdv28
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Al,

What must a visiter in France do to be able to drive in France for a half day or something? Do you need anything in particular?

What info do you have to show to be able to rent a car there?

Thanks!
Patricia
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 07:18 PM
  #7  
Art
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Patricia
You can use your American drivers licence although I recommend that you get an international licence from the Auto Club as it has basic information in several languages. To rent a car you only have to show your licence and proof of insurance or buy insurance from the rental co.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 09:39 PM
  #8  
Randall Smith
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hello,

My wife and I purchased an apartment in the Latin Quarter this June and when we were back finishing up remodeling we purchased a small Citroen Diesel. No one ever asked for a international or a French drivers license. We had to go to the Prefecture of Police to get our carte grises for the car and of coarse we had to purchase a French insurance policy, but again no one ever asked for anything other than our US (Indiana) licence.

I've always heard that it was a major hastle to get a French drivers licence, i.e. and most people usually fail at least one or two times. Indeed one of our friends who looks after the apartment is German, never got her drivers license in Germany and is now in driving school in Paris. She has failed her test once.

So as far as I'm concerned I really see no reason for an American to worry about a French drivers license as long as you maintain a valid current license in the US.

I would be interested in what others think.

Randall Smith

s
S

 
Old Oct 25th, 2000, 02:29 AM
  #9  
Al
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The facts, unless they've recently changed, are that if you are temporarily in France, such as a tourist, who will drive but not own a car in France, your license may or may not be recognized by the French government according to whether or not there exists an agreement between the nation of France and the STATE you come from in the U.S. to mutually honor each other's licenses. When I arrived in France my state had no agreement. By the time I left it did.
So what? To rent a car you won't be asked for much. It varies. The agencies have never questioned me when I'm there on business. They probably figure the car comes back to them and they get your money no matter what. But if and when the police stop you it's a whole different matter. I was stopped by the police about 4 times while in France. It had nothing to do with traffic violations of which there were none. This is important: the French police routinely set up at a convenient curve in the road on the edge of town and wave everyone over just to check papers. U.S. police virtually never do that, I know, but France is different. So if you don't have an International Drivers License (obtainable at a AAA)you are running a small risk of having your license rejected by the police.
Randall Smith's experience with obtaining their cartes grises (gray cards) is, as he says, associated with buying a car. It was a real pain in the butt for me, but it has nothing to do with car rentals.
Bottom line, the whole thing about vacationing abroad is to have a great experience and not to worry about what will happen if you have an accident (handled without police unless there is an injury---a whole different procedure called a "constat amical") and the police can't read your license or don't honor it. Just fork over some bucks and get an IDL!
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:33 AM.