Sad But True

I’ve been in France quite a while without getting a French driver’s license. Had I been in one of fourteen states that had repropocity with France, I could have easily transferred to a French license. Texas, unfortunately, is not one of the states which surprised me as Texas and France have political ties, at least they did at one time. In any case, I seldom drove until we moved to Provence. I was vaguely aware that I probably wasn’t legal but I don’t think Maurice was. I don’t know how but he suddenly became aware of the fact that I wasn’t covered by our insurance without a French driver’s license. Frankly, I’d rather just cross my fingers that I would never get caught especially when I found out how expensive it is to take the required classes-at least I don’t need to do the 20 hours of driving with some intructor-not to mention the fact that the classes and the test are all in French. Despite the fact that I just finished my month long intensive French class I am not hopeful.

Maurice and I went into the driver’s education office in the village closest to us. When he explained my plight and my lack of French and the fact that I had to take the test anyway, the lady in the office looked me in the eyes and said, “The test is very hard”. Just what I wanted to hear. Maurice and I went into the classroom where a video was started. It would show a situation on the screen and then ask a question and you had to pick out the correct answer out of four possibilities which wouldn’t have been too bad but they only gave you 20 seconds or so to answer before they went to the next question. Right away I realized that I didn’t have the vocabulary used for driving in France, not to mention taking a test. The lady gave me a book with all of the information in it which I have been slowly going through with a dictionary by my side. In the class they show a different section of the total test and you mark the correct answer and the lady then checks to see what we missed. No computers, I’m afraid. It’s done the old fashioned way. If you miss less than five, then you can take the driver’s license test. If not, you have to keep taking the practice sessions until you manage to make less than five incorrect errors.

Well, I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed. I’m just too old for this. But I have to suck it up, I guess, and do it anyway. We did find a class in Paris which is done in English and which sends a translator with you for taking the test. If I come up with over 1100 Euros I might think about it. I did order the DVD of all that is shown in the class here but it’s in English so I sent for that. I’m studying the book every day and hoping that there is some room left in my brain for all of this new information.
So I have some new French words that I am trying to remember:
Rouler-roll along. They use this for driving. Roulant is a smooth, good road. A Rouleuse, interesingly, is a low prostitute.
Clignotant is to blink-as in a yellow blinking light.
Dos d’ane-a speed bump. It literally mean the back of an donkey.

13 thoughts to “Sad But True”

  1. Oh, la… I will have to suffer through this myself at some point if I want to drive legally here. I drove only once and it was last year when we rented a car and the rental agency had no trouble renting to me as a “tourist” but clearly I can no longer get away with THAT old excuse. I had heard about the English class in France but not the details. 1100 euros? Ouch. Better start saving my centimes.

  2. Dos d’ane! Wonderful! I don’t know which it worse, the notion that you just hit a donkey or the knowing that you just drove across a ‘sleeping policeman’ (British English). While I would be devastated over killing a donkey, I’m sure the legal reprimands for killing an officer of the law are not to be toyed with.

  3. Oy vey, yet another thing to DO!!! I am assuming you cannot get an international driver’s license instead?


  4. Oh good luck! I’m sure you will do just fine, but it’s always so daunting to start a process like this. Hang in there – you’ll do fine!

  5. It always a surprise when I pop over here and again today, you have not let me down. This is unbelievable! You are a rock star for hanging in and doing what you have to do. Too bad your husband realized what was going on! I hope you have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

  6. Nevr thought about the fact that you would have to take your driving licence in French. We English drive in France all the time and there are lots who cannot speak French.

    Snails, the most horrible things and I’m forever killing them in my garden,

    It’s not just the French, I have found that British and American humour are so vastly different.

  7. A driving test is nerve-wracking at the best of times, but I think to have to do it in French would be so much worse – and my French is pretty good! Happy studying!

  8. How perfectly ghastly! I don’t envy you this new challenge. I did read somewhere that once a French driving license is obtained, it’s good for life. That’s a scary thought too. Surely that can’t be right.

  9. My son is 15 and a half, which is old enough to get a learner’s permit here in Ohio. I think he feels the same way you do though, even though the test is in English. He went to take it once and failed complaining about obscure questions like school buses and arrows that go left then up. I’m sure you’ll have better luck. A lot of it has to be common sense, right?

  10. I don’t think I could suck it up enough to take the drivers test. I get nervous enough having to take one here. I did find out though that Fl has reciprocity with France…just in case I ever leave the states 🙂

  11. Wow, good on you for doing this!

    And good luck with the ‘very hard test’ – I’m sure you’ll pass with flying colours.

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