Daily Archives: December 11, 2011

french driver’s license

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m running out of time to acquire a French driver’s license.  I’m also slightly bitter and angry.  I’m not so bitter and angry, that it can’t be temporarily remedied with a simple bakery treat, but the anger and bitterness reside somewhere inside me.  Deep down.

Both Tim & I have to get French driver’s licenses within one year of our arrival in France and guess what?  One year is almost here (can you believe it?).  Anyway, there are 15 US states which have reciprocal driving agreements with France.  Among them, Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, and nine more, but NOT Vermont.  If you live in one of the 15 reciprocal states, all you have to do is fill out reams of French paperwork and wait by the mailbox for your French license to be delivered.  In our case, we have to take a series of French driving instructional classes, take a written test, participate in 8 hours of driving instruction in a car and take an actual driving test.  Add in the French language factor, mix it all up and you have a recipe for a very unhappy Vermonter.

This unhappy Vermonter has been weighing all of the options and after considering flying back to the US and pretending to be a NH citizen (with the help of an anonymous individual whose name rhymes with Merry Feleen), I’ve given up.  At the end of the day, there is only so much whining that is tolerated from a person who gets to drink loads of good wine and eat very stinky cheese on a daily basis.  This means I’m getting prepared to suck it up and turn my frown around in a French driving class (yes, I actually wrote that).

There is some good news here, though.  Our friend and fellow Vermonter who is also living in Fonty (her husband works with Tim at IBM) has managed to score us some English language instructional classes.  I am thankful that there is a glimmer of light inside this bleak French license vortex.

Although I don’t really want to spend my time in driving classes, I have come to realize that there may be a benefit for me.  Especially when, after driving here for 10 months, my friend said to me, “Don’t worry, all you really need to know about driving in France is the priorité à droite rule.”  When I gave her a blank stare, she said, “You know, priorité à droite – when you’re driving on a straight road and a road intersects it on your right and even if there’s not a stop sign you have to stop for the car entering right?”  Again, a blank stare.

Hmmm.  I guess I do have something to learn.

To learn more about  priorité à droite, brush up on your French and click the link.  Or move to New Hampshire, get a French license automatically, and don’t worry about it.