California Driver's License to French Driver's License

I have a californian driver’s license. Because I am a student it has been valid while in France. My studies will end soon but I will remain in France. How do I go about exchanging my license for a French one, if it’s possible? Must i go to the auto ecole?

why not check this out…

but I note that California is not listed as being one which has the “reciprocal agreement” to exchange …

so perhaps, yes, you do need to retake the test…

Yes I think you’re right. Some places that, if you have a license from another country, you can at least skip the 3000km of “practice driving” required for the french license.

That’s only for conduite accompagnée, which presumably isn’t what you will be doing.
Go and talk to an auto-école or two, you need to pass the code and then assuming you are a reasonable driver, with a few hours practising what is expected here you should be OK.

I don’t understand what you’re implying to be honest. As far as I can tell, I can submit to take the written test at the prefecture and then the road test 2 weeks after passing the written test. I will not have to go an auto ecole, and I really would like to avoid going to one anyways as they’re are unreasonably expensive.

Tony… if you’ve worked you way down the link I gave you…

it says… you need to Pass the Test (whatever that may mean in France)

*Attention : si vous ne remplissez pas ces conditions, vous devez passer l’examen du permis de conduire en France.

Perhaps you could contact a professional driving instructor and ask how they interpret the Law … and what they advise…

I am not ‘implying’ anything - I am saying that if you need to pass a French driving test, first you do the ‘code’ then, once you have passed that, you do the practical test. In your case it would be a good idea to have a couple of lessons so you know what is expected in the French practical test, regardless of how good a driver you are according to other jurisdictions.
The 3000km driving experience is for people passing the test under the conduite accompagnée scheme where they drive with their parents or other named adult (and only them, and the adults have to do a couple of sessions with the driving school) for anything up to 3 years before they pass their test - which, as I said, doesn’t concern you.

If you can exchange your California licence for a licence from one of the following states, then you will be able to do a straight swap of your US licence for a French one.

Driver’s licenses from the following states are eligible for exchange: Arkansas (limited to Class B), Colorado (limited to Class B), Connecticut (limited to Classes A and B), Delaware (limited to Class B), Florida (limited to Classes A and B), Illinois, Iowa (limited to Class B) , Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio (limited to Class B), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (limited to Classes A and B), South Carolina, Texas (limited to Class B), Virginia (limited to Class B), West Virginia.

Class A : any motorcycle or motor tricycle.
Class B : Motor vehicles with a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3500 kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver.