as from January there are some changes to UK driving licence,s I am informed that the paper part will no longer be needed AS LONG as your photo card is up to date. I don’t have a link yet to the gov web site re this as it was sent to me via another means. So those who still use there UK license here in France may want to check it out further
I wouldn't worry about exchanging your driving licence just yet. The French official view is that you can continue to drive on your UK licence (so long as it's not expired) unless you commit some offence in France that entails putting points on your licence:
La personne qui possède un permis de conduire délivré par un autre pays de l'Espace économique européen (EEE) peut demander son échange contre un permis français équivalent, sous certaines conditions. La demande d'échange est facultative. Ce n'est pas une obligation, sauf en cas d'infraction routière entraînant une mesure de restriction, de suspension, d'annulation du permis ou une perte de points. (From the French Public Service website.)
My recommendation would be to wait until 6 months or so before your photocard expires & only then go through the bureaucratic obstacle course involved over here. It may even have been simplified a bit by then. The UK DVLC isn't interested until the photocard comes up for renewal, so just exchange in plenty of time before then. (Photocards are only valid for 10 years from the date of issue, even if the licence expiry date is later. UK licence expiry dates are normally the day before your 70th birthday.)
Mairie is your local administration, prefecture is the departmental, so based in the capital of your department.
More news, the paper version of the UK licence is being abolished and online details only. That will make communications and links (for instance here) between member states easier as well according to the EU Commission for Transport. Yipes, I better get my licence changed or knowing my luck :-(
Just out of interest - what is the difference between the Prefecture and the Mairie?
Within the UK something simple like a speeding ticket sent out by post that is returned with a payment from another address the DVLC looks at is among the many. Trying to renew from a proxy address may not coincide with medical records that are, apparently, now used to check whether a person is fit to drive. There are clearly plenty more. Here, any little driving infringement, let alone real offence, is linked between France and the UK, indeed even between insurance companies. There are apparently many more ways of opportunistically catching people than ever before. That is the electronic age for you.
I think you have up to six months to get the driving licence sorted, wherever you are. Here that would fall in line with getting a UK car re-registered, insured and all so a neat package.
I haven’t changed mine yet, only been in France a couple of weeks, but as a matter of interest - how would the powers that be in the UK find out someone was using their mum’s address…?
It has always been disputed by people who claim to know better, BUT the UK licence requires an up to date address in the UK. Providing your mum or Uncle Joe's address will lead to a hefty fine if you are found out. Because we live here, unless you are simply a second home owner who is here less than six months a year, we must go to the prefecture to get our licences changed.
I still have my UK licence too, but reading the entire information on UK, French and EU sites I know my OH and I must do the prefecture trudge and turn them in.