Driving tests in France vs UK

When the time comes, I think I want my daughter, if she’s ok with it, to do her driving test in the UK.

This link shows how simple it is (unless I’m missing something):


Whereas in France, according to my husband and his 16yr old daughter:

  • you must take a certain number of hrs’ lessons
  • you take the theory test first like in the UK
  • you have to do 3000 hours’ practise and keep a log which may be inspected
  • in theory you can ignore all this and just turn up and take the test but "you’d never pass.

    Have any other parents or recent learners looked into this comparison?

My two sons took their driving tests in France and both of them passed first time unlike many of their friends who've taken it in England failing multiple times and having huge problems getting over to do retakes and extra lessons.

The accompanied scheme is excellent, the children have a minimum of 20 lessons with the instructor and then drive until they reach 18 with their parent when they can then take the test, alternatively, if they start driving later and don't wish to do the accompanied scheme, they can take the test after a minimum of 20 lessons.

UK resident means having an address for three months for which a visit to relative X should suffice, but then you may be right about accelerated tests. They were proposing to end them around 2001 and one of our village councillors who owns a driving school was really worried about losing that money spinner. They have survived though, so who knows how long.

I looked into this for my son. To take the test in the UK you have to be resident there for at least 3 months, so you can't just nip back to take the accelerated test and nip back again. I also heard talk about the plan to stop doing accelerated tests because they didn't give drivers enough practice so I don't know how long they'll be around.

Anyway, I agree, it's a rip-off here. Rip-off France lol

I did my test in the UK so long ago (1968 I think) that I don't know. However, for one job I had with the UN they demanded an international driving licence. I went to a driving school for advice and they told me to do the advanced driving test and offered me a package. They said I could then get the international driving licence over the counter at the then Central London licencing office. So I took the SIX day long lessons, they arranged me the test that was partly off road on a speed circuit with skid patches, water and other obstacles at the police training college in Hendon and partly on the road and then answering a dozen questions from the examiner. He was a police instructor and examiner and made it clear that the slightest doubt and fail. I got lucky. Perhaps it was also that the training had been in part on the same circuit with another ex-police instructor...

I went to the office with my bit of paper, was issued the advanced driving licence which is also a kind of ancestor of Tracy's PCV (I was entitled to become bus, truck, taxi, fire appliance, etc, driver...) and before I could ask myself the woman taking my form told me I should have the international one as well, thus gave me the form. She probably imagined I might take up being a trucker, who knows... Two hours later my name was called out and I had them. I was able to take up the contract and had lots of fun driving the Landrover to remote parts of Nepal with my colleagues.

Put the French requirements into perspective and they are asking people here to make a major investment in order to become awful drivers! 3000 hours and still unable to habitually indicate or put on lights! Theory and no idea about how to stop at a stop sign or use a roundabout. I have been driving since I had my L plates in 1967, have had one crash when somebody drove into me when my engine cut out (in a hired car, so who knows) and no fines or anything. I don't think I am that fantastic a driver but the intensive, very disciplined course made me very aware of what I am in control of and that is probably what makes many really good drivers. There's clearly plenty of time yet, but take Tracy, Catharine and Jane's words seriously and save your centimes for a good residential driving course in the UK.

Both my daughter and myself took a course which was offered by the Gloucestershire Constabulary, which was free and took place at the local Further Education College.

This gave advice on how to drive smoothly and safely and was given by a very experienced police driver and motorcyclist.

It was invaluable. It enabled me to drive ahead and read the road and position myself so that I always have space around myself. |I can recommend this type of course to anyone.

Of course,I cannot be sure that this is available in France.and having seen the way the police motorcyclists drive around here, I am not sure that I would recommend it.

No I meant in terms of never having cycled etc! I was rubbish when I (by some miracle) passed!

With you on this Emily - although I take Tracy's points on board. But...I passed my test in the UK having never been a road user and being utterly glimpy...so there is hope for us all!

I thought she was a bit young and then thought, oh time flies maybe she's older now:-)

I specifically went back to the UK to take my PCV licence and never had a problem with it even when I changed if for a French one. However, I was used to driving on both sides of the road, I think if you have never lived in the UK, it could be more tricky - I know your daughter spent some time there but not really as a road user and it could make things more tricky. Although, many years ago, my husband also went back to the UK, again specifically to do on of the intensive residential courses. I guess it depends on how easily you take to it.