Driving down to Cahors this morning (A20) the roads were quite empty with probably more lorries than cars but loads of Police, Gendarmes and Douane milling around. No idea what they are looking for but one lorry whicf was doing 130kph and going more quickly than I just happened to somehow NOT notice a blue van coming up behind him not with the purpose of stopping quick drivers I feel but just travelling from A to B like the other official vehicles. The other lorries were doing the customary 110kph or nearly but I suppose this particular lorry was taking the biscuit so the blue van put on the 'xmas tree' and stopped the lorry. I think the police etc are pretty tolerant usually but there are limits !!
I arrived at Cahors North to be greeted with a Police road block and about ten officers armed with machine guns waiting to search all vehicles. I can promise you Ex Lax wouldn't have done a better job !!!!!!!!!!!!
3 years sounds right for the UK but I'm more than a bit out of touch there. No you don't have to do anything, it's all done automatically/electronically, your paper permis is never really up to date, mine still has my old address on it from 4 years ago but is perfectly legal...!
I received a letter today informing me that I’d been caught speeding in a set of roadworks just outside Perpignan. 96 in a 90! I’ve paid the fine online but I’m concerned re the point off my licence (French). Do I really do nothing and just wait for a letter? Or do I have to go in somewhere?
we had theory lessons arranged through a driving school and went along to the classes - all the different possible test questions are given over a period of time. It's a matter of getting to grips with the specific driving language. So after class we'd look up all the words we didn't know (I jotted them down during the 'lesson') and it made such a difference to understanding the questions. btw - if you end up losing your licence through loss of points you must do this class anyway - so our classmates were either youngsters learning or those who had already lost their licence and going to the compulsory classes to regain it. Just before the test we had one practical lesson to explain what the examiners would say with their instructions and how to do certain things like crane your neck at an intersection to prove you've actually looked. The whole exercise was really useful. There was also an option for another written test for foreigners (they give the question twice and a bit longer to answer) but as that is only twice a year or so, our tutor said he had complete confidence that we could do it in french - and so we did :)
And yes, if we'd known about this before we left NZ, we would have taken a small side trip to Vanuatu and got a driving licence there which we could have simply exchanged for a French one.
most countries have a reciprocal agreement with France re driving licences. New Zealand is one country which does not (possibly harking back to the Rainbow Warrior affair?). So when we came here from NZ, we could not simply 'exchange' our licences for French ones and had to sit the test, both written and practical. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be - there are differences in signage and rules between countries and we took this as an opportunity to improve our french. However, as we did not have to surrender our NZ licences, we still have those (although these days they are only valid 10 years and then must be renewed, but at least we have them in our possession to prove we did pass the NZ test).
If you are resident in France and you are awarded points you have to hand in your UK licence to the Prefecture and get a french one. This is exactly what happened to me. There is govt web-site for keeping a tally of your cumulated points.