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Driving licence saga... thereby hangs a salutory tale


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This might interest and amuse some of you and also act as a warning.

Way back in the Dark Ages when I had the misfortune to work at a UK University I was offered a deal, which I grabbed in a flash and got out with the intention to come to France and do other stuff.

Knowing I had a few months to spare, a chum of mine who was setting up in a business asked if I would like to do some tour guiding for him, round London at night and round Britain for up to a couple of weeks at a time.

For which I would need a small bus drivers’ licence. So I duly got the provisional version which showed on my normal licence and set off. But after a couple of months I realised that I did not like driving long distance with guests, b and b ing every night etc, so I simply stuck to the London by night tours.

And then I came to France where, many years later, I duly changed my UK licence for a French one in 2013. At that time it was all done by the Département and it took them six months. Needing to go abroad I finally got to see the big boss who was playing computer games in his office.

We agreed to remove the bus licence from my application so that I would not need a medical and the thing was issued very quickly. No bus licence, perfect.

OK so far?

BUT, they only issued me with a five year licence as if they still registered me as still having the bus bit, and I would have needed a medical after five years. Which I did not notice!

I eventually discovered this at the end of January 2021. This meant I had been driving on thin air since 4/12/2018...

Ahhhhhhhh. Clenched buttocks.

Applied for a renewal immediately... sent off papers and PDFs... silence... contact them... ahhh Monsieur, your need this....., so sent off, silence... contact them again... you need a medical... why? you have a bus licence... I don’t... look at my licence... you do... so, off for a medical when I had found a doctor to do one.

Check head, heart, blood pressure, eyes... stand on one leg....

why?... all ok, €65 please.

So, made and sent off PDF of result plus decided to send off the papers all over again, twice... receive email... please dont send us more papers, your dossier is complete... you will be hearing from us in 30 days.

Meanwhile you can use the receipt for the 35€ licence payment as a temporary licence.

Then, licence up for consideration.. was I gonna get it back, renewed or not?. ehhhhhhh, what the f***.... finally, yes monsieur you can have your licence in two weeks

Finally today, registered post my lovely postie got me out of bed tooting her horn.

I have a licence again. Phew, thank you Vendée for mucking me about.

Lesson: check, check, check, do not rely on the word of thick, useless, lazy, jobsworthy fonctionnaires in your Départment to get anything right!

After all that I am gonna a have a little lie down.

Still, first jab done, licence sorted, now for the CDS. But not today.
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Something wrong with the staff at your Prefecture.

I exchanged my last UK licence in March 2007. On the French licence issued, the private car validity had no expiry, but the other categories were valid for either 1 year or 18 months.


I took medicals to renew the expiring categories in 2008 and 2010, but after I had no further use for the heavier categories I let them lapse, so I still have the one issued in 2010, which remains valid for private cars only.


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The problem is now wooly that ANTS deals on line with licence exchanges and they have shut down as there is no agreement with the UK. Funny that the Uk has agreements with many other EU countries and indeed are exchanging EU licences in the UK.
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