Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Trip to Tours

We mentioned (about a month ago) that on our way to collect Célestine from her former home we stopped in Tours to exchange our UK driver's licences for French ones.

Last Thursday we received a letter from the prefecture (government administration office for our département) in Tours to say we could collect our licences, so yesterday morning found us on the 10.20 bus to Tours (a bargain at 1€50 each way, lest you should need reminding). We arrived at the prefecture at 12.15 and were served almost immediately. The lady behind the counter asked us to come back in a hour so she could type up the licences taking time not to make mistakes translating the information, and could we come back at 14h?

That suited us fine as it was lunchtime, and Tours has hundred of restaurants, all of which seem reasonably priced. We settled on a small Lebanese restaurant called la Bekaa in the rue Colbert. There we ate a really good 6 course mezze lunch for 9€ each, which to my way of thinking is a real bargain. We both like Middle Eastern food, and the hoummus here is really good - as were the lemon splashed chicken wings, the salad, and the falafel.

After lunch we wandered back to the prefecture, and lo and behold!! We both now have our French permis de conduire, and even better - it costs nothing and seems to last for ever! (Licences with expiry dates are being introduced soon though. Also, a word of warning if you are used to towing a large boat, caravan or horses - your ordinary (B) B category licence limits you to a coupled combination weighing no more than 3.5 tonnes. Permission to tow heavier loads will not be automatically transferred and you will have to do the French test to get category (E) B validated.)

A bargain day all around, including buying a pair of bio-cotton jeans, several shirts and some socks at C&A for under €50.

We will be posting more Tours photos later.



Ken Broadhurst said...

Congratulations. Were you required to have your U.K. permits translated?

Most Americans can't get a French driving permit so easily. Walt had to enroll in an auto-école and then take both written and driving tests to get his. You are lucky.

Simon said...

Ken - we're all Europeans now, so the licence categories are the same, as are the codes. This means the information is understandable, no matter what language you read it in

Katarina said...

Do you still have the big rose things or eventually French decided to switch on european credit card format? I still haven't changed my driving licence as I don't want to carry the big rose one.

Simon said...

Katrina - kind of (I think....) It's still a piece of rose coloured cardboard, but it folds in three down to almost credit card size.

wcs said...

All Europeans, except for that little currency thing.

Congrats! And one of these days I've got to get over to C&A. Is it in the centre ville, or outside?

Simon said...

Walt - C&A is centre ville: Rue Nationale 67, just near Galleries Ladayette

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