How much does it cost to get a driving licence in France…. from scratch?

French President Emmanuel Macron is looking to dramatically decrease the cost of getting a driving licence in France. But how much do you have to fork out at the moment?

How much does it cost to get a driving licence in France.... from scratch?
Photo: AFP
The French president wants to lower the cost of getting your hands on a French driving licence, with a report set to be made public this week which lays out concrete proposals to make his aim a reality. 
But how much does it cost to get a driving licence from scratch — including lessons — in France right now?
According to a study by French consumer watchdog UFC-Que-Choisir there is a large disparity in the amount people pay to get their driving licenses depending on where you are in the country, as well as on how quickly the final driving test is passed and, of course, on which driving school you use. 
However the reports also says the average price across the whole country is €1,804. 

Exchanging your British driving licence for a French one: What you need to know

Photo: AFP

A total of 30 percent of French people spend between €1,200 and €1,500 while 6 percent pay more than €2,000.

The bulk of the expense is taken up by driving lessons, which cost an average of €1,000 and account for over 60 percent of the total cost. 
Prices varied between €900 and €1,300 for the obligatory 20 hours of driving practice, depending on department and driving school. 
On top of that there is an average of €42.80 spent on extra driving practice, with 17 percent of French people doing additional hours before taking their test. 
However in some places, such as Paris for example, an additional hour can cost as much as €65. 
There is also the additional cost of taking the theory test although this is far from the most costly part of getting a driving licence. 
The price varies between €20 euros to learn the theory online and €150 – €300 for group classes with a trainer and whatever training you choose, you must then add €30 on top for taking the exam. 
The news that getting a driving licence could become cheaper in France — at least if the president gets his way — has not been welcomed by everyone, however. 
Driving schools in Paris, Bordeaux, Nice and Marseille have taken to the roads to voice their opposition, saying that the new proposals (which have not yet been made public), would mean an “Uberisation of their profession”.

Member comments

  1. Uberisation? Oh please. When the costs are so exorbitant as those listed, no wonder consumers are looking for cheaper options. Driving schools have had the market stitched up for years – I still remember this article from the NYTimes about the experience of some young entrepreneurs who wanted to shake the industry up a few years ago. I’ll gladly wait a while longer before converting my licence rather than paying such a price, and tacitly supporting such ludicrous business practice.

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Eight online services which make dealing with French bureaucracy easier

From booking medical appointments to paying your taxes, dealing with the historically difficult French bureaucratic machine has arguably never been easier than it is today - when you can do much of it online.

Eight online services which make dealing with French bureaucracy easier
Photo: Chris Delmas | AFP

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the services you can access online.

Apply for a French driving licence

The rules on driving licences vary depending on where your original licence is from. Britons in France have a special post-Brexit process to deal with – more on that here – and if you’re American it’s even more complicated … you can find the full details here.

Importantly, the process is now handled entirely online by the Agence nationale des titres sécurisés (ANTS) service. It also deals with the vehicle registration process – including the all-important carte grise.

Get a carte vitale

The green carte vitale is your key to French health care. Have one and you’re in the system – you literally are a 14-digit number.

It also contains all the information you need to reimburse healthcare costs and cover you in the event of hospitalisation. You can apply or renew your card via the Assurance Maladie website – you will be asked to enter your postcode to access the appropriate departmental office.

READ ALSO: How to create an Ameli account

Book a medical appointment

You can book appointments with your GP, ophthalmologists and other medical professionals, via the Doctolib website. You can even book an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination using the site, or through the equally useful Vitemadose website – which connects to the Doctolib site.

Pass sanitaire / EU Covid Certificate

If you have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in France you should have received a document bearing a QR code. 

Once you have the certificate, you can then either print it out or scan it into the French TousAntiCovid app and this creates the pass sanitaire (health pass) which – following President Macron’s July 12th announcement – you will need for a whole range of cultural, sporting and personal activities.

If you don’t have one of these certificates, perhaps because you were one of the earlier tranche of people to be vaccinated, here is what to do.

Pay your taxes

You can make annual tax declarations by setting up a personal account on the the website.


The Caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF) is the body charged with administering a range of benefits, including family allowance, and housing benefits. The CAF online portal allows families living in France to access the benefits they are entitled to.

Get a visa

If you need a visa to enter or stay here for an extended period, France’s Visa Wizard is your friend. Not only will it help you find out if you need one, it will guide you through the entire application process.

Carte de séjour 

A hot topic, particularly for British people in France, who should by now have applied for their Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cartes de séjour (residence permit). These documents are proof of your right to live and work in France. 

If, however, you are a Briton living in France and have not yet applied for your carte, the website for applications is still open – despite the fact the deadline has passed.

For people of other nationalities, foreign students at French universities and Britons coming to France after January 1, 2021, the processes are different again. 

For students, you will find information here.

For foreign nationals living and working in France, the information is here.

You can even access more than 900 public and other services online, using a single user ID and passcode combination – as long as you have a French social security number – via the FranceConnect service.

READ ALSO: What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Of course, some may say this switch online is not altogether a good thing, that we have lost a little of the personal touch along the way. But those who have fought the old bureaucracy and lost may find it easier to handle when the computer says no, rather than the administrator…