The letter said 'be at the prefecture, Montauban, at 14.00 hours', so as the guilty parties we had to obey. But, what to do with the dogs? Too long to leave them at home. Besides, she cries in the house and he wrecks the place (rather like me and Him indoors really). So we all piled in the car, with me (as the innocent party) driving. I knew the whole place would be shut between 12 and 2 p.m., so there was only one thing to do. I wasn't complaining as we found a special 'offre du midi' at 7.50 euros each for 3 courses.
Montauban was hot, so we were lucky to find an underground car park to keep the dogs cool. It was light, cool, very clean and even had piped music to keep them happy. So, we trudged up to the Prefecture with dread in our hearts. But, I was sure I had all the necessary paperwork - essential in France. I even took copies of his birth certificate, passport and our EDF bill just in case.
Result? Success. Him indoors now has a French licence. They differ from English ones (which start with no points) in that they begin with 12, which you lose when you make a contravention. Points lost are reinstated after 3 years of good behaviour, but beware. If you lose even one point just before the 3 years are up, you have to serve another 3 years of good behaviour! The good thing is that French driving licences are for life (not until 70, as in the UK), so we won't require a medical or re-test in French (!) unless we apply to drive an artic. - unlikely I'd have thought - or lose our licence completely..... Drive carefully!