I have had my US license for 15 years and drive stick no problem.
but it is issued by new york so is not available to automatically transfer
. What is the fastest cheapest way for me to be able to legally drive in France??
Have moved you to a thread of your own because this question comes up constantly, but not quite as directly as you have put it.
With a NY license, you're kind of stuffed (as the expression goes). A NY license isn't exchangeable (mainly because NY won't do a simple license exchange for a French license - possibly for very valid reasons) so you are probably stuck going the Auto Ecole route.
You can look into an English language driving school - only one I know of is Fehrenbach's in Paris Welcome to Fehrenbach Driving School though it's not cheap. The other complicating factor is that there is an acknowledged shortage of driving examiners in France, and even the driving school owners and instructors are complaining (and periodically demonstrating) about wait times of 6 months or more to schedule a driving exam.
When you first come over to France, you can drive on your New York license for up to a year. But after that you are supposed to have gotten a French license (somehow). You may want to take a look at the US Consulate in Paris' information sheet on driving in France: http://photos.state.gov/libraries/france/5/acs/paris-driving.pdf
Are you already living here? I would encourage you to do whatever it takes to get a license from a state that does have reciprocity. We moved from Georgia, and had heard it was hard, but only knew US hard. We couldn't even comprehend the ridiculousness of the French process. I just passed the practical portion and an finished (can't even tell you how happy this makes me) but even with 20+ years driving experience, driving a manual very well (it's all I drive), and being a person of reasonable intelligence, this was an extremely hard and frustrating process. It took over 6 months even with me passing both tests the first time ( and that is extremely rare- my husband did not) and cost who knows how much. It's so stupid I can't even begin to tell you. They have ONE way of doing things here, and that is the ONLY way you are allowed to do it. Period. So, cheapest thing to do is find a friend or relative in a state with reciprocity and get your license in that state and then exchange it here.
Careful with the "get a license from another state" approach. More and more of the prefectures are requiring you to prove that you have held the exchangeable license for at least one year before coming to France and/or requiring proof of residence in the state where the license was granted at the time it was issued. (I think they have gotten wise to our little tricks....)
I will tell you that the Rhone prefecture has not- all my friends just exchanged theirs with zero problems (and quite a few came over at the same time). It's absolutely worth trying as the alternative is so horrible (especially in the Rhone- the slowest of all!).