Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, May 02, 2011

Applying to stay.

Bureaucracy is a French word so it should come as no surprise to anyone that if there was a world championship in demanding copies of things in triplicate, every other country in the world would be in a race for the silver medal.

Today was the day we put on our best smiles, dodged the hoards of papparazzi cunningly disguised as a busload of Asian tourists, but who were clearly staking us out, and braved the best that City Hall, or by it's real name, the Prefecture office, could throw at us.

We were well armed of course, with everything we needed tied in neat bundles, and multiple copies colour coded with originals in a separate file and two delightful French people who had written references and would, if necessary shout and perhaps thump the table and tell the bureaucrat just where to stick his stamp.

But we were foiled. We took a number, and meekly prepared ourselves for the marathon wait. It never came, instead pleasant young lady smiled and ushered us in. We apologised that we didn't actually have an original birth certificate that was less than 90 days old as demanded by their legislation. As being born in that time frame would provide some challenges, wouldn't it, we wondered aloud in her presence, be just possible that two passports and a wedding certificate perhaps could be used to provide the same information?

She smiled and agreed, and for a second I thought I saw her smile widen ever so slightly in one corner of her mouth.

"You must stay in France for six months before the application can be accepted", she explained as she checked the contents of our bundle, ticking off each item in turn.

Which is odd, we thought, since it is an application to be allowed to remain in the country for exactly one day short of that period of time.


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