Sunday, 11 January 2009


Crack fans will be pleased to hear that I have at last received the second quote for the filling in of the cracks in my outside walls and the required façade painting work. It is two hundred euros less than my first quote and involves use of plastic paint on the front of the house as well as the side. I will have to sit down and try and work out which is the best for me.
The lower quote came from the firm that have just painted the bungalow across the road. They seemed to take ages to do the work but it looks good now that it is finished.
I finally read the prefecture web site, or rather the bits in English. They questioned 15 English speaking residents about their information requirements and these pages are the result. Useful headings such as “Health and social services”, “Car” etc. The one about finding employment is very informative and I follow links, downloading lots of pdf file booklets (to read later). I can register on a website and an appointment to see someone would follow. I look at the registration form. Then I look at the information that I would need to bring along to the interview. Letters from former employers….
No clue as to what they want the letters to contain. I will have to do some asking around.
Today however I am going to the Prefecture to register as living in France. I follow links to the Europe part of their web site and discover a list of items that I must take to the Prefecture before 3 months have elapsed. I spend the rest of the morning printing off bank statements to prove that I will not (immediately) be a burden to the state, medical insurance info, etc etc.
Clutching my information folder I arrive at the reception desk. I explain why I have come, and I have to go to the ticket machine and press the red button. This is for foreigners. I then go through more doors and sit in the small waiting area with Africans, Spanish, Lebanese etc for company. There are 2 people before me.
After half an hour something goes ping and 407 appears on the digital display.
No one moves. After about 30 seconds it pings and 408 which is my number appears. I set off to the desk. Wait says number 407, I didn’t see my number. He sits down at the desk and I return to my seat just knowing that as the screen shows my number there will be trouble ahead unless the Spanish bloke (407) finishes at one of the 2 open counters first.
He doesn’t and I whizz up to the counter to try and stop the lady from doing the ping thing. I start trying to explain but even as I speak she presses the ping thing and 409 appears.
I explain and there is an intake of breath. I show her my number and she consults with her colleague. Yes she is dealing with 407. Meanwhile 409 is trying to get past me to the counter. ..
Well I am not likely to budge and I do have the next number and she has just finished with 406 so I explain what I have come to do having read their web site. Oh because you are European now you don’t have to register. Just keep your passport with you. If I like I can go to the Mairie Town Hall to register to vote. So despite what it says on the web site that European citizens must do, and despite the lady from the Mairie telling me before Christmas that I would need to go to the Prefecture to register, I don’t need to?
That is correct, it is not obligatoire now.

I thank her and say my au revoirs. It may have wasted some hours of my time, but at least it was relatively painless.

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