Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Happy Story

Last week I went to the mairie to apply for SCB's French ID card. I had collected together all the documents on the list: my ID, proof of address and an official copy of her birth certificate dated less than three months ago. (Nothing makes you realise that time is flying by like your baby's birth certificate being out of date. And for British people, it's a bizarre concept anyway, because how could a birth have changed, but it's because in France, other life events, including death, would also be recorded on the birth certificate, so it does make sense here.) I had to fill in a form with SCB's details, including her height in cm, which will have changed in the time it takes to produce the card, she's growing so fast at the moment.We had also managed the amazing feat of getting approved style photos where SCB had her eyes open and her mouth closed - basically what a baby would look like if one were ever included in a prison line-up. The lady at the mairie actually complimented SCB on her poker face and we joked that she clearly already has the required skills for life in France.

When it came to the documents, however, she was not so sure. I had brought a justicatif from our energy company and not a bill, which is apparently not always acceptable, and she was almost certain that they would want to see UFM's ID, as he is the French parent. We live not far from the mairie, so I told her I could go and get the other documents to add to the file but she said they couldn't accept an incomplete file, so either I could hand it in and they would phone me if they needed more details or I could take everything away and come back to start from scratch. So far, so typical of l'administration française.

Being optimistic, lazy and not in a desperate hurry to receive the ID, I decided to take my chances. She gave me a receipt, told me it would normally take 3-4 weeks for the card to arrive and reiterated that they were likely to ask for the French parent's ID. So when I had a message on Monday from the mairie, I assumed that was going to be the reason ... but no, the card is sitting in their offices already and all I have to do is go and collect it! After our recent (and ongoing) experiences with the bank, all I can say is that I was in need of a pleasant bureaucratic surprise.

In other happy news, Nicholas Sarkozy has been knocked out in the primaries for the presidential elections next year. I can't say I'm a big fan of Fillon's ideas, but at least he isn't the man who was defeated last time by the guy who went on to become France's most unpopular president of all time. I was also pleased to see Jean-François Copé (he of the "droite décomplexée") come last with a paltry 0.3% of the vote. In the age of Brexit and Trump, it's good to know that the worst doesn't always happen.


  1. I'm so happy Sarkozy is out. Now if only a judge would prosecute him... it would be a dream come true. Yes, I dislike him. A lot.

    The concept of a birth certificate being out of date is baffling to me. I can't remember seeing mine or ever requesting a copy actually, I'm on my parents' Livret de famille.

  2. Ops, It never crossed my mine to apply an ID card for my girls, as during my time we would only have ID card at 12 year old in Malaysia. My husband never mentioned it either. What is it for? So far we didn't need it.

    1. You can use it instead of a passport for travel within Europe. It's easier to obtain (fewer documents) and also free!