50 shades of French bureaucracy – the follow-up

One of the least beautiful places in France: a Prefecture waiting room

“Non, non, the Immigration Overlord warned, eyes widening as I began to stack up folders of paperwork in front of her.

Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. One pile for each member of the family.

Non, non, non, non, non.”

Her palms flew up and her head shook from side to side as she took in the volume of work I was dumping on her desk.

Oh là ! What is all this? It’s for a carte de sejour renewal? But it’s too many papers!”

She prodded my impeccably collated, impossibly complicated application documents as if they were coated in anthrax.

This was not starting well. Continue reading

50 shades of French bureaucracy


It’s exactly one year since we left New Zealand on this big adventure.

Tomorrow we celebrate by heading to the local prefecture to see about extending our visitors’ visas.

Working through the bureaucracy will be an exercise in masochism.

France has seduced us with her wit, charm and good looks – and now that we’re gagging for more, the old madame is going to make us pay. Continue reading