How French bureaucracy will drive you insane

My préfecture allows applying for a new carte grise by mail, so I thought, Great! No waiting in line! I can just send everything by mail and be done with it.

Oh, but I was wrong.

I mailed my old carte grise, a copy of my CDS, a copy of the June quittance de loyer, and a stupid expensive return envelope with accusé de réception to the préfecture one week ago. Today I received all of that stuff back because the idiot working on my dossier would not accept the quittance de loyer as a justificatif de domicile and for some reason thinks I am a personne hébergée, even though MY NAME IS ON THE QUITTANCE DE LOYER WHICH IS ON THEIR STUPID LIST FOR UN JUSTIFICATIF DE DOMICILE.

I just don’t get it. Even when you follow their rules to the letter, you are still wrong. This is why living in France drives me crazy. And of course, I don’t yet have another justificatif because the agency is taking forever giving us a copy of the lease, and EDF screwed up and only put David’s name on the new contract for this apartment. The quittance de loyer from the agency is the only thing I have for the moment. So maybe I will have to be considered a personne hébergée after all.

Normally I wouldn’t worry too much about this type of thing but changing the address on your carte grise is the only thing that’s required by law and I don’t want to get a fine because it took me more than a month to do it after moving. And I don’t even know what date is considered our official moving date!  The lease is probably dated May 19 even though I didn’t really stay here until June, and our very first quittance de loyer is dated May 25. So if they are really picky about the dates, I am already screwed. Not that any French cop has ever stopped me and asked to see my carte grise (since that’s totally legal here), but there’s a first time for everything.

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  • http://www.laniortaise.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    The French will continue to amaze us with their bureaucracy, won’t they!?

    Oh, and you are lucky about not getting pulled over. For about 6 weeks running, I got pulled over every Wednesday on my way home from work for my ID/papers check. Every week around the same time! I’m sure the flic knew my face after the first week or two!

  • http://www.laniortaise.blogspot.com Jessica

    The French will continue to amaze us with their bureaucracy, won’t they!?

    Oh, and you are lucky about not getting pulled over. For about 6 weeks running, I got pulled over every Wednesday on my way home from work for my ID/papers check. Every week around the same time! I’m sure the flic knew my face after the first week or two!

  • http://www.mychamberyexperience.blogspot.com/ Alicia

    What an appropriate post title! The Préfecture is stressing me out at the moment. All this bureaucracy… ça m’énèrve!

  • http://www.mychamberyexperience.blogspot.com Alicia

    What an appropriate post title! The Préfecture is stressing me out at the moment. All this bureaucracy… ça m’énèrve!

  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Amerigirl

    We didn’t change ours for several months, almost a year. Maybe you shouldn’t stress about it too much.

  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Amerigirl

    We didn’t change ours for several months, almost a year. Maybe you shouldn’t stress about it too much.

  • Katie

    Hi Jennie,

    I just wanted to say that I love following your blog and your assistant’s guide is VERY helpful. I just wish I had more time to take the tutorials!

  • Katie

    Hi Jennie,

    I just wanted to say that I love following your blog and your assistant’s guide is VERY helpful. I just wish I had more time to take the tutorials!

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    Trust me, I feel for you. If it can make you feel better, it is not because you are a foreigner, I’m sure you know French have plenty of issues with the bureaucracy too.

    My French passport will expire someday and I’m so happy I will have my Canadian one… because see, in Canada, the French embassy does not do passports. Non madame. :lol:
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Texas Style =-.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    Trust me, I feel for you. If it can make you feel better, it is not because you are a foreigner, I’m sure you know French have plenty of issues with the bureaucracy too.

    My French passport will expire someday and I’m so happy I will have my Canadian one… because see, in Canada, the French embassy does not do passports. Non madame. :lol:
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Texas Style =-.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I actually did feel a little better standing in line with all the French people, knowing that they had to go through the same thing as me. :)

    Why in the world won’t the French embassy renew your passport? Do they make you go to France to do it in person?

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    I actually did feel a little better standing in line with all the French people, knowing that they had to go through the same thing as me. :)

    Why in the world won’t the French embassy renew your passport? Do they make you go to France to do it in person?

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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