The Joys of French Administration

I am in the process of gathering paperwork to renew my carte de séjour vie privée et familiale. I thought I had everything I needed, but no, of course not. David & I were running all over Annecy this morning so I could take my stupid ID photos and get a recent récépissé de PACS to prove that we are in fact still PACSed before handing in all the papers to the préfecture.

The préfecture told us to go to the Tribunal d’Instance in Annecy to get the récépissé de PACS. No problem, we did that last year and it worked out fine (after going to the wrong building first, then finding out it had moved to Rue Parmelan.) I had checked out their website beforehand to make sure it was still in the same place, and what do you know? It tells me that the Tribunal d’Instance has moved to the Palais de Justice on Rue Sommeiller.  Ok, we can go there instead, it’s not far away or anything.

“Oh no no, this is the Tribunal de Grande Instance. You only come here to get PACSed, not to get the récépissé de PACS. You need to go to the Tribunal d’Instance on Rue Parmelan for that.”

“Then why does the website say that the Guichet Unique de Greffe, which includes both the TGI and the TI, has moved to Rue Sommeiller?”

“The website doesn’t say that.”

“Oh really?” (Pretending to be surprised, but secretly wishing I had printed the website to shove in their faces and prove that I was right and their stupid website was wrong.)

So off to the TI, wait 30 minutes, and…

“Oh no, we don’t give récépissés de PACS. You have to get a new copy of your birth certificate if you are French because the PACS is mentioned on it, and you have to request the récépissé de PACS from the TGI in Paris if you are a foreigner, as of January 2008.”

“Then how were we able to get a récépissé de PACS here last year in March 2008 when I had to renew my carte de séjour? And why in the world did BOTH the préfecture and the TGI in Annecy tell us to come here???”

“The law has changed and they are not informed. You need to tell them that their information is not correct.”

(Laughing on the inside. Yes, the préfecture will certainly believe me when I tell them that they are wrong.)

Race to the mairie of Annecy to get David’s birth certificate. It took about 10 seconds and the ladies were so nice.  I want to go back just to talk to that adorable lady at the accueil again.

Then come home to figure out how to request my récépissé de PACS from the TGI in Paris and…

WAIT FOR IT….

their website is DOWN!!!

But really, did I expect it to be that easy? Nothing ever is in France.

So, has anyone had the pleasure of requesting a récépissé de PACS from the TGI in Paris in order to renew a carte de séjour? How exactly do I go about it?

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.