La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the category “Administration”

Préfecture ? No problem !

Wait, what ? No problem ? This time last year, going to the préfecture was a big problem. Huge. Well, the powers that be finally realised that there must be a better way and boom. Out with the old system and in with the new. Now, when you need to go to the préfecture, the lists of required papers have been condensed and you can make an appointment. Yes, that’s right.






I needed to go to renew my carte de séjour earlier this month. From the comfort of my couch, I checked the préfecture website, created an account and chose an appointment from several available dates and times. I received a confirmation email, printed it off and voilà. I was ready. I didn’t even have to organise a new translation of my birth certificate because let’s face it – that thing’s not gonna change !

My appontment was at 10:30. We got there at 10:25, showed the confirmation email at the door, got a ticket and were settled in the waiting room by our appointment time. Sure, we had to wait (our actual face to face, 15 minute meeting didn’t come up until 11:45) but still, 1.5 hours at the préfecture is an out of this world improvement. The atmosphere, usually so tense and hostile, had changed too. It’s wonderful what not having to spend the night on the street just to be sure of an appointment can do for one’s morale.


I need to go back in March to pick up the actual card. But who knows ? Perhaps La Préfecture will learn how to use La Poste between now and then !

Bisous !


What to write ?

Life in Lyon has been pretty, well, life-y ! We’ve just been cruising along –métro, boulot, dodo, as they say here – meaning commute, work, sleep ! For me, school’s cool (I’m already on autumn holidays…) and Sim’s been working like a crazy man in his new-ish job at Intersport. There hasn’t really been that much to write about – things aren’t so new anymore and the adventures are less frequent.

We’ve had a couple of misadventures, however – let me tell you about those !

It’s préfecture time again. Until 2016, I have to renew my titre de séjour anually. That means getting the birth certificate translated, getting some new mugshots, photocopying any letters even slightly official-looking (especially if they’re addressed to both of us) and hoping that the list of required documents hasn’t changed since last year. Once that’s done, it’s time to gear up for an early start and a few hours of waiting in the queue.

We usually arrive around 7 for an 8:30 opening time. We shuffle through the queue, get our ticket, take our seat, wait a few hours for a 10 minute meeting, get our receipt and go, grateful that we only have to do this once a year.

Turns out, 7 is no longer early enough. Nowhere near early enough. At 8:40, sill far from the door, we were greeted by a booming police officer with :

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen ! There are no more tickets for today ! There are no more tickets ! You’ll all have to come back another day ! Thank you !”


So we did – what else can we do ? Only we went a bit earlier, arrived at 6:30 – and gained about 2 metres in the queue ! We were greeted by the same police officer a few hours later, her speech word for word.


We're at the traffic light section of the queue. No chance !

We’re at the traffic light section of the queue. No chance !

We’re trying for the third time tomorrow. Aiming for an hour earlier; lining up at 5:30.

Third time lucky, right ?

Bisous !


Update: Turned out it was fourth time lucky. We arrived at 3:30. Yes, you read that right…

The joys of immigration

I went to the préfecture last Friday afternoon. It was the last day of my holidays, and I had to pick up my new resident card before starting work again on Monday.

106€ and almost three hours later, I left with the little piece of plastic that allows me to live and work here for another year.

Yes, you read that right. Three hours.

For those who need to pick up a resident card, the préfecture opens at 1:00. I arrived at 12:30, and was 132nd in line. It closes at 3:30. If you miss out, you miss out, and have to come back another day. Too bad if you have other places to be, other things to do (like work a full day).

I tell you what, I was getting pretty worried by 3:00 ! Thankfully, my number came up at 3:20; I left at 3:21. Yes, really. I gave the fonctionnaire the receipt I received back in December, my old card and my 106€ worth of revenue stamps. I signed for my new card, which he gave to me as he wished me a bonne journée. Bam. Three hours of waiting for one minute of interaction.

Done and dusted - until December, anyway !

Done and dusted – until December, anyway !

The only thing that didn’t work out was the date change – June 2014 instead of June 2013 – but December is just fine !

I am now looking at exchanging my Australian driver’s licence for a French one, which is also a préfecture service. Oh joy. I have to get my current licence translated, but on the positive side – the application is done by mail !

Bisous !

Préfecture success !

Sim and I had a very productive morning last Thursday. We got up at 6, left l’appartement at 6:45 and joined the queue at the préfecture around 7:15. The doors opened at 8:30, we shuffled in and took our ticket (number 48) then sat down to wait. And wait. Around 11:30 our number came up and we left at 11:45. What a system !

We had to pay a visit to the Préfecture to change my resident status. Now that we’re PACSed, I can get a carte de séjour called vie privée et familiale, which comes with the right to work. And get it I did ! The paperwork is boring, but do-able, and even though the fonctionnaire who served us (the same guy we saw last time, incidentally) wanted an extra bill to prove that we live where we say we do, he organised for us to post one to him and authorised my new status. Legend ! He also noticed that the expiry date would be June 2013, and changed it to June 2014, so I won’t have to make another trip there in May to renew something I’ve only had for a few months ! If you have to go to the préfecture, ask for Yohan, you won’t be disappointed ! I won’t get the actual card until March, so in the meantime I have my old card stapled to the back of my récépissé, which specifically states Il autorise son titulaire à travailler‘ or, it allows the holder to work. Yesss (insert fist pump here) !

Nice mug shot.

Nice mug shot.

Now to get job hunting ! Wonder if they need a taste tester at the champagne factory ?

Bisous !

The next step

I’ve decided that this semester is going to be my last one with the CIEF. It’s been great, and I would never have progressed to the level I’m at without my three semesters there, but it’s time for the next step of my life in Lyon. Working !

Now that Sim and I are PACSed, and we’ve lived together in France for over 12 months, I can change my resident status from visiteur to vie privée et familiale, which automatically gives me the right to work. Unfortunately, the changeover itself isn’t automatic, and I have to pay another visit to the préfecture to get the ball rolling.

Here’s what I need to take with me:

  • Sim – yep, this one we have to do together !
  • 4 passport photos, less than 6 months old,
  • valid passport,
  • current resident card,
  • French translation of my bith certificate, less than 6 months old,
  • copies of bills/lease agreement to prove that we live where we live,
  • the receipt from the registration of our PACS, and
  • bank statements/bills/pay slips/other documents on a monthly basis to prove that we live where we live and have done so, together, for 12 months or more.

Whew ! Now, as they require originals and photocopies of everything, I hope you’ll excuse me – I have to go and get the photocopier warmed up ! Wonder if Sim will fit ?

Bisous !

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