La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the tag “French administration”

The PACSing

Yes, we’ve done it ! Last Monday was our PACS day, so off we headed to the Palais de Justice in the 3rd arrondissement. Our appointment was at 11, and, knowing what French administrative procedures can be like, we made bets as to how long we’d have to wait. We needn’t have bothered. We arrived at 10:40, due to a great run of green lights and settled into the waiting room. There was one couple already waiting, and a smiling woman came and whisked them off a few minutes after we sat down. They returned 5 minutes later, all giggly and lovey-dovey (which was cute, because they were punks)! Sim and I looked at each other, puzzled and thinking that they’d been there for something else, but before we could say anything, the same woman came for us.

10 minutes EARLY !

Wow, France !

We were ushered into her office, and after the greeting pleasantries, were asked to verify our names and dates/places of birth on her computer screen. Everything was good, she clicked the validate button and…that was it ! She gave us four copies of our PACS receipt and an original of one of the letters we’d had to write (with about 8 official stamps on it) and wished us all the best.

We were out of there before our official appointment time !

Next stop – the Préfecture to change my titre de séjour ! Fingers crossed that they’ve taken some efficiency lessons from the Palais de Justice.

Bisous !


Getting PACSed

Over the last couple of months, Sim and I have been getting our paperwork organised for the PACS, or le Pacte Civil de Solidarité. Most of that time has been spent waiting to receive requested papers (hu-humm, Australian embassy) !

Getting PACSed is like getting married, but without so much hoo-hah (or wasting spending of money – it’s free at the tribunal). Although, being France, there is a hoo-hah with the paperwork required ! This is what I, the foreigner, needed :

  • copy of id,
  • original birth certificate,
  • translated copy of birth certificate (less than 6 months old),
  • attestation of honour that I’m not related to Sim,
  • letter from the tribunal in Paris to say that I’m not already PACSed in France,
  • letter from the Service Central d’Etat Civil, because I’ve lived here for more than a year, and
  • letter from the Australian embassy saying that PACS doesn’t exist in Australia and I can do what I want in France.

Together, we needed :

  • attestation that we would like to get PACSed, please, and
  • attestation that we live together in France.

Sim just needed a copy of his birth certificate, less than 3 months old.

I find the birth certificate thing a little strange. The tribunal won’t accept French certificates issued more than three months ago, nor translations of foreign certificates issued more than six months ago. Apparently birth certificates can change here, whether you’re French or not.

But, we’ve finally got it all together and the ‘big day’ approaches ! We have an appointment at the tribunal for mid-November.

Courthouse, here we come !

No rings, suit or dress required, but I’m sure we’ll crack open some champagne !

Bisous !

La rentrée (3 weeks later)…

I was pretty happy to head in to uni yesterday, a week after la rentrée (start of term) for everyone else. It was the welcome day for continuing students – I was excited to see my old friends and, at the 15-week mark, the summer holidays are getting just a little too long !

I thought that, as we’ve all been here for at least one semester and know the drill (insurance, methods of payment) and we don’t need to do any of the placement tests, we’d get everything organised to start classes next Monday.

But no. It’s France. Silly me !

Friday is the (leniant) deadline to prove that we’re insured for the year. My payday is next Wednesday, timetables will be ready next Thursday, we meet our group and choose our options next Friday and, finally, classes start the Monday after.

Cadeaux !

We did receive a cute little diary, and a pencil, but yep.

Two more weeks of summer holidays…

Bisous !

Adventures at the préfecture

My visa expiration date was looming and, not quite ready to go home just yet, Sim and I paid a visit to the Préfecture du Rhône. The dreaded administrative instutution, notorious for their inefficiency and lack of both sympathy and photocopiers, is an unavoidable step in the renewal of one’s carte de séjour, or residence permit.

Swish new building – same old system!

We got up bright and early, intending to arrive between 7 and 7:30 to line up for the 8:30 opening time. Yes, this is how the system works. No appointments. You have to line up like punters at a festival and hope you arrived early enough to get a ticket. We arrived at 7:10 and joined the line – turned out we were 60th.

The line was a little like this…

When the doors opened at 8:30, we had a passport check and were divided into two groups – those seeking asylum and those, like me, seeking to change/renew their resident statuses. We settled into the vast waiting room, and…waited. For over two hours. There are 30 guichets, or counters, in this section of the préfecture and 10 were staffed. Living up to the reputation.

When our number finally popped up on the screen, we hurried over to Yohan at guichet 16 and, in 15 minutes, were done – after over three hours of waiting! We had a list of requirements which we’d followed to the letter. We had so many documents, and at least two photocopies of each as, if you’re missing anything at all, they will not make a copy for you – you have to come back another day. We had photos, bills, bank statements, attestations that I won’t work and that I live with Sim, copies of all my passport pages that are stamped – even my birth certificate, translated into French! It pays to be over-organised though – the only extra thing was that Sim had to write an attestation that he’d take responsibility for me financially if I ran out of money (he later told me he wouldn’t – he’d send me home – nice!) and he did that then and there. A few signatures later and voila! I had my temporary permit, valid for 3 months, and instructions to come and collect the real deal after mid-June.

Yes, I’m pretty happy about this piece of paper!

I wonder what the line will be like for that one!


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