Paris Diaries

Carte de Séjour, Part V.
July 29, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , ,

Back again we came, to set up Nez’s medical check-up appointment and to get our visas de retour. The first task was easy enough; a short line and a courteous clerk. I think we have been conditioned to think the worst of the French bureaucracy such that we take any semblance of normal human interaction with wonderment. The second task was similarly straightforward.

There were more people waiting for various visas and so we had sometime to ourselves to fill out the visa requests (and even write a few postcards to Riot’s nephews). For reason, we put “marriage des amis.” We had already missed one wedding earlier this month in Hawaii so we didn’t want to miss another one. When our numbers were called we came to the designated guichet and was greeted by another polite clerk. We handed over more photos as the two young children behind us were racing their little die-cast toy cars along the whole length of the room as if it were a day care center. There were no reprimands from anyone save for a weak warning from the parents and still the children played on.

All that was missing was going to another hall to pay for these visas. The payment came in the form of stamps and we speculated that the job of the stamp seller was created to decrease the unemployment rate and we were glad to be doing our part with the 12€ we forked over. Back to the first hall to get the stamps pasted into our passport and we were ready to fly home. Outside, in the courtyard, Nez performed a requested jumping heel-click to celebrate another milestone in our relationship with French immigration. We wondered whether the process was created to front load the hassles to keep out the fainthearted and reward those who persevered, or that the latter part of the process appeared easy because any problems would have caused one to not reach this next stage.

We decided to celebrate with a wonderful meal at what is becoming our favorite joint in the Marais, Les Philosophes. And over a great lunch of these dishes we thought of our simple accomplishment of the day.

Foie gras mi-cuit maison

Cuisse de canard maigre confite comme autrefois au miel épicé

Visa de retour


[As always, be sure to check out the rest of our Parisdise afterward for much, much more!]


Carte de Séjour, Part IV.
July 28, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: Immigration | Tags: ,

Today was Nez’s appointment at the main headquarters of the Préfecture de Police, situated in a huge building complex covering almost a city block on the Île de la Cité and whose illustrious neighbors included the Notre Dame Cathedral. We came with all the required documents, checked and double-checked, and even spent some time practicing answers to questions we thought might be asked. (Why do you want to live in France for a year? How are you plan on supporting yourself? Etc. Just like we did the night before the consulate appointments in San Francisco in early January. And, just like that time, no such questions were asked this time.)

Nez filling out a form using the requested black ink

Nez filling out a form in the requested black ink

At the appointed time, we came to the designated place: Salle Europe, Proche-Orient, Amérique. It was a nice, clean, and quiet air-conditioned room and it was virtually empty. Seeing other halls named for other regions of the world and seeing two for Afrique – Le Maghreb (specifically, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) we deduced that seekers of visas were divided by countries of origin at this point in the process. We whispered that when it came to a long-stay visa and all the attendant hassles, there seemed to be few takers from other countries in Europe, the Near East, or the Americas. We were among the few hardy fools and was happy for the under subscription.

Unlike the disorder of the last two visits to the Centre de Reception des Ressortissants Étrangers on rue Truffaut, this one was a model of efficiency. Nez presented her appointment paper, got a number, and was instantly called to one of the guichets. We were served by a young and friendly woman who asked for various documents and received them duly. She put them into a new dossier for Nez and received the requisite three photos. The French bureaucracy loves photos. She then explained, in English, that there was only one more step in the process, a medical check-up, and then Nez would finally get her Carte de Séjour. We would have been disappointed at this news had this whole appointment not gone as easily and smoothly as it did. Instead, we were simply happy that Nez was near the end of the adventure to get her residency card. Even when we went across the courtyard, to yet another hall, to obtain an appointment for the medical check-up and were told that the computer system was down and that we needed to return tomorrow, we were undaunted. Tomorrow it was.

And, we would need to come back tomorrow anyway, for something else. Something called a visa de retour that would allow people with no final papers like us to re-enter the country. Now, we hadn’t heard anything about this requirement but luckily we took advantage of the friendly English-speaking official to ask her whether it was OK for us to leave France with just what we currently had, something equivalent to a temporary Carte de Séjour. “No,” she told us, “you need a visa de retour.” To which part of town do we need to go to get that, we asked, without any hint of exasperation. The answer could not have been sweeter: “Right outside, in the opposite hall. You can get it on the spot.” Super (pronounced sewpehr), we thought and thought with relief about the potential disaster averted at the immigration control point at the airport coming back to Paris.

In this process, we have made peace with the fact that we don’t really know anything and that people who tell you something sometimes don’t know everything either. But such is life and as such we will live.


[As always, be sure to check out the rest of our Parisdise afterward for much, much more!]

A new platform, the same old page.
July 25, 2008, 1:36 am
Filed under: | Tags:

Lacking all but the basic technical knowledge to create and run a website, we are always grateful to get advice on how to make better and our lives easier. And so, a sincere thanks goes out to our friend Genesis who tipped us off on the existence of a great platform called WordPress that promises to make managing the contents of the Paris Diaries page of our site a breeze comparing to the hours it would otherwise take to do on Dreamweaver.

Paris Diaries on WordPress will still remain a part of our website,, and it will continue to chronicle the events of our lives in Paris. We know we are woefully behind in posting entries but we have the really short French work week and really long Parisian walks to blame. For all the other contents be sure to check back or click back to often.


[As always, be sure to check out the rest of our Parisdise afterward for much, much more!]