French Visa Means Administration Time

As we pointed out in an earlier blog entry the French love administration.  So the fact that you have a visa stamp in your passport is only step number one.  Once you enter the country officially, you have to fill out another form, take photocopies of the proper pages in your passport and then send it all off to the correct bureau for review.  Once received they review the paperwork and schedule a meeting at their convenience (you are on holiday after all).  After all of that, you get another stamp/sticker for your passport to make you officially “welcome” in the country  ;-0.   So Nutmeg and Ginger are awaiting the results of this last step in the approval process…we will be back home soon if we do not pass the test.Then the car… we purchased at a “friends and family” rate, a wonderful new ride; a blue BMW with enough room for a black Labrador dog, many bags of clothes a couple of fancy new bikes and other stuff.  So we not only got a very good price on the car, but we were given the leads on insurance agents and how to fill out the appropriate transfer paperwork via a broker.  Apparently, if you go direct to the government agency you can expect a heightened level of scrutiny.  If you go to the broker, we used Feu Vert, you can expect the same level of paperwork and a bit more in fees as well as a couple trips to sign off, then to get temporary paperwork and license plates.  We are happy to say after three trips we officially are driving our new ride, with new plates and our temporary card.  The official card “it’s in the mail”.

New Ride

Jade our lovable black lab was allowed into Europe after a couple long stretches on airplanes – no questions asked.  No paperwork…nothing.  Nutmeg had done some homework and decided we should get Jade a “pet passport”  which allows for easy travel everywhere in the EU (excludes the UK).  So an appointment with the local vet (she is lovely) and 60 euro later we have a pet passport which she confirmed we will likely never need…


The flip side of the bureaucracy is that they LOVE to skirt the VAT and any many other rules.  We had a visit with the furnace guy after Nutmeg had a lukewarm shower and a restless cool sleep.  He was fantastic, showed up within 50 minutes of the phone call, during his lunch hour.  He identified the problem, ordered the part and preferred to take cash “no facture“.    Warmer now, with a hot shower, who could argue?

Fall means a few sales on bikes in Chamonix, so we decided on some sound mountain/cruiser bikes.  The plan is to be able to get from point to point and see what we can along the way – no hard core technical stuff required (at least for Nutmeg).  So we found the store, did some research and committed.  Then we were given the skinny on how to get the VAT back.  A bit of a country theme…

So bottom line welcome to France the land of paperwork and all sorts of ways to get around it.

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