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I was at the US Embassy here in Paris today. During my wait, I watched a number of people struggling with the various tasks required of us when we decide to move to France (temporarily or permanently). It made me think about my first time going to the Prefecture to get my student carte de séjour. What a flippin’ nightmare that was.  And then I had to do it again for my health insurance, and when I got married, and then when I exchanged my driver’s license for a French one. Nothing is simple when it comes to dealing with French bureaucracy. The stereotype and the joke are both true. Unfortunately.

All this got me thinking about putting together a Reference Page that outlines in one place all the information you need to know about the administrative steps of living in France. When I got home from the Embassy this afternoon, I did just that.

So, by way of introduction, let me call your attention to the new page at the top of Becoming Madame entitled “Expat Reference Page.” If you are in need of practical information regarding the steps to take when you are applying for your carte de séjour (student) or carte de résidence (familial) or getting your health care card or exchanging your license or getting married in France, take a peek at this page for all the links to the relevant sites and information, as well as the inside scoop.

I’ve been there and it was ghastly. (Especially because most of it was done before I became fluent in French.) I didn’t have anyone to guide me. I feel the least I can do is try to outline the system and the labyrinth of steps for the next ones who come alone.

If you have a particular question, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I’d rather spend a half-hour explaining something to you than you spending four hours in the wrong building and having to start all over again. (Been there too, and it’s so demoralizing!)

I hope you find this new page useful.

Bonne lecture!