The MOST Important Lesson I've Learned About France

Never take no for an answer!

Do not be afraid to be assertive or you will get trampled on. In France, "Non" does not really mean "No". It means you're not asking the right person. Even if they start citing laws and acting like grand authorities on the subject, usually they're bluffing. Go over their head if you have to. Just keep asking, until you find someone who says yes.

Approximately 90% of government workers have no idea what they're talking about. They just make stuff up so that it sounds official.

You will give all of the documents they ask for on their website and the worker in front of you will probably tell you that you're missing two or three. You will then come back a week later and find yourself in front of a different fonctionnaire. She will tell you that they don't need half the documents that they asked for on the website (even after you've paid $30 a page to get them translated), and then continue to mention that you are missing four other documents that the last worker didn't think to mention.

This is completely normal, and you should expect it every time you hand in paperwork.

My husband considers this procedure to be completely routine and doesn't get why it bugs me so much.

Oh la la...

When we got married, the fonctionnaire - a.k.a the government official - who was taking care of our file*, tried to convince me that my husband wasn't really French, because he was born in New Caledonia.

Via RealityTVgifs
I know that doesn't mean a lot for my non-Frenchy friends, but basically it's the equivalent of telling some one that they aren't American because they were born in Hawaii.

I knew we were all done making progress at this point and asked to speak to her superior.

*getting married in France generally means several months of paperwork before hand. If you're an American marrying a French person, I recommend starting the paperwork at least 6 months in advance.

Anyone who lives in France have a similar experience?


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