Day 1: Le Carte de Sejours

Monday was our first full day in Paris. We decided that we should try to get our “carte de sejours,” an official identification card that gives us permission to stay in France past 3 months. This involves checking in with the local police and brining a variety of documentation. It was difficult to figure out exactly which station to go to, but we finally settled on the one located on the Ile de la Cité. In one of those “only in an absurdist comedy” moments, it turns out that this was the correct place to be. But we didn’t discover that until 4 hours later…

We went to the information desk and the woman there told us to go to room 1708 on the second floor (premiere etage) in building F. In the lobby of that building there was a “take a number machine” that had something to do with visitor identification cards so, on the advice of a friendly man standing there waiting, we took one and then walked upstairs. Room 1708 was only open from 9-12 and we arrived at about 12:20.  Too bad. But we went back downstairs and our number had come up so we went into the adjoining room (not 1708!). The woman at the counter said “Oh no, you don’t go to room 1708, you go to the police station in the 17th arrondissement.”

So, off on the Metro to the 17th where we waited in line with about 20 or 30 other very patient foreigners. For around 2 hours. The system was very irritating, because for the first 45 minutes we literally didn’t move. We we about to give up when, suddenly, we surged forward. This is because they let 10 people at a time into the building. Inside, you take a number and wait some more. At least you’re sitting down and there is a bathroom and water cooler.

So our number comes up (finally) and we talk to the very nice woman behind the desk who tells us that, in fact, we need to go to room 1708 in building F. This is because Shannon is getting an academic carte de sejour. Furthermore, we need to be accompanied by the official representative of the university whose name, in fact, was stamped on our invitation letter. I wish someone would have told us when Shannon got the invitation. Oh well.

So, today we will call the representative who, undoubtedly, will be on vacation for at least the rest of this week. Just as well, though, because we don’t want to drag the kids through this again. We’ll schedule our meeting there for after school starts and hope we can do everything else we need (e.g. get a bank account) without a carte de sejours.

Of course we have no assurance this will work. But the fact that the name the police gave us as the official university contact matches the name stamped on the invitation letter is a very good sign. And the official university representative certainly knows the procedure, doesn’t she? More to come…

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One response to “Day 1: Le Carte de Sejours

  1. Pingback: Au Gourmand « Rue Cuvier

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