Life in Paris

Do Not PACS Go

Bureaucracy strikes… differently?

Exciting news, I suppose : we went down to the tribunal to file for our PACS. There might be a problem with my birth certificate, but we wanted to try anyway. Worst case scenario, we would have to wait a bit longer, and I would have to shell out for a new certificate.

I had the day off, so in addition to watering all the plants, letting the plumber in to see if a leak in the basement was coming from our apartment (it’s not!), and cleaning, I prepared our paperwork.

Everything was in order (give or take the date on my birth certificate’s translation…) and E came home early. He brought home Thai food (special treat!) and after we ate, I put on some lipstick and tucked the folder with our paperwork into my purse.

We stopped by city hall to make a few photocopies that I had forgotten about. Oddly enough, city hall doesn’t take care of the PACS paperwork, so it was down the street and around the corner for us!

The tribunal opened at 2, we arrived at 2:01, and waited for a few more minutes while everyone came back from their lunch break. The man at the welcome desk remembered me, and gave us some new information that he hadn’t volunteered last time…

There were no PACS appointments available until September…

We had thought, based on some unclear information on the tribunal’s website, that we might have to submit the documents, have them approved, and then wait until October to have the PACS finalised… But no. In fact, no one is able to *look* at the documents until September…

When we had brought up this potential issue with E’s parents, they recommended a notaire, or notary public. They had used a notaire for their PACS just a few years ago, and the experience was relatively painless. I had the notaire’s number stored in my phone, so I forwarded it to E so that he could call while I ran a few errands.

I came home a few hours later to some interesting news. The notary doesn’t believe that I need a new birth certificate, just a new translation of the same document. The notary does, however, believe that if we are interested in filing our documents through her (which we have already printed, copied, and filled out…) that it will cost us a smooth 400 euro…….


For…? A stamp…? And postage…? According to the man at the desk, this is what happens. A stamp on the PACS request, some postage, and then a certificate. No fuss, no muss, but I’d rather fuss and muss a LOT if it meant I’d save even part of that 400. At the worst, assuming I got my birth certificate ‘retranslated’ and stamped, or even if I had to order a whole new copy, get it mailed and get it translated, the experience STILL wouldn’t run me 400 euro.

We’re reaching out to other friends, both lawyers and non-lawyers, about different price quotes. If 400 euro truly is the market price for a stamp, then I’ll pass, and simply call my translator and wait to file the paperwork myself. Even if it means we’re waiting until September!


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