After the birth of Livia, it was a mad rush to get her a passport as we were leaving for Canada on December 15th, not quite a month after her birth. We applied for both a Canadian and a French passport thinking the odds were pretty high that one of them would arrive in time, right? Ayva's French passport had taken 11 days to arrive so we thought the French would arrive first.
The days passed quite quickly and with our departure date looming we started to freak out a bit as neither passport had arrived. Henri checked in quite regularly at the Mairie (Mayor's office/town hall) as that is where the French passport would be sent when it was available. They never had any helpful information and they told Henri that there used to be phone number that you could call to check on the status, but they stopped that because too many people called it. Um, nice.
So Henri started trying to track down the status on the Canadian passport. The first go around they rejected Livia's pictures because there was "a slight shadow on the side of her face". Do you know how hard it is to take a newborn's picture within the strict parameters they have these days? Anyway we got re-takes and these were approved. By this time, Henri was on a first-name basis with the lady at the Canadian Embassy in Paris who was handling our file. They exchanged phone calls and emails - she was really great keeping us informed. When she called to tell us that the passport was on the plane from Ottawa and would be in Paris on Friday we were ecstatic until we realized that there was a big chance it wouldn't arrive in Corsica in time for our departure on Sunday. There is postal delivery on Saturdays, but only until noon. We didn't like the odds, so Henri actually flew to Paris to pick it up. It was a lot cheaper to do that than to have to re-book our trip. (The Canadian Embassy is not far from Le Champs Elysee all decorated beautifully for Christmas. A perfect place to find a special present for me, right? Ha ha. Henri spent the time in between his flights in a McDonalds as it had free WiFi.)
Fast forward to when we got back from our trip. We picked up our mail at our cousin's, thinking the French passport would be there. Nope. But Livia is now the proud owner of a carte nationale d'intentité. That's great for 20 years from now when she writes checks and needs proof of identification, but she can't travel on that. On the form Henri filled out, you can mark either passport or carte nationale d'intentité and he was sure that he marked passport. This was verified when he called my old buddies at the préfrecture. The lady he spoke with even spoke English and she confirmed that yes, he had marked the correct box and yes, they had made a mistake. Did she say, "I'm so sorry, we'll get right on that. You'll have your passport asap." Ha ha ha. Henri asked if they could just take all the paperwork/pictures they still have on file and actually do the passport this time. She said no and that he would have to do everything over again. Henri was almost speechless. And the kicker? It now costs money to apply for one when last year it was free.
Only in France...