Using the Mairie

I thought I would just share an experience we have just had, as sometimes there are stories with negative comments regarding French systems and how difficult they can be.

A week past on Thursday, I went to put my new 3 monthly renewal of one of the cars insurance, into the envelope that we keep in the car. To my horror, I could not find it anywhere in the car, my wife and I searched the entire house and our other 3 vehicles in case it had been put in one of the others by mistake but no, we found nothing. So this meant the cars Carte Grise, Control Technique and old Insurance paper were all missing. We knew when it was there but concluded, that the plastic enveloped had been put into the door pocket and not into the glove compartment, as is the norm and had unfortunately fallen out and was gone.

My first thoughts were, oh dear the horror of trying to get a renewal, or words to that effect. We had previously used the services of the Mairie to change my wifes License and to register a change of vehicle, so off we went with all appropriate paperwork, including utility bill and self addressed stamped envelope. At the Marie we encountered the first issue, the missing CT, the lady was surprised that we kept all that paperwork in the car, we had been told by the the English couple we bought the house from some 5 years ago and others, that that was the law. No she said, all you need to carry is the Carte Grise. Anyway off we went to the CT centre, explained what had happened, duplicate CT handed over, back to the house to fill in the two forms the lady had given us. Looked at the time and it was 5 minutes to 12, whoa lunch time. Drive quickly to the Mairie where the lady was waiting for us. She checked all the paperwork, wrote a cheque, she gave me an atestation stating that I had reported the loss and that would keep me legal until the new one arrived.

Less than one week later the new Carte Grise arrived, deep joy. So in essence, we have used the service of the Mairie 3 times with great success, we did not have to drive over an hour to our local Prefecture, wait in a queue, not know what reception we might get and we now know the definitive answer to what documents to carry in the car. The service we received from the Mairie was fantastic and is available to all and I would recommend using them for any issue or problem. Hope that has been of interest.

Ditto this.

The power and importance of the Mairie, even in a tiny village, comes as quite a surprise to newly arrived Brits.

Even British financial institutions don't seem to know that the Mairie is the first port-of-call for proof of identity or residence. They usually ask for copy documents certified by a solicitor or accountant. But I just go to the Mairie with a translation of the English language document and get them to sign and apply their official stamp. So far, this has proved entirely acceptable to the DWP and financial services providers. So either they know this is OK, or they just give it a quick glance and accept it because it looks official.

I have to say that this often depends upon the size of the Mairie. Ours is tiny and I am sure that our secretary would not be able, or willing, to help as you say.

We have a Postale Commune in the village, but nearly everyone uses the real Post Office in the next village as the advice and welcome there are second to none.

I have personally always found the Mairies in both Mielan and Mirande to be extremely helpful and accommodating if I have had any problems. Hope that we retain them!

I would say our mairie is similarly helpful. The previous maire stepped down in 2012 with 'irregularities' and rudeness to his discredit but the secretary has always been good. Now the replacement maire (until the election perhaps) will even go to get yellow recycling sacks - it is not beneath his mayoral dignity - then have a chat about things in our outpost of the commune, need for road repairs and such things. Need a signature, go with an empty bladder for the coffee and half an hour for chit-chat. All the moans and groans from people sometimes defeat me although I know there are lots of fiefdoms where the maires run their commune as if it was an independent country of which they are king for life...

that's a lovely post Sandy - our Mairie is lovely - everyone helpful, charming, funny, knowledgeable.

(other than google) it's the first place we turn turn in any sort of quandry or emergency