Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Stand up and get thee counted!
So yesterday I discovered that when your child reaches the age of 16 s/he has a month in which to go to the mairie for a recensement. Very biblical if you ask me. Oh youth of France, come forth and be counted when ye hit the age of la majorité minus 2 years. How you're expected to know if you're not French I'm not sure. I've never seen one of these posters.
We went to the mairie with the required bits of paper (id, proof of my address, livret de famille which I have yet to send to wherever it is to rectify my marital status. I'm probably in dead trouble about that... expect thee a fine!) and waited while the lady sat in front of the computer filling it all in.
"You're a bit late" she said (my son's birthday was last September).
"Did we receive a letter about this requirement?" I asked.
"Oh no, she said, you're just supposed to know."
"Well I'm English and I had no idea" I said.
"Never mind" she said, "that's a good excuse."
So the bit about going within a month of your sixteenth birthday is flexible it seems. She was actually impressed that my son's passport was valid. Often kids go with out-of-date identification. This is a bugger because they'd first have to apply for valid id before they can get the recensement attestation. As they need this attestation to sit their Bac it could get a bit hairy. My son is sitting part one of his Bac next week. He was given the list of papers necessary to validate his application on Monday (he says).
He was also give some information about some civil duty day they all have to attend which is supposed to have something to do with national security. I asked if it meant they would learn how to fire, clean and use a gun. Apparently not, it involves sitting on a chair for several hours and being told some stuff. I wonder if they also have to read 'Papa porte une robe' too just for good measure while they're at it. Or maybe by 16 they are too old and cynical to have gender theory rammed down their throats. That's being reserved for the little mites in CP aged 6.
Back to military service, I was sitting in the hairdressers this afternoon and asked Jordan who was doing my hair if he had had to do it. It was abolished several years ago but I wasn't sure if he had caught the last wave or was too young.
"Heavens no" he laughed (in French), "can you imagine me asking if I could take along my nail varnish?!"
He's a right merry one is Jordan (and yes he is). He had to sit through being told stuff though, with or without nail varnish...
My son has yet to have the pleasure of this precious moment as I only found out about it today when we got the attestation. My son apparently knew about it because he has friends who have done it, but of course didn't think to tell me...
Anyway, a heads up then, for all foreigners who don't know that 16 is an important age in France and that all kiddies have to get down to the mairie, to stand up and be counted.
Tags : Boys, France, Recensement
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What fun, Sarah! This post nicely fills in the background of all those small announcements in the individual commune sections of our local French newspaper. I always wondered what the 16year-olds were expected to do. :-)ReplyDelete
Well there you go then. I'm glad I've got that sorted out for you. :)Delete
Just in case they had slipped under the radar before...cop them when they sit their bac....ReplyDelete
Indeed, it could be REALLY serious! It would be helpful if the schools could send round an email in Seconde reminding parents a) that it has to be done and b) that they need valid id!Delete
I read the title on this and immediately new what your post was going to be about..... I went through the exact same experience recently, when Bigfoot annouced that he had to be registered at the Mairie. I was a bit surprised, as we haven't said he died since we recorded his birth, and the French income form tax still has him on there. Bigfoot is also a September '96 baby. What I do like is the threatening stance on the gouvernment website: if you don't register your 16 year-old withing three months, they aren't allowed to do their bac exam, their driving license or any other official exam until it's done, until their 25th birthday! The Mairie sorted it out quickly for me, but I asked the same question as you: Are the French genetically programmed to know this?ReplyDelete
Well done Bigfoot for being so on the ball. It took a week before the Bac before I got to hear about it! Thank goodness the rules about signing on were flexible!! Has he also done his civil fun-day?Delete
I was surprised too that it had to be done but the French seem fixated on renewing obvious information, like getting a birth certificate copy that's less than 3 months old. Keeps the fonctionnaires busy perhaps... :)
Bigfoot found out from his pals at the lycée, who were already getting their official "invites" for civic duty days. I think it's a remnant of military service days, where they had to be on an official data base to be called up for service. I looked at a few forums, and the day nowseems to be used to check their jabs are up to date, check they can read and write, and show them that the French military is worthy of their respect. Big Brother is watching you...Delete
I'm sure the French military would be a lot more worthy of respect if they got the proper funding. From what I read hereDelete
that is not going to happen. In Mali they were using 40yr old material and vehicles without air con. Not very up to standard but it could be to ensure they don't try and pull off a coup d'état... Now that would be interesting!
Hello! New Follower here! (am I shouting?) sorry. follower #104 here.ReplyDelete
Found you via your comment to About Last Weekend. Now looking forward to reading back on your posts. I view this less as a duty - more a privilege.
Hello and welcome Linda! Thank you for your kind words. I'll pop over to your blog too. :)Delete
How funny that you're just "supposed to know" about 16th b-day requirements. That's actually quite endearing and quaint. Of course i would be the one who did not know. Also that that is "a good excuse" (the not knowing). I wish there was more of that in my life...ReplyDelete
I wonder if there's a 'born knowing' gene that the French have. I'm wondering what else I'm supposed to know and whether I've missed anything!! What you don't know you can't worry about too I suppose. :)Delete
I guess deep down though they are known for their chic they are also buracratic (sp?) tooDelete
Yes, that sums up the situation quite well. I live near a major military base in Lyon and if I'm out and about of a Monday morning at about 8:30 I can see a line of tired and bleary-eyed teenagers standing glumly at the gate of the place they have to go. They look as fed up as it's possible to be and I've rarely even seen them talking. As to the military staff working there, I know one of them and he says they hate Monday mornings because they have to 'put up with seeing this slovenly bunch standing around and smoking during their breaks whilst spewing out swear words and smutty jokes'.ReplyDelete
Oh, well that's something my sons have to look forward to!!Delete
How completely bizarre! Is this just a means of maintaining civil servants in jobs?ReplyDelete
It could be a means of keeping tabs on who's who, like the id card is not enough...Delete
Are your sons French? I can't remember any of this going on with the girls but none haave taken out French nationality yet though daughter no 2 was told she couldn't train to be an army dog handler because a) she wasn't French and b) (we got the impression this was the real reason) she doesn't pee standing up - offical excuse she's not going to be strong enough.ReplyDelete
My sons were born here and have a French father and a French passport so they are half French, but I think it's a civil defence thing. What's scary is that they can't sit their Bac without the attestation!Delete
Well, France is full of silly bureaucratic things like this. Do you even have a 'livret de famille' in Britain? I have never seen one. That said, this recensement thing must be a new: I don't remember having to register at 16. Things have got even more complicated! Great!ReplyDelete
No UK livret de famille, and just one marriage certificate which you're supposed to hang on to, not sure what happens when you get divorced...Delete
The French seem to love keeping tabs on everyone and having ways of identifying who is alive/married/dead/vaccinated etc. There's a booklet, or piece of paper for every circumstance!
It's sounds as mad and as complicated as Italy.ReplyDelete
When I applied for Italian residency, Mrs Sensible told me a policeman would call, to make sure I did live in the house.
When will he call and how do I prove I live here, should I show him I know what is in the cupboards??
Anyway, 2 days later the local policeman turned up, stuck his head through the front door, said Va bene! and left.
Oh, so no cosy chat and request to use the loo so they find out if you know where it is... ? :)Delete
All males in the good ol US of A, at the age of eighteen, are required by law to register with the Selective Service, even though a military draft no longer exists. Had my father not informed me, several days before I turned eighteen, I would have never known.ReplyDelete
Nice to know we're not the only strange people in the world.
I'm glad such madness goes on elsewhere too. :)Delete
What a strange system! I'm relieved you got it sorted on time. And don't teenagers frustrate you when they tell you either too late or just in time something which is important.ReplyDelete
My husband says the day of civil service (JAPD) was just a big waste of time, but he got a neat mechanical pencil out of it. I think the original idea was to explain ways young French citizens can serve their country (in replacement of having them actually serve in the military), but now everyone just goes through the motions. Girls have to do it now as well as boys (as opposed to the past military service and the American selective service registration).ReplyDelete