Saturday, 27 June 2015

The interview, or Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (part 3 of 6)

For part 1, click here, for part 2 click here.

Oh la la la, Marianne
Although we had planned our trip allowing for some delays, we arrived panting and sweating at the counter in Mâcon at 11h00 sharp, due to some tractors on the roads and the fact that 50% of the huge parking area nearby was closed off, and hence there were hardly any free spaces there. But anyway, French are never in time, and coming late seemed to be an auspicious way to start the process of becoming French. Besides, the interviewer was also not yet there. After waiting for 10 minutes I was taken into an office for the interview.

The motto of the République
The woman taking the interview turned out to be a very friendly woman. She wanted to know why I ended up living in France, what I was doing at this moment in time, whether I took part in local life, what I liked about France in particular, and, but she saved that one for last, why I would want to become a French citizen. In between there were some more questions, one of which was "I have to ask you this: What do you think a democracy is". When I started my answer with "A democracy is a political system in which the people….", she interrupted me saying "O, that is fine, you may stop, this suffices"; and at that point I thought this could not go wrong anymore.

And indeed, after 15 minutes of interview and five minutes of reading and signing a number of things I had read in the booklet, I was released with the promise that the paperwork would be processed in 6 to 12 months, and that after that I would be invited to a ceremony with the prefect in Mâcon, or, since there are some organisational changes in the pipe line, in Dijon. She added that I did not have to be there in person at all cost, but since we like Dijon very much…. We would not really mind to go there.
To be continued, hopefully soon.

Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Dossier, or Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (part 2 of 6)

For part 1, click here.

Livret du Citoyen
On the 18th of May we could go back to Mâcon to hand in the dossier. There they checked all the paperwork, they found it adequate and at the end told me that I would receive an invitaltion for an interview before the end of July. I received a booklet, required to be read as part of the citizenship course. The booklet was, although concise quite interesting. It explained in simple terms how the French political system works, that France is a parliamentarian democracy, that France knows a strict separation of church and state, how France is split up in regions and departments, and for those who are into history it contained a time line ranging from the caves of Lascaux via Clovis, Jeanne d'Arc, the Bourbons, the Revolution, the first and the second world wars and the Vichy regime to De Gaulle and the fifth Republic. I asked whether I had to learn all regions, departments and their capitals by heart, and the answer was a bit evasive. I got the impression that the whole thing sounded more serious than it was.
On May 21 an envelope in a familiar handwriting fell in the letterbox; it was one of the self-addressed envelopes I had to hand in with the dossier, and it contained an invitation for "the" interview in the near future.

Envelope addressed to myself
To be continued.

Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

How to become French?, or Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (part 1 of 6)

Mid-April 2015 we entered the prefecture in Mâcon in order to find out what exactly was needed to obtain French citizenship.

Préfecture - Mâcon
In the prefecture there is a special office for Naturalisations, there was no queue at the counter, and hence we were immediately dealt with by a very friendly lady. Just to be safe instead of sorry we had brought along our thick folder with "important papers". It helps enormously when one can actually show that an international birth certificate issued by Dutch authorities has a French text as well, and ask the French official whether this would suffice or not.

Folder with important papers
Fortunately the answer to the question was yes, and we finally went home with a long list of required official papers, and of other things we had to sort out. Two identical long forms had to be filled in, we had to pay legal dues, four pass photos (French style) had to be supplied, they wanted three envelopes addressed to myself and stamped, and further a wide range of papers of which the only one that might cause some problems was the declaration of good conduct. This is only issued in Dutch (and English) by the Dutch authorities, and hence it needed an official French translation.

French pass photos
After this my homework began. Most papers from the Dutch town halls could be obtained via the internet. A list with all my home addresses from my birth up to now gave a few more problems, but in the end I managed to come up with a list. I think that in the end I only guessed the house number of one of the addresses. The next problem was the list with all the employers I had worked for. But again, with the help of the testimonials I received over the years, this was not such a chore after all. I found an official (court) translator in Nîmes who could produce (and very quickly) a translation of the declaration of good conduct at a reasonable price.

Court translater
We only went back once to Mâcon to ask for some explanation of one of the questions, and after that everything seemed to be under control. The only thing we were waiting for were the papers from the Netherlands.
To be continued.
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Guitares en Cormatinois

After months of preparations we are almost there again: the first concert in our festival series is about to take place.

Guitares en Cormatinois 2015
Dates and names can be found on attached flyer, and what to expect can be derived from the name of the program in combination with mentioned composers. Nevertheless a few minor remarks about some concerts:
I would categorise the Franceries Sound Connection under world music. How this combination works out I would not know, but a previous concert with a bandoneon player (music by a.o. Piazzolla) was a must.

Ticket sales - Chazelle
Jérémy Jouve was last year’s big surprise at the festival. He is a young, very talented classical guitarist with an interesting, thorough program. I would not like to miss him this year, and I personally rank him higher than Emmanuel Rossfelder, one of the regular crowd pullers of our festival.

Irish Kind Of is, as the name suggests, a (French) group specialised in Irish folk music. Hence no shortage of reels, hornpipes and gigs!

Jérémy Jouve - 2014
Of Philippe Mouratoglou I can only give his website. Of those artists not mentioned in this blog I simply have not found a sound bite.
All concerts are in Chazelle’s church, entrance fee € 15 pp (€ 12 is for benefactors of the foundation).
Reservations through the phone numbers on the flyer, or through us.

Chazelle's church
The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.