I'll get back to the Burgundy trip report soon. Right now, I want to post some photos I took in Paris, while the experience is fresh in my memory. I went there yesterday because I needed to get a document notarized (U.S. term; légalisé in French) at the U.S. Embassy on the Place de la Concorde.
When I got to the Place de la Concorde at 10 a.m., the top of the Eiffel Tower, in the distance, was shrouded in low clouds.
Why the légalisation? Walt is going to start taking a retirement pension from California in December, and because California is a community property state, he is required to have a notification form signed by his spouse (me) and notarized. The spouse, by law, must be made aware of the pension being collected, and California wants proof. France doesn't have notary publics, so I had to go to the U.S. Embassy — the consulate, actually — to see a notary — a consul, actually — for the official stamp and seal.
A quiet moment on the Place de la Concorde in Paris (29 October 2014)
To get an appointment at the U.S. Consulate — these days, you can't just walk in — you have to make an appointment weeks in advance for a specific day and time.There are two security checkpoints to go through before you can enter the building. You're not allowed to take any electronic devices in, so they have to be left at the second security desk. That includes cameras, computers, tablets, and mobile phones. The consulate says it can't be held responsible if any device is lost. I also was not allowed to take in a Chapstick that I had with me.
The traffic on the Place de la Concorde can look kind of chaotic, but it flows well.
That's the Eglise de la Madeleine in the background.
I arrived early for my 10:30 a.m. appointment and I had to wait around outside for 30 minutes before I could be admitted. When I did get in, there were at least 100 people seated in a big waiting room where there are a couple of dozen teller-style windows with big screens that display the ticket number of the current or next "customer" to be taken care of. People are there to get visas for travel to the U.S., new U.S. passports, or, like me, to get a document notarized or make a sworn statement in front of a consul.
About the first thing I saw when I left the consulate was this bus. Maybe I could have hitched a ride home on it. The ZooParc de Beauval is just two miles from our house outside Saint-Aignan.
At 10:30 sharp, I was called to a window. The whole process took only 20 minutes — I was amazed, because in July 2013 I had to go make a sworn statement at the same place, and because I had an afternoon appointment, I had to cool my heals for a couple of hours. Morning appointments (a new feature) are the way to go, and getting there early to be the first in line really helps. I walked out with my notarized document, carrying the raised seal of the U.S. federal government. It cost me $50 U.S.
Looking up the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe
Okay, I didn't plan to write all that. It just flowed out. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate complex is on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, just at the eastern end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and not far from the Louvre and the Seine. You can see the Eiffel Tower from there. The Place de la Concorde is an expansive space that is often filled with speeding cars and lumbering buses. I took some photos, above. Click or tap on the images to see them at a larger size.
I had to have some documents certified as true copies by a 'public notary' using a stamp that said 'public notary'. I discussed it with our notaire as her stamp just says 'Notaire', her name and the address of the office, and she signs over it. She pointed out that all notaires are public officials in France, but to be sure she laboriously wrote out a long phrase on every page which said something like '...appointed under Act of Law suchandsuch...' and the Australian officials didn't comment about it. I emailed them to relay what the Notaire had said to me though.ReplyDelete
The document I needed notarized was time-sensitive. Unless it is accepted by the people in California within 30 days of the time Walt sends in his application to start collecting his retirement benefits, they will cancel his application. I don't know what would happen at that point. It seemed safer to have the document stamped and the seal applied by the U.S. consul in Paris rather than by a French notaire.Delete
I love the first picture, Ken... superbe!!ReplyDelete
Says Autumn to me... and brings back memories.
The first and last time I was in the Place de la Concorde...
Pauline and I were in our red 2CV....
just one of 3,500+ 2CVs and other A-Series Citroëns in convoy around Paris....
during the Friday rush hour...
celebrating the 50th Anniversaire of the 2CV!!
It was quite something... and there were H-Vans and Tractions joining in as well.
Lots of joyous honking from the celebrants...
lots of angry honking from those trying to go home....
and the gendarmes merely shrugging and waving us onward!!
You can't go wrong if you've followed the official route. Inside the consulate, you were in the USA! But did it feel like going home? PaulineReplyDelete
No,it did not feel like being at home. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was a crowd scene overseen by a lot of officious security agents and bureaucrats.Delete
"a crowd scene overseen by a lot of officious security agents and bureaucrats." - pick any building in washington dc and you have the same crap! ;-)ReplyDelete
ah, but paris is still the same - beautiful and chaotic!
I guess the tight, invasive security is a necessity these days, but I hate it. And I remember the days when I used to be able to just walk in to the embassy when I needed something done there.Delete
For some reason, that second photo especially, has the look of an old color photo of Paris from the 50s... I think it's the overcast skies. Glad your experience went well!ReplyDelete
The light in Paris was really pretty on Wednesday, especially toward noon and during the afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through the city. So many memories, almost ghosts, everywhere there for me.Delete
Superbes photos de la place de la Concorde, mais où sont les voitures?ReplyDelete
It's vacation time for Parisians, CHM. La Toussaint. Paris had a lot of tourists in it but not so many residents were in evidence.Delete
The last photo is my favorite. The summer I was in Paris I used to have lunch at a place on the Champs E called "le Pub" and walked there after getting my mail at the American Express on Rue Scribe.ReplyDelete
Seeing the Beauval Zoo bus was an odd coincidence.
That pub on the Champs might have been the Pub Renault. I used to enjoy going there for a club sandwich or a hamburger. I also remember going to movies on the Champs-Elysées many times.Delete
nice and interesting photos of Paris..And thr Arch is so famous landmarkReplyDelete
Pub Renault now has a Michelin-starred chef. Gary Kraut, a friend, travel professional, and blogger just posted this guest post: http://francerevisited.com/2014/10/on-the-champs-elysees-dining-a-la-carte/ReplyDelete
Oui, c'est ca Le Pub Renault- I have an oval ash tray from there. It was a nice place and I thought you probably were there.ReplyDelete
PS I usually had a salad nicoise.ReplyDelete
My goodness, what a palaver (I'm trying to imagine how one could possibly terrorise an embassy with a chapstick - sticking it up someone's nostril might mildly embarrass them, I grant). But it must be a relief to know California is protecting your interests.ReplyDelete
Comme toujours très belles photosReplyDelete