Thursday, December 9, 2010

Naturalized Framerican

As the next step in my frenchification process, I had to attend a naturalization ceremony. I’ve never been one for ceremonial hoopla but since attending was mandatory to receive the documents proving that I am now a frogette, I braved the cold and traipsed to Rue des Ursins in the 4th.

I’m used to anything having to do with the prefecture taking a long time. Even when you receive a letter stating to arrive at X hour, you usually have to take a number and wait. So I decided that it would be a good idea to get to the location early. It wasn’t. Another lady and I arrived at 12:30 (the letter stated 13:00) only to be told to come back 5 to 10 minutes before 13:00. Have I mentioned that I’m not a fan of cold weather?

When I went back around 12:50, there were a lot of people waiting outside. We were directed upstairs and after waiting in a small room, we were brought in 3 groups into the naturalization room. We watched a film on what it means to be French and the Sous-Directeur (I can’t remember his name) went on and on about the many famous French people who were originally from elsewhere. We stood and sang La Marseillaise. Fortunately, the words were provided since I don’t know anything past “le jour de gloire est arrivé”.

After singing the national anthem each person’s name was read in alphabetical order, and we went up to get our packet and kiss the Sous-Directeur (the men gave a handshake). We numbered about 100, and there were a lot of people from the Maghreb countries. The rest were from other parts of Africa, Asia, South America and a few were from Europe. There was even one man from Italy. Not surprisingly, I was the only American.

To see the video on what it means to become French click here and to view photos from a previous ceremony click here.


c'est Jeff ici said...

Dod the process entail a lot of study? Did you have pass a test? How long did it take from the time you started until you became a French citizen?

A Seattleite in Paris said...

There's no test to take, so I didn't have to study at all. I did have to do an "interview", but that was basically to prove that I could understand and speak French. The biggest pain was getting all of the paperwork needed to submit, fortunately my parents helped with that. The process took about a year and 3 to 4 months from turning in the paperwork to receiving the decision.

Betty C. said...

I got my nationality a few years back and never got invited to the well-known ceremony. I feel a bit cheated.

Pepe Le Pew said...

Since you're now a Frenchie, can we Americans start making fun of you now?

A Seattleite in Paris said...

Betty - If I had known that in advance, you couldn't gone in my place.

Pepe - Not sure about that. Should I respond with American sarcasm or French snootiness? ;)

Christopher said...

Congrats to you.

The rate things are going here in the USA, we may be joining you in the EU very soon. Not France but perhaps Spain, or Italy, or even Greece.

Things in America are going downhill very quickly and Obama seems unable or incapable of fixing what Bush managed to ruin in eight short years.

Again, congrats to you!

A Seattleite in Paris said...

Christopher - you're more than welcome to pop across the pond and join us expats. I love Italy, but FYI - I've heard the red tape is much worse than in France.