Today was the day we decided to tackle the french health service.
Monsieur Sarkozy, in his wisdom, brought out a bill that meant that early retirees moving to France had to be seen to be resident and paying taxes for 5 years to be part of the french health service (CPAM).
This year, our 5 years is up. So we gathered all the paperwork we could think of, including some 'they can't want that, but take it anyway' and set off for the office in Perigueux, a 45 minute drive. We knew where it was and found somewhere to park, took our ticket to join the queue and sat down to wait. We seemed to be part of the local immigrant community but we had 'MIGRANT' firmly written on our file, so we were obviously in the right place. Hurrah, ticket holder nos 38, 39 and 40 weren't there (where had they gone?) so we were soon at the table of Madame G.
I explained in my carefully rehearsed french what we wanted.
'You need a form S1.'
'Are you sure, no-one has ever mentioned that before?'
'Yes, get a form S1 each, fill it in and come back.'
Nothing to do but say 'ok' and retreat defeated.
So now we are home, looking up Form S1 on the internet. According to everything we can find, S1 only refers to people who have a state pension. So then start searching for the CPAM english helpline number.
'Do you think they are really english and work through lunch?'
'Don't know, give it a go'
'Exceptionally the helpline is closed today, please call any day between 9 and 5.'
I expect they're on strike!