April 10, 2008

Marseille - One More Step on the Path to French Citizenship

The alarm sounded far to early Tuesday morning.

An 8:15 AM train out of Narbonne means leaving our house at 7:30 at the latest. The train going over was a TGV so stops were minimal: Sete, Montpellier, Nimes, Arles, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille. (I never realized that Avignon was only 2 hours from Narbonne by train. I love Avignon!)
Armed with a map, a good book, my camera, paperwork for the Consulate and a list of cheese shops pinpointed on the map, I was ready for a full day.

The transition from the train station to the Metro went without a hitch. I found my stop and came above ground to get my bearings. By now it was 11 AM. Three hours until my appointment.

Off to find the first cheese shop, le Normandy.

I walked and walked. And walked.
None of the cross streets names were appearing on my map, a fact that didn't worry me too much since I'd printed it from viaMichelin.com and wasn't sure how detailed it was. Finally I came upon a large boulevard and another Metro stop. Turns out I was walking in the wrong direction! For 40 minutes.
That is so like me...one of these days I'll learn to just ignore my instincts and go the exact opposite direction that I think I should.
Retracing my steps and walking 15 minutes in the right direction, I found le Normandy. (and yes, all of the streets were on the map)

The aroma upon entering was pure, in-your-face cheese heaven! They had a nice, varied selection and some gorgeous looking Camembert from Normany. One of the only cheeses available that I haven't already tried was a brebis from Corsica, so I bought a piece for la Fête du Fromage.

After a decent lunch in a busy little brasserie, I checked in with the guards at the Consulate, passed through the metal detectors and went to get my signed document from the Consul General.
The process required $30 and took about 35 minutes in total. The paper I received, the equivalent of an extrait de casier judiciaire étranger, required my swearing to the fact that I've never been convicted of a crime nor filed for bankruptcy. Piece of cake.

Now it was 2:35. My train wasn't departing until 4:45. The other cheese shop on my list, l'Art de la Fromagerie, didn't look too far away, so I made sure I was going the right direction and set off. Several long hilly blocks later I found the shop. Fermé.
Oh well. There was still plenty of window shopping at Zara and H &M to keep me busy until my train. (my feet weren't that sore and swollen, really)

I finally got home about 8:30 PM. My husband and I had a celebratory glass of local red, had a bite to eat and I collapsed in bed.

This morning I triumphantly took my entire, completed Demande d'Acquisition de la Nationalité Française dossier to the Mairie and turned it in.

Now I wait.
For possibly up to 18 months. Pin It
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