I'm calling them “famous” after all I've heard about them. After so many years away from France, needless to say I had quite a fair amount of administrative update to do. And all my friends had been unanimous: you are going to go through HELL.
It's not that I had to do a lot of stuff, but all of it depended on a different administration: a new ID, a new social security card, change the paperwork of the car I was inheriting from my mom, update my professional status (and at the same time add my name to the already long list of unemployed people in France) and go to set up my unemployment allowance.
Listening to everybody, this would take me at least a month. And my dad to add that I wouldn't be able to find a parking spot anywhere close by so i'll have to walk miles!
I called the city hall to ask what I needed to apply for a new ID (mine had expired some 15 years prior LOL). I brought them what they needed, was attended in 5 minutes, had my digital prints taken, they told me I would take 2 months to get it, I received it 2 weeks later.
I then called the Social Security offices for the same motive: the list of paperwork I needed to apply for my new SS card. I drove the 20 km I had to, found a parking spot right in front of the office, took a number, and sat down in the waiting room. Expecting to wait a good half hour, I started to organize my papers so spread myself all over, and was about to take my book out when my number was called. I hadn't been sitting for more than 2 minutes. The guy checked my stuff, said everything was in order, told me it'd take about 2 months to get my card. I received it 10 days later.
And again with the Prefecture for my car's paperwork. I was in and out there in about 10 minutes and got my “carte grise” (that's the car's ID) less than a week later (and my new licence plate on the spot …)
The unemployment office is called Pole Emploi in France so i'll call it PE from now on. Went there, they told me i'd have to do it all over again once i've moved to another region (as I was planning to) so I hold it up for when i'd be settled down. Called for an appointment, got the operator in 2 minutes, an appointment for the following week, met my counselor found out I could get an allowance for being a French citizen coming back from abroad, had a list of paperwork to bring back for that. When I got back a few days later with all they needed, I was in and out in less than 5 minutes.
And last but not least, went to set up my unemployment allowance (I never understood why it's not at PE that you do that but you know, why simple when things can be complicated?). Again, list of papers to bring back and a form to fill up. Went back a few days later, and again, was in and out in less than 5 minutes.
So I must say, i'm either extremely lucky or French admins are not that bad... I normally don't believe in luck. But maybe I should buy a lottery ticket! LOL