Today, something really great came in the mail, quite unexpectedly: my French birth certificate!
It came with a cover letter from Nantes, the city that houses the central registry for all of France's civil documents: births, deaths, marriages, divorces and much more are registered here. If you can't locate a copy of an important document in your local town in France, you contact someone in Nantes and they send you an official copy.
So now, I have two copies, along with instructions on how to go online to order more, whenever I may need one. Because the standard in France is to add other "life events" to your birth certificate, so that it becomes a single documented record of your birth, marriages, divorces and (eventual) death, it is usually the case that when you need an official copy, it must be a recent copy issued within the past 3 months, so you're constantly having to get new copies at different points in your life. Nice to know it's easy to do online these days! In my case, it also lists the date I applied for citizenship and the date when this was officially recorded, because of course my place of birth, and that of my parents, is listed as the United States.
I was surprised to receive the birth certificate so soon, because I thought it would be included in the packet of documents I will receive at the naturalization ceremony on Thursday afternoon. But with the birth certificate I can now go and apply for a passport, identity card and even register to vote for next year!
This just gets better and better, this becoming French thing. Last night, Georges made me sing La Marseillaise for the kids. I think they were surprised that I knew the words by heart (I have known them for many years, long before I moved here) and also that I really can sing! (And I followed up with the Star Spangled Banner for good measure.) I'll get to sing it again on Thursday as part of the ceremony, along with the other new citoyens. Vive la France!