Having recently moved house, I am forced to contact all my agencies to inform them of my new details. My accountant assured me however that this process would not be as harrowing as when I first arrived – because this time I am ‘in the system’.

What he neglected to point out was that this does not necessarily involve any less paperwork. While my UK bank was happy to take my word for it, my french bank wanted to see a utility bill as proof. I took a utility bill with me when I visited URSSAF – the social services, but I still had to fill out a long form even though the agent in question had my record on computer – right in front of him! At the health assurance place – the utility bill was appreciated, but they asked me to write a letter instead detailing the changes – so I wrote one there and then.
I have yet to inform INSEE, the inland revenue, customs, my dentist … but to be frank I’m losing enthusiasm for this unendearing aspect of French life.

Thankfully one institution, for all my grumbles, is happy to do it all online – La Poste – the postal service set up my mail forwarding service without requiring me to step into a branch, pick up a phone nor fill out any paperwork.

Miracles do happen.