Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

The Power of the Village

Hello World!  This is JM’s first post.

France is famous for its bureaucracy.  But we’ve discovered that the natives are aware of this, they help each other simplify things, take short-cuts and make their lives more enjoyable in spite of it. Indeed, we’ve seen that this part of Provence is about the community and helping each other out.  This “community approach” here in the village has become quite apparent during our first hectic week, when many people went out of their ways to help us get settled.

Case in point:  We tried getting cell phones a couple of days ago.  The lady at the store was very friendly and helpful at explaining the variety of phone plans in their intricate levels of details.  However, we hit a snag.  In order to have an affordable plan, it needed a contract, which needed a bank account.  But getting a bank account in France requires a utility bill under our name which, of course, we don’t have since we are “seasonal” renters.

Coming to the rescue is our friendly neighborhood village Mayor!  I saw him last Sunday at the local café and I explained our bank account dilemma.  His reply:  “Let me talk to the local bank manager, first thing Monday morning, and see what I can do”.  The bank was closed on Monday, but the Mayor was going to see the bank manager socially.

Monday morning, 11am.  Someone knocks at our door.  The Mayor shows up, with a smile and a formal letter in hand complete with the official seal of the village.  The letter states that we are residing in the village and have the full rights of a local resident.  Problem solved!  When we went to the bank the next day, we were welcomed immediately and had an account that day.

Merci Monsieur le Maire!  (Thank you Mr. Mayor!)

7 Responses to “The Power of the Village”

  1. Bob Meade says:

    C’est magnifique!

  2. patti says:

    Wow. That is … beautiful! I love it.

  3. Maha says:

    Wow, it’s like you’re living in a fantasy!

  4. dad says:

    do ya’ suppose we could get a message to Canada about this?

  5. martin says:

    Toujours pratique d’avoir une couple de VIP dans nos contacts! -rire-

  6. Benoit Lamarche says:

    Often complicated situations bring the best out of people, as you can attest!

  7. Debbie says:

    Simply awesome. That would have never happened in the US.