Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Church Giggles - Getting PACsed in France

9h30 was our appointment in the Courthouse in Perpignan last Friday morning to get our Pacte Civil de Solidarité or PACs as it's commonly known here in France.
The PACs status was introduced in 1999 in France, mainly to help same sex unions legimitise their partnerships ( Gay marriage is still illegal in France, see here). However, interestingly, only 6% of PACs since then have been same sex unions with two out of every three "marriages" now opting for the PACs route. Also, only 15% of PACs relationships are annulled whilst the divorce rate for traditional marriage in France is over 50%.
As we passed tattooed knuckled types shuffling around, scowling and sucking on their cigarettes on the steps of the court, any little hint of a romantic notion evaporated. When we were frisked down, my handbag emptied and made walk though an xray machine, we started having the church giggles.
"What are ye in here for?" the burly security man glared at us as if we were hardened crims, me in my best Sunday outfit 'n all
"Well, uh, we have an appointment at 09h30 to get PACsed" we giggled
Off we were sent "up to the first étage, take a left, then a second left, then another left and at the end of the corridor, sit yourselves down and someone will see to you" 
Righto, we were waiting for about 30 seconds when a stern looking just PACsed French couple filed out, studiously underdressed in their ironed jeans and pristine white matching converse sneakers.
Gulp, here we go, our turn, says I to Mr Getrealfrance, let's just hope we have all the paperwork, I silently prayed to good ole St Anthony as we marched in to the office.
Anyway, the commissioner of oaths turned out to be an unusually jolly French woman and put us totally at our ease telling us she loved her" "que de bonheur" job on Fridays which was Pacsé-ing people all day.
After a few quick minutes, we were out in the lashing rain, done and dusted. 
Et Voilà ; Mr and Mrs Getrealfrance!
You may now kiss your legal partner, giggle giggle giggle


  1. Great!

    Looks ike it's easier to get PACSed than to get a carte grise for the car.....

  2. On a scale of 1 to 10 for rating the difficulty of French bureaucracy, I'd give it a 5. The list was onerous enough, in fairness, but most of the documents were easily attainable.
    In saying that, we haven't got the PACs attestations in the post yet....

  3. Though u said he got de chop for de big day

    1. He did, after the 'ceremony'!! Would ya be well? ;-)

  4. Hello there,
    Congrats on your PACSing. :) I have a question, though, if you don't mind. They ask for a birth certificate printed in the last three months-- apparently here, it's a certificate that they print out for you on demand, whereas my American birth certificate was printed at the time of my birth. Apparently this is to verify that you are not, in fact, already married. What paper did you give to satisfy this requirement? Will the original certificate + translation suffice, or did you get a different paper? Thanks for any leads. (shannonbehary@gmail.com)

  5. Hi Sharon, I'm Irish and so was able to get a new birthcert, we can order them online. I'm sure if you speak to the US embassy that they would be able to help you..have you asked them? The Irish embassy was very helpful in our case.
    Let me know if I can help further and good luck!


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