To Grasse in the company of a 6 week old baby to deal with the importation of my Golf:
The surliness and intransigence of French bureaucrats are legendary so you can imagine how much I was looking forward to the encounter. From past experience I knew I'd be coming out of the Prefecture 2 hours later, sweaty, with elevated blood pressure and minus the paper I needed.
However, things have changed in the corridors of the administration and there now exists a system of priority so if you're young and/or attractive, well dressed, know the person issuing the tickets or in charge of a baby you take priority over everybody else.
I swear I didn't know this when I decided to take the baby but you have no idea how pleased I was I had.
Anyway, my number was called about 15 minutes later, after all the young and attractive people had gone through. .
The only problem was that I'd forgotten my electricity bill, my proof of residence, and without which it's simply not possible to obtain any official document. At that point as the clerk was about to send me home with the elevated BP, the baby turned brick red, opened his mouth and started crying, that shrill, new baby wail that cuts right through you like a chainsaw....
The upshot was that the clerk wisely decided to overlook the electric bill had the stamped piece of paper across that counter pretty quick.
The moral of the story, of course, is to borrow a baby next time you need to confront a French bureaucrat. I suggested to his mother that she could probably get a little business going renting out her son all in the spirit of enterprise...