Monday, June 11, 2018

Barge Date:  06-05-2018


For our return we choose to enter through Paris.  We will both be seeking residence status in France and thought this documented entry best. After a couple of late flights, we arrived early in the morning and having collected our bags made our way to the TGV station for the fast trip to Strasbourg.

Strasbourg is on the eastern border with Germany and is in an area that has slipped back and forth between the two powers for some time. So you see a mix of German and French, from food to language. We were immediately taken by the city. The entire downtown area is nearly a car-free zone. The streets are for foot traffic and you will find shops and restaurants in great abundance. This area is encircled by waterways and you can see large tourist boats filled to the brim with visitors. But the water is off limits to those of us with boats.

Our first day was spent going to the local marina and arranging for winter mooring. We did not want to have to return to Belgium at the end of the season. As this is the general area we will be in for this year, it made sense to winter here. We also needed an address to call our own for when we applied for residence. The facilities look fine and it will be a good location for the boat.

Because we arrived on the weekend, we needed to wait until Monday to visit the Prefecture to pursue the residence cards.  By 8:15 we joined a crowd of people who seemed to be mostly from the mid-East and Africa. We quickly learned that our documents were not up to their standards. We had copies but they wanted originals.  We have these at home and they are now in transit.

Because I covered this problem last year, let me just say that in France it should be easier.  As Marianne is an EU citizen and I her American spouse, we both should be granted residence.  That is the hope.  We will return in several weeks to present the papers.

Here are some sights around Strasbourg.

On June 5, we took a train trip to get us to Givet.  Out the window of the train we saw very large farming operations. The land is gentle rolling hills and some of the fields were exceptional in size. Mostly wheat and oats, some corn and hay and probably some fruit operations. From Charleville to Givet we followed the Meuse River which we will travel on in a day or so.

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