Finding an apartment and becoming legal
The is the building where all foreign nationals spend hours of their time filing paper work and receiving their various legal status. The prefecture holds everything together, it provides us expats with authorization for work, health coverage, driving and traveling around the European Union. While technically it is possible to rent an apartment without first going through the prefecture, in reality it is quite impossible. Interestingly enough, it is also impossible to obtain legal residency status in France without first having an apartment.
Yeah. If you are confused, then you read it correctly. Welcome to France, land of bureaucratic hell loops, well worth enduring because on the other side is an interesting life nourished by some of the world's best cuisine. Just like getting a bank account, getting an apartment requires some trickery, and probably someone who is a French national/permanent resident doing you a favor. In my instance, I had several someones doing me favors.
The process of receiving the residency card really wasn't that bad, it just required compiling about two dozen different documents, some which needed to be translated. While this of course sounds horrible, I assure you that it is easy if you just work at it.
Finding an apartment in Lyon however is a different story, and in our situation required a divine intervention. Fortunately for us, people helped again, and we were able to secure a lease to an apartment via word of mouth. This not only saved us money, but it also prevented me from having to endure an intensely arduous exercise in paperwork.
After living in three different places over three months, we will finally enter our home on December 10!