The French and Their Paperwork

I might have mentioned that we in France are obliged to carry an ‘attestation’ when we leave home, stating what we’re doing outside. While this is totally new for most people, the paperwork isn’t. We often have to write attestations to state that we live where we live, have given a monetary gift to someone (to avoid taxes) or even to tell an online shop that hey, I only got one Conti Gran Prix 5000 when I ordered two.

But I didn’t know that ‘attestations de déplacements’ were ever a thing before Covid-19. How wrong I was:


This is a 300 year old attestation for a guy who was travelling from Remoulins to Blauzac, two towns that I ride through often. The attestation states that this man (age: 28, Height: ‘mediocre’ – old French for ‘average’, Hair: chestnut) was travelling these 15 km or so on official business and that Blauzac was not expected to have any cases of the plague. Here is a map to show where all this is in relation to Nimes. Some of you will know this area, I’m sure.

Annotation 2020-04-25 101317

Anyway, yes, plague. In 1720 there was an outbreak that began in Marseille and spread north. There are still sections of the Mur de la Peste (Plague Wall) in the Luberon, south of Ventoux, that they built to keep infected people from further south in their place.


5 thoughts on “The French and Their Paperwork

  1. And tune in next week for another exiting episode of French History while being bored under quarantine with your host Gerry “in going crazy” Patterson.

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing! This is very fascinating to know. Before the lockdown period, we were discussing some paperworks for people who want to travel/live in France. Now, I miss my French classes! :))

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