Nord - Pas de Calais 59 & 62
The Regional Group Nord-Pas de Calais (Hautes de France) covers départements 59 and 62. Regional Co-ordinator Sue Harris has a relatively small group so far, compared with other areas, but they are all eager and forthcoming when called upon. They haven't had any large events but they are planning on becoming more active.
Information is key here and they have encouraged networking; everyone who has dealt with the two préfectures has reported that in Arras (Pas de Calais), on the whole, the staff were sympathetic, the process clear and the waiting time for French documents acceptable – they have been very lucky! In general, the staff is well-acquainted with the process and more than willing to help in a less-than-normal situation. In Lille (Nord) they are less au fait with the requirements but are trying hard to improve the waiting time. All very useful information.
The English community is very supportive of each other and some of them have managed to get together personally – including to fill in the application forms, much easier face to face. Although they are quite wide-spread, they have found that personal contact is very important. If you are in the area and have not yet joined your regional Facebook group, you may find it is the best source you have for personal and relevant information.