I’ve learnt something new about retrieving stolen property in France: it is the Mairie (town hall) rather than the Gendarmerie which looks after lost or stolen property.
My friend Teresa is still hunting down what remains in her stolen bag, including passport and driving licence but not of course the bank cards and cash. The bag was found by an elderly French couple shortly after it had been stolen, just off one of the footpaths at the bottom of the Cirque de Navacelles. The couple picked it up because it looked new and clean and took it home to ask their son what they should do. He had found Teresa’s address in the passport, tracked down her telephone number on the internet, and left a message inviting her to collect it, and when there had been no reply had taken the bag to the local gendarmerie in Gigean, way down on the Mediterranean coast.
Since then Teresa has had several friendly phone conversations with the young man and his parents, but abortive ones with the gendarmerie, who either insist she has to come and collect the bag herself, or the next day, appear not to know about it.
I went to see the local gendarmerie, to see if they could help, and a young woman explained that after the police have made a report of the found goods, they are sent to the mairie, which has responsibility for lost and stolen property.
Teresa has now learnt that her bag was passed to the mairie a week ago. No word from them, so tomorrow she will try again.