Ask any foreigner resident in France for their top complaints about the country and it won't be long before bureaucracy gets a mention.
It's no accident that France invented the word itself, the paperwork of France is legendary in its volume and complexity.
Applying for French healthcare can take many months. Photo: AFP
Many a newcomer to the country has flung their hands up in despair and shouted bon sang! (or putain de bordel de merde if you want to get explicit) at the sky when faced with yet another French form. But it seems that the French themselves, although perhaps more accustomed, are equally annoyed at the level of paperwork required for everyday life.
A survey of French users of government forms has found that they are too complicated, require too many extra documents and take too long to process.
The biennial survey asked 7,700 people about their experiences of using 25 different services, from acquiring a driving licence to registering for invalidity or disability benefits or retiring.
Not only did a significant proportion of people say they were unhappy with the service, many felt that it was getting worse.
Those least happy with the service were disabled people, 46 percent said the service was too complicated, compared to 35 percent two years ago.
People approaching retirement age and dealing with pensions paperwork and vehicle drivers needing a new or altered driving licence also felt that the process had got more complicated and difficult over the last two years.
The biggest complaint was the lack of prior information given about the process, with many people saying that it should be easier to find out in advance exactly how to apply for various things, and what supporting documents will be needed.
Excessive delays was the next biggest gripe, with 23 percent of people saying it takes too long to process applications, while 16 percent of people said that government officials request far too many supporting documents with each application, and information should be held centrally.
The French government is gradually moving more and more procedures online, but nine percent of people said that the online systems weer too complicated and the government websites were not easy to find information on.
Here at The Local we do our best to provide easy to understand guides to some of the most common bureaucratic procedures, including getting a carte vitale, filling in your yearly tax return, importing a British-registered car, transporting pets in and out of the country and claiming benefits.