So the eye-test lady said "time to change your glasses" and gave me a prescription for a new set of lenses. Now glasses for vision are partly reimbursed by your basic health organism (ours is the Cavimac, the one for monks, nuns, priests and all who work in religion) and partly reimbursed by your personal health insurance. The health insurers make deals with opticians to cap prices and get and give discounts, so you have to :
1) look to see what opticians are in your health insurer's network
2) look to see if any of them are highly rated on Google maps
Well the guy was charming, straightened my wonky glasses and helped us to pick a frame. He showed ma RayBan frames, Giorgio Armani frames, Timberland frames. "I don't care about the brand of frame", I told him. The procedure is then complicated by the various options for the lenses. Do you want standard hardening, extra layers of hardening, anti reflection coating, anti blue light coating to protect your eyes from screens?
Also this year the government has passed a law that says that everyone should be able to get a pair of glasses completely reimbursed by their health insurance, so he told me that was available.
The upshot? The specs would cost 700 euros, 350 of which would be paid by insurance and 350 by me. If I had less layers of hardening we could get it down to 600 euros, 350 for the insurance and 250 for me.
Or I could have a free pair, paid entirely by the insurance.
He was a very nice guy, but I buy my trousers and jeans at Carrefour, I've never knowing worn anything produced by RayBan or Armani.
So we went to Specs for All, a new outfit on the Rue Saint Catherine. The girl explained their system.
The frames are all the same price, bought from China. The basic lenses are bought in bulk from China, but varifocal lenses are made in France. The prices are such that all their glasses are completely reimbursed by the insurance. The frames were OK. Noticeably less solid, but OK. The quotation came to 210 euros for lenses with antireflection hardening layers and photochromic. (You could have anti-blue light or photochromic.)
I said, "We'll need to go and get a cup of coffee and worry about it first." but we only got as far as the door before I turned back and ordered them.