We thought we had been clever in pre-ordering some basic furniture and essential appliances online from Conforama before arriving in France (a store something like Harvey Norman that we had sussed out on our initial visit), thinking we could easily co-ordinate the delivery with our arrival. Sounded simple to me anyway.
“Two weeks” they said when I rang to enquire about the ETA as soon as we arrived in France, while waiting for our train at Gare d’Austerlitz, Paris…
…hoping that, with my far-from-fluent French, I had misunderstood. After all, it’s so much more difficult struggling with a foreign language when missing all the non-verbal clues like pointing, gesturing and facial expression.
But unfortunately I was right – confirmed when our estate agent rang them on our behalf. The best solution was for us was to hire one of Conforama’s vans and transport the furniture ourselves. As it happened this was also the cheaper option, even when adding in the cost of a night’s stay closeby. (We took the train from Argenton-sur-Creuse to Chateauroux – a regional centre about 30km away – and used the local free bus service to get out to Cap Sud where Conforama and a heap of other shops are.)
Collection was the easy part… taking everything upstairs navigating our narrow semi-spiral staircase was the challenge. It was literally step by step with the fridge!
And then of course, all the fun of assembling the flat-packs began… coping with instructions and user guides in French, or maybe Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, anthing except English – you wouldn’t think England was just across the channel!
Ideally we would have already thoroughly cleaned the place beforehand, but it had been a big day unloading and getting the van back to Chateauroux. So with fading light and no electricity, we just made sure our bed was all set up, knowing there was lots of packaging (huge pieces of cardboard and plastic) that we could use as dust covers the next day.
And so began the process of making our house in France a home.