The first day of our French renovation

If you’ve missed the big news….my husband/teammate/bedfellow/legend and I bought a run down house in the French countryside! You can read the introductory post here, and learn about the paperwork and logistics (fun!) here.

In this instalment is what the very first day of home ownership looked like, yippee!

Luckily we live on a pretty quiet road!

Luckily we live on a pretty quiet road!

Day 1 : At 10am we met with the notaire (solicitor) and the sellers’ representative to sign the last papers. It took about an hour because each of us had to sign every piece of paper, and it’s France so there were a LOT of pieces of paper. As soon as we were out of the office Tom ran to the shop down the road to buy a bottle of champagne, while I got the car and met him at the shop so we could drive ~20 minutes to the house.

The sellers’ representative (one of the relatives of the old man who had originally owned the house) showed us round and gave us the keys, then stayed and chatted for about an hour. It was weird. He’s a really nice guy and we didn’t want to be rude to him, but we also wanted to pop the champagne and get starated on the renovation!

Eventually he left on his own accord so we opened all the windows to air out the house, drank champagne, took a load of self-timer photos in front of the house, and unloaded the car. While we were going to and fro our nearest neighbour popped by for a chat, and to welcome us to the town. At the time we were very optimistic about being able to move the large armoire out of the sitting room, but more on that later!

In the afternoon we drove into our new village to introduce ourselves at the Mairie, and bought many local beers and ciders from the local shop. It’s usually only open a couple of evenings a week, but as it was August it was open every day for passing tourist traffic.

We carried on to Leclerc (a big French supermarket) near Brest to buy food and other supplies. We didn’t understand the basket/trolley system in the shop, but the checkout girl was really nice and showed us the lay of the land. We now have a token in the car for future trollies! After Leclerc we carried on to Ikea where we bought, amongst other things, a beautiful rug, cutlery and plates, a plastic bin and a big wooden chopping board. Our new house would have nicer kitchen accessories than our actual apartment!

The drive home was a precarious affair, travelling very carefully so as not to break the crockery on the bumpy countryside lanes. By the time we arrived home it was after 9pm so Tom went upstairs to set up our bedroom (blow up bed and our Paris bedding - surprisingly comfortable!) and I cooked blé noir pasta for tea, which we ate on the bed because the chairs were still in the garage!