Sunday, 2 August 2015

Holiday in France?

Hello Dear Reader,

Loads of you have asked for details about the studio flat, email me if you want it.

I thought I'd share a few thoughts.

Most rentals are 'second homes' rented out when they don't need them. You'll find plenty of their personal possessions and they don't mind in the least if you use them. Cleaning products, toiletries, loo roll ect. They just expect you to replace what you use. 

Some people have had their flat or house for years and they're a bit tatty. The French are quite thrifty and only replace something if it's totally necessary. Our flat has a new: bed, TV, oven, fridge but everything else is very early 90's. It's a bit faded and that's reflected in the price. If you want snazzy furniture, dishwasher, washing machine then expect to pay a lot more. 

The French appear to do everything at the same time. Lunch 12-2 and then head to the beach. It'll be empty in the morning. In our area there is only one supermarket, use those just a mile away and it'll be a much better experience. We used Lidl in the old town and can shop without it feeling like Asda on Christmas Eve!

This town and most towns have a weekly market. Here it is Sunday and wednesday but get there really early, by 9 am, it's like the boxing day sales if you leave it any later.

Bring your bike and go everywhere by bike. It's flat, the cars respect cyclists and there is plenty of bike parking. Get yourselves some panniers and shop daily.  Don't shop for more than one day, it'll go off. Fruit is sold ripe, as is the cheese and everything is best that day. Bread is under 50p for a baguette or just under £1 (€1.20) for a baguette tradition, which we would call a sour dough. Baking is done all day and some locals buy bread three times a day. If you stay in the flat then there's a woodfired bakery within 15 min walk or five minutes on the bike. 

There is a ton of shellfish, most restaurants offer oysters for a starter, they are no where near as expensive as at home but still not cheap. Fish is very affordable at the market. Fruit and veg is more expensive here but when you eat it, you'll know why - it's so much better. 

The place is remarkably clean. There are litter picking patrols, council workers gardening, the streets swept clean, beach cleaned of seaweed and would be perfect if people cleaned up their dog poop. It's everywhere and the French just seem to walk through it! Another thing that seems to have improved are toilet facilities. They now have loo paper, they are now single sex and have hand washing facilities and I haven't seen as much public urination as I've seen in the past. 

The French as a people are quiet and even though this apartment block is full of families, they keep their children quiet and well behaved as they do their little dogs. The slightest peep out of either is admonished. Their children are also impeccably behaved in restaurants as they are used to eating all meals with the family at the table.

Lastly, speak French as no one we've met yet on the beach, in the block, in restaurants or shops speak a word of English. I've learned basic French with Michel Thomas, free Apps, watching the French news channel France 2 online and I've had a go at every chance. No one had laughed at me and they seem to understand, even if they correct you, they appreciate the effort.

We traveled with Brittanyferries and our car, bikes and cabin both ways cost us £450 with a discount code, the flat was £350 a week. We've spent about £20 a day on food. We have a meal out when we arrive and we'll have one in Roscoff before we get the ferry. A meal out is about £50 for two. 

That's a massive amount for us but we've saved, budgeted and are loving every minute of the beach, sun, warmth, bike riding and walking and precious alone time with each other. 

Love Froogs xxxxx