I've been doing a bit of flat-visiting recently. Not for myself, you understand. The Red House is perfect and I have no intention of moving, but NG is desperate to get out of the hell-hole that she finds herself in, so she's been perusing the small ads.
It's annoying how previously nice places can suddenly become overrun with ploucs (plebs) and totally ruin the general ambiance of a residence. This is what has happened to NG. There is one balcony that was even sporting a flourishing crop of cannabis until recently. Nasty music is played loudly, big dogs are walked without leads, and groups of suspicious-looking young men hang around.
Her neighbour is such a spoilt girl that she throws a tantrum when her parking spot is borrowed for 5minutes worth of unloading. Mind you, if I had a moustache like hers I'd probably be vexed with the world too.
So, to hunting. France, like many places has free newspapers for advertising. There are two main, national ones, and each one has a website: ParuVendu, and TopAnnonces for buying and renting housing, cars, boats, jobs, bits'n'bobs, lonely hearts and all sorts of fascinating things. The advantage of looking for flats to rent on the internet is that the websites are updated more regularly than the paper is printed, so you get in more quickly to the best ads.
This evening, NG and I visited a lovely place; very smart, with wallpaper, marble tiles in the entrance lobby, carpet on the stairs, fitted kitchen and bathroom, balcony, pool, and it was spacious and clean. One weird thing about the garden flats was that they are not at all enclosed. There is just a low wall for anyone to hop over, or any dog to escape from in the twinkling of an eye.
We were looking at an F3 which is how the French describe a 2-bedroomed flat/house. The extra room is the living room. Yes, odd, I know. You can also have a faux F3 where the second bedroom is so small it's more like a box room, so it's only a 'false' F3. This one faced north which is a bit miserable in the winter, but by golly are you happy in the summer. With no air conditioning, the summer sun can beat on a flat and render it unbearable, so facing north reduces the impact considerably.
One interesting snippet I heard recently is that house prices have come down around here. Not that I can afford to buy one, but I was considering an investment flat for rent. Maybe this will become a feasibility now.
Keeping my eyes peeled!