My TWDB has been living in a hotel-residence for the past few months. It's a very nice place as hotel-residences go with what looks like an Ikea kitchen, stylish wooden floor and nifty bathroom. There is a pool and a lovely view south towards Montpellier, but it's a hotel; not a base - not even a forward base.
He came to the decision that he had to get out, and soon, or start pulling the wobbly kitchen tap out, so we trawled the flat-hunting sites (paruvendu.fr, topannonces.fr, and seloger.com). August is a quiet month, natch when apparently all moving has been previously arranged, half the free advert papers are absent because they are all on holiday, and trying to be dynamic is pointless. Come September however, flat owners are putting their summer lets up for long rentals and you're in a rush with students anxious to beach-bum it at Palavas in a studio over-looking the sea.
My TWDB was also tempted by the idea of a flat overlooking the sea, and went to visit a few. He had two options: either by the sea, or near me. Dilemma! The beach has obvious attractions, especially if you intend to get all hearty and go cycling every morning. However, it's starting to get dark earlier, and I'm not sure a fab view is worth the longer, pain-in-the-backside journey when you get home at 9pm and see nothing but inky blackness and curling pages on your books.
So we hunted out local gites too. Yesterday we went to visit one that was in the village and on top of a hill. Plus points for being local except that it wasn't that local, but minus points for being on a hill (with cycling in mind). More minus points quickly amassed as we were shown in through the door. Basically, it was a converted basement/garage so while the sitting room/kitchen had windows all along, the bedroom was further in under the house, so windowless. Not pleasant. The worst of it though was the damp. You could see painted-over damp patches, it smelt damp, and having all the windows wide open did nothing to allay one's fears. The oddest thing was that there were precisely 4 items of furniture : a sofa, a table, a stool that had been a chair but the back was broken off, and a bed. That was it. Not quite the well-equipped, luxurious apartment it had been advertised as...
Meanwhile back in Palavas, a flat with a fab view was taking first place in the residential stakes. It had a huge balcony and looked out over the sea and the port. Spectacular. Our last port of call (as it were) was a studio gite in the village, again at the top of a hill, but not such an annoying one. Very peaceful, equipped sparsely but not as sparsely as the other one, with air con and washing machine facilities, and a pool, although an odd one about 2m wide and 5m long. Oh, and a hot tub.
It was actually a pretty close call, because even with the allure of being near me, being on the beach is also very tempting. I did point out that travelling home on the beach road at night was going to be a real bugger, especially as the police are very picky these days about drinking and driving, so really there was no way he could go out and enjoy himself without denying himself systematically more than half a glass.
I'm not sure what the final score was, but I think convenience outwayed the ultimate allure of the sea, and he chose the studio with the funny pool.
What I say is... HURRAH!