Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Raw Truth About Living in the South of France

Posts have been somewhat sparse of late because, to be honest, once you've seen one French big box building store, you've seen them all. And this past week, we've seen them all.
   Our nearest, all of five minutes away, is Bricomarché which shares an enormous car park (and ownership) with the Intermarché supermarket. In theory, this is very useful. In practice, it usually means parking twice. We've spent many hours in Bricomarché over the years searching, often fruitlessly, for electric and plumbing bits we don't even know the name of in English. 
  Half an hour away is Mr. Bricolage which is larger but otherwise is easily confused with Bricomarché. An hour away, on the outskirts of Carcassonne, is Brico Depot which claims to have the lowest prices around. Wednesday, we spent a couple of hours there plus the extra time needed to wait for someone from Leclerc (another supermarket chain) to release us from the employee car park into which we'd inadvertently driven.
  Meanwhile, back in Léran, we have five floors to finish and six rooms to paint. Some facts. French paint is expensive. The term "monocouche" (one coat) on the label is about as honest as the name of the small chain of supermarkets called "8 à Huit" (eight till eight) which shut up shop all day Sundays and, naturally, close every other day for a two hour lunch. We've finally tracked down a paint that isn't too prohibitively expensive and will probably do the job in two coats--or even fewer. We dipped our toes in the water with a half-litre tin and will now return for a giant vat of "blanc cassé" (broken white).
  Wednesday we spent six hours in Ikea...

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