Having completed the purchase of our chosen property in La Bastide sur l'Hers earlier in the year, we first moved into and started using the house in July 2015. Moving from overseas into a completely empty house with no furniture or furnishings was something of a logistical challenge but having bought the property, we wanted to start using it as soon as possible: after all, paying for a B&B or hotel seemed to rather defeat the object of having a house in France. To move in asap, our first step was to collect the house keys from the estate agent in Mirepoix.
To drive here from Barcelona airport where we touched down, we chose the scenic route through the Pyrénées, roughly a 300km journey. Having zipped through Spain, our progress once in France was hampered by unforeseen obstacles - a storm, a closed tunnel in the mountains that required a long detour, French farmers blockading roundabouts, and a boom gate at a level crossing that stayed resolutely lowered and barred any cars from passing. Nevertheless, having made it to the estate agents just before closing, we were on schedule to spend the night at Le Petit Lézard B&B in Léran and take advantage of the town's Friday night marché gourmand or gourmet food market (we can recommend the freshly baked while-you-wait organic pizza).
At Léran's Friday evening gourmet food market
The next morning was all about a bed. Having figured we could live in an empty house so long as we had a bed, we had ordered one online while in Australia from furniture store, magasin But in Foix. We now had to collect the bed before the all-important French closing time at 'midi' (lunch-time). This entailed the following: drive to Foix from Léran in hire car (37km) and find the store; once loaded with the bed parts and mattress, drive free van loaned by magasinBut to house in La Bastide sur l'Hers (36km).
Free removal van from magasin But
Next, unload the bed into the house; then drive the van back to the store in Foix (36km); and finally pick up our car and drive home (another 36 km). Phew! We know the road to Foix quite well by now!
In the afternoon, we met up with Michelle's parents (who live in France) who very kindly brought with them many other items essential to moving in straight away - bedding, crockery, a coffee machine (second most important item after the bed!), cleaning equipment and so forth. The afternoon was spent cleaning, unpacking and assembling the bed - which nearly got thrown out of the bedroom window several times thanks to some incomprehensible instructions! In the evening, we retired back to Léran (6.3km!) for a very well-earned dinner at Le Rendez-vous restaurant - the first of many enjoyable and delicious meals here with family and friends. And then, back home to enjoy our first sleep in our very comfy new bed in our budding holiday home!