Sunday, August 9, 2009

Apartment Hunting on the Picardie Coast (Part II)

After lunch, we returned to Mers-les-Bains and our afternoon appointments at the real estate agency. As we drove to Mers, we passed Le Château des Cycles and I said "I really like this building", as I've always said to Jacky every time we pass it for some time now.

The real estate agent wanted to show us an apartment but she did not have the keys. She called her colleague but there was no answer. In the meantime, she said, she could show us a house for rent.

The rather small house, towards the center of town, was on three levels. A living-dining-kitchen area on the ground level with window onto the street and a small storage area behind. On the second floor, a bedroom and bathroom, rather light and on the third floor, under the eaves, a second small bedroom with skylight windows.

The house had recently been renovated. The windows were new, the walls painted white. But the living room was dark and too close to the street to comfortably have the window open and the tiny corner kitchen did not inspire me to be able to cook with confidence. We were not impressed.

The real estate agent suggested that we see the apartment and again tried calling her colleague. Again, there was no answer. She suggested we come back in an hour or so.

In the meantime, we went to the other real estate agency next door (literally next door) because I had spotted an interesting item in their window: it looked exactly like a house we had seen three years ago and I had really liked. When we went in to ask about it we were told that it was, in fact, the twin of the townhouse we had seen three years ago

But it was the smaller, uglier twin that we saw that Saturday. The ceramic tile of the kitchen floor was cracked and buckling, the rooms badly laid out and the price was much too high.

We returned to the agency and she still did not have the we went back to the other agency, to visit yet another house for sale at Le Tréport this time. This house, high above Le Tréport, was built out of local stone and had a view of the sea from its terrace, two bedrooms, a garage, and an attic for storage.

Had we been really looking for a house to buy rather than an apartment to rent, it would be a possibility as the parquet floors were decent. However, as is the case with too houses and apartments in France, the walls were covered with really ugly wallpaper. Ugly wallpaper is the bane of my existence in France.

We thanked the agent politely and returned to the first agency where she happily told us that she had managed to get hold of the owner of the apartment and that she had brought her the keys. We got into her car and drove towards the Mers-Le Tréport train station. She pulled up just beyond Le Château des Cycles and walked across the street to the Villa Parisienne.

She entered the building and greeted the gardien who was putting up wood panelling in the entry. We walked up the stairs to the second floor (aka first floor in France) and she opened the door...

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