It’s about time I wrote about my living arrangements here in France. I was lucky enough to spend the first week in a hotel room (a novelty I could have gotten used to) but have since moved into shared accommodation with two other members of staff. Three of us, Marie, Sandy and I, live in one of the hotel villas. It is officially called a villa, but my roommates (who are French) refer to it as a gîte. In my opinion neither word accurately describes our little abode. While villa conjures up the image of a palatial holiday home, gîte suggests a charming farmhouse complete with shutters and a vegetable patch. Where we actually live is a small one bedroomed building. Sandy and I share the bedroom, and then there’s a kitchen/living area taken up by a sofa-bed, where Marie sleeps. The fact that the living area is effectively a bedroom makes it difficult to use any of the facilities without feeling like an intruder. It’s quite cramped to say the least but we only use it for sleeping, and we all work different hours so never really get in each other’s way.
Next week however, Marie has invited one of our colleagues to move in because his roommate is having his girlfriend to stay. This means there will be four of us sharing the one bedroom villa/gîte/house which is definitely going to be interesting. Due to my experience sharing bathroom facilities with boys at university, I have researched French vocabulary for telling him to put the toilet seat down. I am assuming that male toilet habits transcend international borders so I am coming prepared.
Overall though it has been a good experience. It’s obviously very convenient to live in the hotel grounds, we have access to the pool and it takes me approximately 15 seconds to walk to the restaurant for my shifts. As much as I loved the luxury of a hotel suite for one, it’s nicer having people to chat to in the evenings. What I have missed however, is the French TV. I became quite fond of watching those programmes in my first week but it feels too awkward to watch telly here because I would have to sit on Marie’s unmade bed to do so. I would also face judgement for my choice of programme (French wife swap or similar) so I have been reading books instead. Probably more educational anyway… Here is a picture of where I’ve been living!