01 December 2011

Le canapé est arrivé

Back in October, when we again started spending a lot of time at home — and indoors — we realized that a year without having a sofa downstairs in our main living area was long enough. After we had the loft space finished last year and moved our old living roof (oops!) room furniture up there, we just put four armchairs in the sitting area of the living room.

They were nice chairs, and when we had people in it worked out pretty well as a sitting area. But something was missing. That arrangement made the area seem more like a waiting room than a cozy corner. Almost on the spur of the moment, we decided to invest in a new sofa.

The living room avant...

Rather than driving up to Blois or over to Tours to look around in furniture store showrooms, we decided to do the 21st century thing: we surfed the web. Our first thought was Ikea. Then I thought of a French mail-order company — I guess Internet store is the new term — called La Redoute. That's where we ended up finding a sofa that looked like the one for our space, and the price was good. We were lucky to find just the kind of sofa we needed when it was marked down by 30%. Shipping was very also very reasonable at 25 euros.

...et après

La Redoute is a company that specializes in la vente à distance, which used to be called la vente par correspondance. The company was founded in the 19th century by a family in the city of Roubaix in the north of France. They named their business after the street where they first set up shop, la rue de la Redoute. Nowadays, the company is an e-vendor, with something like 700,000 visitors a day coming to its web site. It still sends out a paper catalog, but I wonder how long that will last. La Redoute operates in at least 15 European countries as well as in Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the United States.

All cleaned up and waiting for the delivery truck

One thing about getting a new piece of furniture, especially a fairly large one, is that it gives you an opportunity to do some spring cleaning. We moved two of our armchairs up to the loft, and then moved the dining room table out of the way. Walt got out the new vacuum cleaner — which we ordered from Amazon in the U.K. a couple of months ago. He gave the rugs a good going-over, and then he wiped down the tile floor around the edges of the room.

In all these pictures you can see evidence of the
nice sunny weather we've been having.

The vacuum cleaner, by the way, is an upright which I think we would call a carpet sweeper. It's the kind of vacuum cleaner we had in California. Such appliances are not easy to find in France and, from what I read, fairly uncommon all across the continent in Europe. Go figure. After eight years of using a little canister model vacuum that we bought at Darty in 2003, I finally went on the Amazon UK site and had a look around.

Here's Walt "hoovering" with the new Hoover
upright vacuum cleaner

There I found a Hoover model, sans sac, that fit the bill. It also was very reasonably priced — just 99 109 British pounds (about 165 euros U.S. dollars) including VAT and shipping — less than we paid for the Panasonic canister vac eight years earlier. Having it to use has made cleaning so much easier, especially when it comes to vacuuming rugs to get the dog hair off. And we don't have to go driving from store to store here in the region — Tours, Blois, Romorantin, Loches — looking for the right size vacuum cleaner bags. The only explanation I can think of for the lack of such machines in France is that most houses have tile floors.

I guess one point of this post is to say again how much easier it is to live out in the country and enjoy the peace and quiet now that we have high-speed Internet access and a range of e-vendors to choose from. We've come a long way. And this is also for a post for all of you who have visited over the past few years...


  1. Very impressive: not least that you saw this as an "opportunity" for spring-cleaning, whereas a lot of people would heave a sigh and see it as an inevitable consequence (in the words of the WV: "duperil"!)

  2. Just a note asking where you can get 165 Euros for 99 pounds?

  3. Le Redoute is a strange company. Some stuff is excellent quality but not cheap and other stuff is absolute tat. All my French friends use it and recommend it when I ask 'where can I get such and such?' though.

    We are due a new vacuum cleaner, but are trying to hold off until the building works are done. The upright Dyson we brought from the UK has succumbed to plaster dust. The much older little Goblin stoically sucks on, but looks like something that should live in the shed now it is so filthy.

    I want something that is not too heavy and awkward to lug up and down stairs and convenient to store. Vacuum cleaners are a real pain to keep neat and tidy.

    BTW, a carpet sweeper for me is not electrical powered, but a flat box on a stick with two roller brushes, used for those quick little jobs where you can't be bothered untangling the vacuum cleaner and heaving it around the house.

  4. Ken, I love the idea of "living roof" furniture! It really says what you've done to your loft area!
    Tim, (signed in as one of the cats)

    WV is "Trapho"... sounds like one of those encouraging words that hunters on horseback shout?

  5. One might think Adults Bunk Beds. However, there is a Adults Bunk Beds
    also available. Depending on how many square feet are in a house or apartment, or a personal preference for sleeping on the floor, it would be a good choice for everyone. Twin loft beds are easily shared by two people, extendable and great value comparison to the price.

  6. It looks superb! I hope I'll have the opportunity to come and try it out next summer :) Martine

  7. A sofa just does finish off a living room space, doesn't it? We currently have three large club-type chairs down in our family room, but it just really looks like it needs one nice sofa of some style :)

    I use La Redoute's online catalog with my students!

    Looks great in that room, by the way :)

  8. Tim, that was a (fortuitous) typo. I fixed it.

    Lesley, I was working from memory and the figures were slightly off. Corrected.

  9. Canapé looks great! Have browsed La Redoute but never ordered from them yet.

  10. It makes such a nice difference. Is the new sofa "animal friendly"?

  11. Nadège, we are going to try to keep Callie off the new sofa. We'll see how it works out.

    Antoinette, Judy, Martine, Susan — smiles.

  12. C'est très joli, et on voit que la TV n'a qu'un rôle anecdotique car on ne peut la regarder que depuis une seule des 4 places. Par contre, la position de l'ordinateur n'est pas adaptée au travail avec écran et clavier. Peut être avez vous une tablette pour "surfer" confortablement installé dans le canapé ?

  13. Nous regardons la télé surtout quand nous sommes à table à 13 heures — le journal. L'ordinateur ne sert pas beaucoup, sauf tôt le matin quand je fais mon blog. Comme mon ordinateur principal est dans notre chambre (le "loft"), et je me lève le premier...
    Vous avez des tablettes, vous? Nous, on n'en a pas.

  14. I like the new sofa. It fits perfectly and you seem to have gotten quite a good deal.

  15. Non, je n'ai pas de tablette car pour saisir du texte, je pense qu'un clavier est plus pratique, mais je voudrais en utiliser une à la Fac pour le suivi des mes étudiants en travaux pratique...


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