Blue and Yellow Apartment Buildings - Central Pau - France - Apartment Hunting with Trine Nicole

Moving to Pau, France

Trials and Triumphs

Beautiful blue and yellow buildings near the castle in central Pau France
Central Pau, near the Castle

I saw a meme the other day that spoke to me, it read “Living abroad is like playing a video game where you’ve skipped the tutorial and now you’re just running around with no idea how anything works” SO TRUE. I wish I knew who originally wrote this to applaud them for expressing exactly how I feel. Moving to Norway was easy, mostly because I had Steffen’s help with just about everything. Unfortunately, Steffen is not a guru on living in France, so we are both headless chickens running around.

When we first arrived in Pau, we were just outside of town staying in an Airbnb in Idron. It was a very nice flat but unfortunately for us we didn’t notice that it did not include Wi-Fi, so one of our first challenges was spending more then we should on data for our phones because god forbid I stop watching YouTube. I’m kidding… not really. Next challenge was finding an apartment. While Steffen spent long days at work getting situated in his new office, I was put to work finding a place that fit all our criteria. Que montage in my head of us on house hunters international deciding between wants and needs while having ridiculous expectations.

House Hunters International Wannabes

Traditional French Style Apartments
Traditional French Style Apartments

Steffen’s criteria list was pretty reasonable: private parking for his car, not too cramped space, and not too long of a commute to his offices. Mine was a bit like the unrealistic wants of those you see on the previously mentioned tv show. I wanted to be in the center of town, have that cute French exterior with a modern interior and a second bedroom for all the guests I hope to have. What we both needed was for the place to be fully furnished as we didn’t move down with any of our own furniture. Our first few viewings were disheartening as they were either outdated, no parking, or way too small.

Our wants and needs definitely shifted as we were on the hunt. We quickly realized it is not easy to find an apartment that has both a washing machine, dishwasher, and private parking on top of being furnished, spacious, modern, and central in Pau. After many viewings we finally found the perfect place. We were also lucky enough to be able to move in just a week later. I was extremely proud of myself for succeeding at my one job this week

Exciting first week in the new flat

Colorful red shutters on an apartment building in Pau, France
Pau is filled with color

Week one in the flat hasn’t been the easiest, but luckily we went to the glorious land of IKEA to shop for household items like plates and towels and other cute personal touches. Steffen doesn’t love IKEA, but I get weirdly excited about shopping there. Other than a fun little shopping trip, getting things done here was a bit difficult because as I said earlier, we have no idea what we are doing. We also currently do not speak French, and many people here do not speak English, so… that was fun. After a few days we were very excited to have gas, heating, and hot water. January is not a great time to go without these modern-day necessities, as I am sure you can imagine.

In my excitement to have hot water I thought it was a perfectly smart idea to wash all our new towels in our first test run of the washing machine. It was a good idea until water leaked all over our bathroom floor and I had no towels to dry it up with. Fast forward a little bit, things are now fixed, and everything is settled. We can finally put our feet up, sip on a lovely bottle of Bordeaux, enjoy each other’s company and relax. Stay tuned for more trials and triumphs as we navigate our way through this exciting new adventure.

Here is my 5 step guide to finding an apartment or house in France.


Trine Nicole

Panoramic view from a bridge of an area near the castle in central Pau
Panoramic view from a bridge of an area near the castle in central Pau

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