Living France - - LIFESTYLE -

Shop around for the best buys on equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als. “Elec­tri­cal stuff can be very ex­pen­sive,” says Dave. “Es­pe­cially things like wall sock­ets, which is very frus­trat­ing when you have an en­tire house to in­stall.”

“YouTube has been in­valu­able for in­for­ma­tion and tu­to­ri­als. They have very use­ful guides on how to use, for in­stance, French plas­ter, and demon­strate tech­niques you’re not fa­mil­iar with,” says Dave. Make sure you can un­der­stand the in­struc­tions. “It’s been funny to see some of the things that you buy and mis­in­ter­pret how to use them,” says Dave. “The first time I mixed up a bag of French plas­ter, within 20 min­utes I had a rock solid bucket. I hadn’t re­alised you need to mix lit­tle and of­ten and use it quick.”

Use the in­ter­net to shop around. “When we first ar­rived in France, we found the prices were frac­tion­ally cheaper in the UK on some things – es­pe­cially the paint,” he says. “But in the last year or so, Tool­sta­tion (tool­sta­tion. com) has opened up a French end, and if you order €100 worth of stuff, it’s free de­liv­ery. They have also launched a web­site so you can ask for their cat­a­logue and com­pare prices be­tween var­i­ous DIY stores.”

Don’t be fooled by bar­gains. “We have found it a false econ­omy to go to your lo­cal DIY store and buy a drill be­cause it’s on of­fer when re­ally it would have been bet­ter to pay a bit more for a qual­ity item that will last a bit longer.”

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