New since 2002

For those of you who have already stayed in the apartment or who have visited this site before, this page gives a summary of the main improvements to the apartment since 2002. These changes have come about mainly as a result of suggestions made by former tenants on the completed questionnaires.

**New for 2005, a new kitchenette was installed in January 2005. This includes new appliances and significantly improved work surfaces - click for a photo of the new kitchenette.

Terrace Awning

This was installed in 2002 to provide shade for the terrace in hot midsummer weather. The terrace faces south west and is in direct sun most of the day. If the awning is let out before the sun heats up the terrace, it should remain relatively cool during the heat of midday and early afternoon. Furthermore, the awning traps in heat so that, should the evening get cool, it will still be comfortable to use the terrace for evening meals, drinks or just sitting watching the world go by.

However, this is on the coast and, even in mid summer, there is always the possibility of a sudden change in the weather. Therefore, the awning must always be left in the closed position at night, at any time when there is a risk of strong winds or whenever the tenant leaves the apartment. To leave the awning out in strong winds would not only result in damage to the awning but could also pose a risk to other people and property.

Free Local Telephone Calls

As well as having the use of the phone for incoming calls and making calls using a BT Charge Card or alternative call cards, as an experiment in 2001 we enabled the use of the phone for local calls only. We have decided to make this a permanent feature of the tenancy since people found it very useful to be able to book or enquire about restaurants, local events, shop opening hours, other local services, etc. The cost to us is not great (we can track any abuse via itemised billing) and the area covered by local call rates is surprisingly large (includes La Rochelle and Saintes).

Boot Bench

This piece of "garden furniture" will double as a seat on the terrace and as additional storage space, particularly suitable for beach and other outdoor items. It is made of pine and the storage area is 46" x 18" x 18". The manufacturers describe it as "water resistant" but it should not be used to store things that must be kept dry. It will be there from May 2002 onwards.

Colour TV

Perhaps a controversial item (Lyn did not want one but I did!), the TV has limits; it is small, only tunes in to standard French terrestrial stations and is hidden away in a new cupboard. There are some advantages: keeping in touch with major international news and sport, some good French films, weather forecasts and an aid to improving your French.

Provision of Linen

It will now be possible to hire sheets and towels from the hotel next door (Auberge des Falaises) at a modest rate. For many tenants, this will be referable to carrying their own linen to and from France, thereby saving space for other things to bring or take home. The rates (in Euros):

per pair of double sheets (changed weekly), per week
€ 3.50
per pair of single sheets (changed weekly), per week € 3.00
4 bath towels (changed weekly), per week € 3.50
4 hand towel (changed twice weekly), per week € 3.00

New Sofa-bed and New Double Bed Base and Mattress

The Sofa Bed was changed in 2002 - it is much easier to convert than the previous one as well as being more comfortable in either mode. From October 2004, the Double Bed has a new, higher and better quality base, together with a new latex mattress; the overall effect is that it is no longer on the low side and is really comfortable.

Air Cooler.

An air cooling unit was added in 2007. This is a sophisticated version of the Indian 'Desert Cooler' and works on the principle of water evaporation ,which cools air blown through by a powerful fan.  It is suprisingly effective unless the weather is extraordinarily humid (unlikely in St Palais).  The system is even more effective if the water in the tray is cooled with one of the freezer blocks.  It is on wheels so can be used in the bedroom.

There is also a table fan.

ADSL connection with wifi.

This has been available for visitors since 2007, so if you bring your own laptop you can connect to the web - the wifi access key and other information is in the apartment.  {There is also an old Dell Inspiron laptop [This feature temporarily unavailablre in 2009], plus a printer, so you can access the web whther or not you bring your own laptop.  The Dell however is rather slow, though once the internet browser is loaded, access to the web is very fast and perfectly adequate for listening to the BBC or watching videos (eg U-tube) on line.

New loo and wash basin in WC.

A new toilet system (with a more reliable flush) was fitted in September 2008, together with a new sink and cupboard unit.

Miscellaneous Equipment

There have been several additions including a Hair-dryer, Beach Umbrella, Wine Chillers, a Tide Clock, a new Bedroom carpet, a new Phillips Hifi and new Sun loungers (May '08).

The above improvements account for the small increase in prices from 2002 onwards