If only I knew beforehand

We've just been doing the same - a total renovation project - and brought [or wished we had!] the following from the UK for reasons of choice or cost:

Paint -- can be 3 times the price for the SAME product (like Dulux Magic £19.00 in UK, 72 euros here), particularly outdoor paint or 'metal' paint. Wallpaper likewise --- and a very limited choice here.

Tiles, light fittings -- choice and price. If you want a rangecooker they are double the price here (or more) for the same product. Small electricals, like kettle or toaster etc all much more expensive here, but the larger items like washing machines are very similarly priced.

I would also bring bedding as there's more choice in the UK and I think it's a bit cheaper. And you can't get UK sized pillows here (the 80 x 50cm size).....closest here is 70 x 50.

Otherwise my UK shopping list consists largely of stuff you can't get here: good teabags, spice mixes, red lentils, barley, oatcakes, ham stock cubes, horseradish sauce, haggis (yes, I come from up there), dried porcini mushrooms, rice and pasta in bulk bags (just so much of a saving), porridge oats, meusli, paella rice, seeds for breadmaking, lemsips, mango chutney, big bottles of soy sauce, green tabasco, oyster sauce, golden syrup, dark marmalade, kippers, mixed crackers for cheese, dry sherry and marsala for cooking, Pimms, Tanqueray gin (NOT for cooking!).

All the best, Kate

It is my experience that paint and varnish are far more expensive than UK and poor quality. Most DIY and gardening stuff seems to be more expensive over here. We also buy sun-cream and mozzie spray on the internet as its far cheaper than in the shops here.

Yep, point taken Sheila.

I have different "tog" duvets and yes they will be utilised during the move!!

I have an electric blanket - I just send him to bed 10 mins before me ;)

I also have various motorbikes, some offroad (legal) and road. It's a much, much nicer place to own bikes here.

You can buy fully synthetic oils in the supermarket. (If I had a 'cool' smiley, I would add it here).

I do love Marmite, but never buy it anymore as I don't eat bread anymore, and now just don't miss it! If it's available on toast when visiting a B&B here, I demolish it :)

Hi Fiona,

You made me smile - with all the modern beds available now, and different mattresses, even here at home I have mismatches - double bed seems to have about 3 sizes!!

Thanks for the heads up! Am bringing whatever good quality stuff I currently have.

Good suggestion Fiona. However, beds and mattresses are measured in centimetres in Ireland, so shouldn't be a problem. Elaine, I'd bring extra duvets as well - they are horrendously expensive here. You can probably use them in transit as protection for fragile items. One item I'd hate to be without is my electric blanket. They do not seem to be commonly sold here, so if you like and use one, bring it! Hopefully it will only be needed for a couple of weeks each year!

Bedding, especially English style oblong pillows are difficult to get and very expensive (but M & S online a godsend) measure your beds in Ireland as mattresses etc are different sizes here, and Ikea also different. However there are some lovely bedding to be bought, just check fits!

Cheers Jackie,

Nice one on the beans!! My husband made homemade beans (not pre-baked tho) and they were quite nice too!! I actually only eat them at home for nutrition (sounds ironic i know) and quick lunches

Thanks Christine,

Garden furniture - I would have thought easy enough to get because of the weather? No?

We are bringing whatever stuff we have (all plastic and foldable) as it's all in good condition.

Good call on the Sprinter van, this is probably what we will have, so we need to be quite strict and prioritise :)

Thanks Kirsty,

wow - sounds like you have had big job of it. We spent 10 years renovating our cottage here in Ireland, so not doing that again.

Basic redecorating and maybe some fittings and upgrading is all we'll be doing - certain stuff we could remove from our house here, if we thought they were very overpriced in france - or hard to find.

Will be interesting!

Thanks Liz,

Sounds like the basic models of appliances are well priced in france. We are only bringing the washing machine, as it's quite new and a good A rated model. Not sure about the dryer - are we assuming we won't need one with good weather? I use mine all the time at home as I cannot bear the damp smell of clothes on the line for days, even in summer!

Dryers are good for feather pillows and stuff like that - hmm you see I am assuming we can launder the big stuff in summer and make use of warm temps and dry air - am I being a little naive?

Thanks Annette,

recurring advice on the paint - so cheap to buy large buckets of white and cream here for indoors. I have had many wallpaper hells when house hunting = thankfully none in this house, but they do colour their ceilings which I find interesting.

Our new house is actually not too bad - just needs updating (over time) so will be a car trip home to stock up on essentials, after some research locally down there.

Hi Henry,

Interesting point about motor oil - as we'll have a few motorbikes with us, and some of them take special oil - hubby will probably source it online as usual.

Loving your tip about the french TV - our levels of french are very low, so thats a good point - not sure about the success of submission but we'll give it a go!!

Hi Doreen,

Thanks for all the great suggestions - I think we'll be doing a lot of research online too :)

Hi Elaine,

It's as interesting as it's frustrating trying to understand what and where (even when - funny French sales) to buy 'stuff' en France.

I've found that 95% of 'stuff' can be found here, for the same or less, if you do your homework. It's genuinely, easy to pay 3 times the price for things at some stores than others, if you don't do your homework.

Some items are counter-intuitive, paint being the obvious. Motor oil, is about half the price of the UK, but French oil-based paint is about 3 times the price (and rubbish). Go figure.

Best paint advice is go to Leroy Merlin and buy 10 litres of sous-couche (undercoat) it's less than 6 euros and it works really well, then bring a ton of Dulux paint over with you.

Digital TV uses the same (ish) frequencies, as UK/Ireland, so Digital antenna will work - but they're around 30 Euros here, so consider if it's worth it. Any newish TV will automatically decode the signal. This gives you about 20 'free' (you'll pay for an equivalent licence fee in you household taxes) French TV stations of varying quality.

Ariege is a long way south, so you'll need a large dish to pick up Astra satellites, minimum 80cm - because the footprint of the transmission is limited. If you have a dish this size, bring it, if you don't buy one here at Brcodepot, less expensive than UK. Our 80cm dish is very, very sensitive at in the Dordogne. A lot will depend upon coax losses and distance from Dish to receiver. Less distance is better!

If your French isn't up to speed, I suggest that you only use French telly for 3 months and beat your brain into submission!

Exciting times for you and you have lots of good things to discover. Being paint and things for doing up the house. Wallpaper in France is horrible and it is hard to find good curtain material. Clothes are expensive, of course there are some lovely clothes and shoes around but for a high price and there are plenty at the cheap end but they are usually horrible materials, cards are expensive for birthdays etc. plants are costly…bedding plants for example, food is much the same as at home, we shop in the local market every Friday and come home loaded with wonderful produce, Bread too is excellent. Another thing I thought of…second hand cars are very expensive compared to uk. Am sure I will think of other things!!! GOOD LUCK

Hi elaine

we bought a house to renovate in August last year and have brought certain things over and bought certain things in France. we are only using the house in france as a holiday home at the moment and although it is liveable in which have done there is lots to do.

These are the things that we have so far found:

Paint, varnish etc very expensive in france (and not as good quality so i'm told) so bring over as much as you can. the same goes for insulation, ply etc

I also found antiperspirant and razors very expensive in france but general toiletries like shampoo etc okay

we took over a tumble dryer but actually they aren't too bad in france. we had to buy a washing machine in france as the one that was left suddenly gave up the ghost and the cheapest we could find was 299 euros

Some herbs and spices are very expensive . i needed some black peppercorns and i couldn't believe the cost in the big supermarkets but found Leader Price to be okay for them when i need to replenish

Kitchens and bathroom fitting i think are really reasonable - taps especially cheaper than the uk

Hope this helps a bit

Hi Elaine, if you are renovating, you may also want to consider things like light fittings, we bought some frome the UK much nice or our taste than those here BUT then you do need q supply of UK bqyonet fitting light bulbs. I have also brought wall paper over, and my cooking pots.

But we bought eletronics over here - if you shop around you can get good deals…we also moved as you would normally so all furniture etc

Good luck

I agree with Christine, these are the things we have needed from uk,especially the bath taps, most here are wall mounted or you need to buy feet for them . Paint , bring lots of primer, undercoat and oil based gloss, hard to find decent stuff here. Just a quick on for the writer who mentioned baked beans. Super u haricot blanc in tomato, big tin for about 80 c need to pep them up a bit with lee and Perins and tomato sauce but then like the real thing. Bon chance.