Before I tell of the wonderful things we’ve discovered in the small town of Josselin, let me cover the unfortunate run-in with a less than decent human being.
Finding a place to stay for five weeks in or around Josselin proved difficult. Most long stay gites were already booked for part of the time we needed it. I ended up choosing one home that was listed on sabbaticalhomes.com because of the price and the bonus of a car in the deal. Still, this was only available because there had been a cancelation and only for three of the five weeks that we needed it.
So I booked the last two weeks of our stay at The Cider House Gite. This place cost virtually the same and was available for the entire five weeks, but didn’t have the car. It was also located about ten minutes outside of Josselin and I thought the location in town would be more convenient. Plus, the place in town was an actual home not a rental, so I assumed it would be more “homey.”
We arrived late last Saturday night. What was waiting for us certainly did not fit the “confortable [sic] all equipped four bedroom two and a half baths house on three levels with electric heating ,fireplaces and beamed ceilings located in the center of Josselin” description listed on the web site.
A sabbatical home should be one that the owner would want to live in – or does live in part of the time. The woman that owned this one lives in Miami. It clearly was a rental that had no upkeep. She asked “seasonal pricing” for this horrible hodge podge of neglect; prices which equaled that of a nice gite – one where you have a bed ready to be slept in. Instead, we arrived to this:
But we understood that she was far away in Miami and didn’t expect turn down service or chocolates on the pillow. But pillows would’ve been nice. Oh, and here was the “modern kitchen” we woke up to the next day:
This place was not just old, but dilapidated. On top of that, it was dirty. Still, we were going to just deal.
There were many places (and things) that looked chewed on, carelessly painted over, chewed on again and then painted over again.
The wifi didn’t work so Mark spent about three hours getting the account set up properly, while I spent time cleaning and moving the furniture around to cover the rotten spot in the floor so the children wouldn’t come crashing through. This was “the children’s room.”
But now here comes the real rotten part.
We sent an e-mail asking “where is the dryer located?” and “what time is the rubbish pickup/where should we take it?” She shot back a defensive response, never answering our questions. Instead she insinuated that because we were not “academics” we were not “self-reliant or appreciative of the local culture.” It also appears she expects academics to be slobs and accepting of any ol’ crappy place no matter what was promised to them.
Meanwhile, the dead bird rots in the stairwell.
Now that we knew we were dealing with not just a run down home but also a person who knowingly misrepresents her property (and insults her tenants) we sent a painfully nice e-mail asking for our money to be returned (which we’d paid in full via bank transfer), minus two nights rent. She would be out nothing – if fact she claimed that she normally didn’t rent to people for less than three months, and she had someone coming at the end of June so it would’ve sat empty anyway. We even offered to clean up the dead bird.
Her response basically was “I’ve already spent it.” So she is married to a retired lawyer and yet she lives hand to mouth? She then threw out another insult: “I’ll have to screen my applicants better in the future.”
Yes, you better make sure the people you sucker into this sad place are complete idiots who don’t realize what a slumlord you really are.
Did I mention the floors were dangerous? Along with the mush spots around the toilets (and the scary area in the kid’s room) many places had as much as 3/4 inch boards popping up, perfect for smashing your toenail into.
What are those nasty, crusted over spots?
Perhaps by “local culture” she meant bacterial, fungal or viral.
Unfortunately, abuses like this happen. Sabbaticalhomes.com is not to blame, but it doesn’t have a place where people can give feedback. When people plan on being dishonest and misrepresenting things, there’s no way to know better – especially people looking for a home abroad were you can’t very well pop over and check it out first.
The “got yo money suckas!” attitude was the last straw. There was no way we were going to spend a minute more in this depressive place. It turns out, the other location, The Cider House Gite, was still available. Warily, we drove over to the gite. We used the noisy little car that came with the dump, an old Ford Fiesta that leaks diesel fumes into the cab.
It was like night and day. Not only is the apartment charming, but the people that own it are gems. I would rather camp in their yard with the resident chicken than go back to that dive. We told them of our troubles, and what did they do? Offered us the additional three weeks (we were booked for two there) at half price.
We packed up (we never really unpacked) and headed over straight away, leaving nothing behind but the dreary, stained walls and furniture that greeted us on the first night. Let me just say, I’ve seen better furniture on dumpster dives.
Now we are staying comfortably in the Cider House. We are still using the crazy lady’s old beater car and have the keys to her place. It would be nice to get our money back, either by threatening to call some kind of authority – possibly Health, or by sub-leasing her place. Anyone looking for a cruddy apartment in France?
What ever we do, you’ll be the first to know.