Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Moving in Provence, a family affair


So, how exactly does one move a house packed to the brim with heavy and occasionally very fragile objects from the second floor apartment in the middle of busy Arles to a home in a tiny village in Provence?

Why with style, of course.


Well, at least that is the path that we chose as we were wise enough to hire Daniel Roux and his amazing team to take care of everything for us. And I do mean everything - including obtaining the city permits to block off a well-trodden street in the center of town (chosen to occur on a Monday when most of the surrounding shops are closed) to thoughtfully providing a pile of croissants for the start of the second day. Long before le jour J, he had come to our house to make a thorough estimation of what we have (as well as for the price), all the better to be utterly prepared. Remi then picked up the many, many boxes - provided free of charge - and we did our part of the work.

One of the things that makes Daniel's services incontournable in Provence is the use of an extendable porte-meubles which is raised, fire-man style, on the outside of the building. Once in place, all of the items to be moved, from bulky canapés (or Remi's gallery printer - yikes!) to our antique mirrors are put on a platform and down they go quick as an elevator...


...where they arrive at street level and are packed into the truck. Trust me, this is so much better than trying to pass through crumbling and winding Provençal staircases that can date from the Renaissance!


And in truth, three trucks were required for our family of...two...over sixty meters cubed in all. Holy cow do we have a lot of stuff - thousands of slides from Remi's archives, irreplaceable tchotchkes brought back from our travels and ah-hem perhaps a few random pairs of shoes belonging to yours truly. Why three trucks? One massive big wheeler simply won't fit in the streets in Yee Olde Provence, something that Daniel had verified in advance with Google maps.


While the last of the furniture and boxes were heading South, he packed up our artworks in boxes built for the purpose (that one of the major local museums uses their services frequently speaks volumes). They also had special containers on hand to transport glassware as well. "Did anything get broken?" his Father, 82, asked me afterwards. As he had founded the family company, he wanted to make sure that his well-crafted reputation was still intact. "Mais bien sur que non!" I replied. 

After all, this is no monkey business.


Was it odd to see the house that we had so lovingly restored stripped down to the bare bones?


It was. 

But Remi and I knew that we were moving on, literally, to better things. Overnight, our things slept in the trucks that were parked safe and sound at Roux Déménagement.


Day Two was the obvious aftermath of Day One - up, up and away, a film rolled in reverse. The boxes that we had labelled were deftly delivered to their corresponding rooms. As we had blocked out our floor plans in advance, the furniture was perfectly in place by day's end with nary a complaint, even when we realized that the washing machine wouldn't fit where it was supposed to and had to be moved - again - to a lower floor!

Because that is the thing - the entire crew is not only unbelievably hard-working (not exactly a common characteristic in Provence) but they are delightful. At the end of the day, Eric and Didier - both of whom have Popeye strength and have been working in the field for nearly fifteen years each - were joking, laughing and whistling nameless tunes despite the sodden heat. 

There was definitely a bit of music in the air, especially as Daniel's son, Olivier, was the fourth man of the team for our move. Not only is he the third generation to partake in what is back-breaking and very precise work, he also happens to be a talented musician, whose fantastic band, Starliners, is in the process of recording their second album with Universal. Pardon? Yep, a budding rock star who also helps his Dad from time to time. Very feet on the ground and very much in the family aesthetic. 

From the first Starliners album - that is Olivier on the far left:

Remi and I were invited to join everyone for the lunch break on the second day. We gathered around a table under the plane trees at our new local café and shared a bit of wine and a healthy dose of conversation. They rested, we relaxed. It was just the right moment needed before the final push and it was one in a stream of wise decisions that marked our two days. As the guys prepared to pull away in their emptied trucks, I felt incredibly grateful. Bisous were delivered all around. Will you believe me when I say that the move ended up being...fun? Perhaps not, but I know that not only was it a smashing success, we met a fine family with whom we will hopefully remain...friends.

Daniel Roux
Moving & Storage
250 route d'Eyguières
13200 Arles
Tel.: 33 (0)4 90 96 04 55

This is the second time that we have used Daniel's services and obviously I can't recommend them highly enough to anyone moving within Provence. They also offer the possibility of a secure storage facility and yes, English is spoken.

40 comments:

Judith Ross said...

So glad to hear that the move was relatively painless. You might enjoy this recent "Modern Love" column from the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/fashion/the-wisdom-of-the-moving-man.html

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Glad you had a 'smooth' move and I look forward to seeing photos of your new home all set up and homey. You are blessed.

FlowerLady

robin said...

Hooray, and where were these guys when I needed them?? Methinks we would have had a much smoother time (and one less emergency room visit!). Yay for finding rock star, hard-working movers - sooooo glad that they took good care of my sister and her STUFF!!! (also salivating at the croissants - mmmmm!).

Loree said...

Daniel's team almost makes me want to move there :) And I can't believe the service included croissants. Heaven on a plate.

Glamour Drops said...

I am still gob smacked at the thought he brought croissants!!! Here, we provide the pastries and cakes to our removalists, not the other way about…am beginning to think I have been doing things the wrong way around on our many moves!!

And taking everything down the ladder…what a hoot…but yes, the most efficient way is often the most dramatic.

puppyfur said...

I am absolutely delighted for you! Our move from Ireland to France, believe it or not, was similarly smooth, thanks to tge wonderful two guys who did it! One of them even made up our bed....sounds a bit creepy but it was actually very sweet. However, I did leave my passport in my desk which was loaded onto the giant lorry and driven away several hours before I missed it...ugh. Thank God for tge Anerican Embassy in Dublin, is all I can say.:-) can't wait to see your new digs! Sorry about the spelling mistakes but if I go back to correct them the keyboard on my iPad stoos working!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have to sheepishly admit that I had a hard time concentrating after seeing those goodies on the table in the first pic...

Lee I said...

I recently returned home to the US after almost a month in Provence. I challenged myself when I was there to see if I got bored having pain au chocolate (looks like your croissants) every day. There were two or three days when I didn't get them, but due to other factors than boredom, so no, I didn't get bored! Your move sounds so delightfully smooth, but it required a lot of preparation by Remi and you?

simpleimages2 said...

Wow. Well orchestrated moving. Every detail even tiny ones were met. Splendidly flawless except the washing machine placement. Very efficient and creative. Good piece of conversation with others who want to move a house. I remember our move from Michigan to California. Now time to listen to the music.

I like the outdoor cafe.

silkannthreades said...

A move is rarely easy but these guys made it look that way. Sad to see your empty house but I am sure you have lovely 'new' rooms to show us when the time is right.

emilia tremante said...

Hello H,
Use professionals for removals is always the right thing to do. My mother had a similar experience more than twenty years ago and she was fully satisfied. She still has a good memory of those days. I hope you can spend happy hours in your new home.

Silke Bauer said...

Wow, so cool! How I appreciate this kind of professional efficiency. Especially when it goes together with whistles and spreading good mood! Thats how it should be.

Hopefully you will not need them the next years for a private move but meet them for lots of Art/Photography transports. (;

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Heather,

Well, you certainly did move in style! Where there is a will there is a way for everything and now you have proved it.

We are so pleased that all your treasured possessions were delivered safely and without too much difficulty. The removal team sound to be wonderful. No doubt we would have invited them to dinner!

We wish you every happiness and joy in your new home and look forward to hearing your Provençal tales in posts to come.

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

How sweet of you to give the team a shout out :) moving can be a very emotional experience, so its always better to do it with people you like!

Can't wait to see the new place

xx

Gina said...

Dear Heather. I can relate. We were not as smart as you We moved our household bit by bit in an old truck. Your photos tell the story well. I have always wondered how one moves from a 3rd story and a narrow street to boot.
We look forward to seeing your new home.

Suze said...

Ah! You tease. I thought pics of the new place were sure to make this post. Seriously, though, I do like the way you've turned this into a series and I like very much that you chose to highlight innovations like Daniel's. And yes, I do believe it was fun. Good company with a job to do (well) can be exactly that.

Blessings on the next leg. Deep ones.

I Dream Of said...

Heather, this is wonderful. Even moving is better in Provence! Lunch with your movers? Croissants? That certainly never happened in any of our Seattle moves. (Although fortunately I finally found a moving company that actually tries not to break things). I love hearing about a successful family business where pride is taken in preserving reputation and there is joy in getting the job done right. Glad you were in such good hands! And if I ever move in Provence I will give them a call!

Have a beautiful Wednesday! XOXO

Mumbai said...

Wonderful that everything worked so smooth what I can't confirm with my recent relocation which was much more
chaotic. I had 186 boxes in different sizes and missed my double fridge/freezer which was only 4 yrs old and never
appeared yet with some other personal things. But moving from S/E Asia to EU is quite different I believe. Anyway I wish you a very pleasant welcome in your new home and looking forward to hear/see more about. b.t.w. the Starliners are quite cool.

D A Wolf said...

What an extraordinary process. Fascinating (to read about), but surely wrenching as well - and not to mention the hard, hard work of packing (and later unpacking). Having moved my little family, I understand well... (Now about those ah-hem, shoes...)

Holding my breath for you both that all goes well on the other end. And of course, there is the excitement of arranging a new place. Beginnings are always so lovely.

xo

Wyn Vogel said...

Well - `Welcome' to your new home - and thanks for sharing this amazing change over - we have funnily enough been visiting this wonderful country for the last few weeks - though this trip we stayed up north of you and visited an artist I have been talking with just outside of Chartres in Chateauneuf-en-Tymerais!! I was thinking of you, the way you live so well here amongst this history you show so well!! Thanks again!!

Libby said...

Moving is so emotional that one needs all the "right" help available! We too had a really wonderful experience moving from NY State down to North Carolina, and in the middle of an ice storm. The movers were professional, funny, amazingly careful and efficient. No one can believe it when i say that not one thing was damaged. Nothing. So I second the motion to always use the best professionals you can find!! Can't wait to see the pictures of the new place….

Heather Robinson said...

Merci Judith, will take a looksee. I always love that column...

Heather Robinson said...

I am definitely feeling so, FlowerLady.

Heather Robinson said...

Yowza!!!

Heather Robinson said...

Remi, bless his heart, packed over 100 boxes while I was in the States, I did the rest.

Heather Robinson said...

Still working on it!

Heather Robinson said...

Now we are talking... :)

Heather Robinson said...

Merci les Hattats! We would have invited them to dinner (and did offer for drinks at least) but who can blame them that they just wanted to get home?

Heather Robinson said...

It is coming together but I think that I am just going to have to give up and show it soon as is! We like to take our time when we can. And yes, definitely an emotional roller coaster - something that Daniel and his team knows and respects too...

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Gina. We have done plenty of crazy old school moves too but this one was too challenging to attempt!

Heather Robinson said...

I'll take those with Gratitude, Sweets.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Emilia - if I can get it to be as welcoming as yours looks... ;)

Heather Robinson said...

I wouldn't be surprised if a vacation home here ended up being in your future...

Heather Robinson said...

I am glad you think so too, R!

Heather Robinson said...

Perfectly said, as always.

Heather Robinson said...

Soon Libby. Are you liking NC??

Splendid Market said...

Amazing! Loved hearing this story. So pleased the move went so smoothly, and so great you took a few parting shots. Best of luck in the new nest.

Jeanne Henriques said...

...and here I was thinking a move from our house to the barn was going to be tough! WOW! It makes a world of difference when you are in trusted hands. I can see I am going to have to back up a few posts here...so happy too! xx

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Despite the fact that a moving to new place may be exactly right thing to do for those involved, it can be an emotional time to say goodbye to a place in which you have invested love and energy and made many wonderful memories. I trust that you and the boys have settled into your new home by now. Bisous

Audrey Greenwood said...

A move is never an easy task whether is it for your own house or commercial moving. Congratulations on having completed the exhaustive phase and hope you have settled down nice and neatly in the new heaven. Hiring professionals is always advisable especially if you do not have close friends or relatives who are nearby to lend a helping hand. It is a true blessing to have a company that provides all-rounded services at just one place.