My Instant Pot arrived and the first thing I noticed is that is looks bigger and feels heavier than my U.S. version. The information on Amazon does not support that, so maybe it's just that I am adapting to the concept of living in a smaller space. I'm actually not sure where my IP is going to fit in Bijou!
My friend Connie said on Facebook, "there's always the bed", which made me chuckle, and then realized I haven't shared with you the details of Bijou's floorplan and why it was our first and only choice for our new digs.
Bijou is 6.6 meters long and just under 3 meters tall. I think the TV satellite makes her over 3 meters, we will need to measure to be sure. She is 2.35 meters wide. In U.S. terms, that's 21.7 feet long, 9.5 feet tall, and 7.7 feet wide. That's it. No slides. She would make the perfect little chipper van should we ever decide to open a food truck. :)
There is a driver's side door, but the main entrance door is at the rear on the passenger side. This means both the kitchen and bathroom are at the rear of the rig and all the living space is forward. This is one of the things we loved about this floorplan, we can enter at the back, put down our stuff, hang up our coats, take off our shoes and then enter the living area.
Our sales guy Gautier, holding up the Déjà Vendu sign (Already Sold).
Here is the entry, mud room, kitchen, wardrobe and, to the far right, the bathroom door. So compact!
As I mentioned before, many motorhomes in Europe with mid-entry doors (like, 99% of them) have a living area consisting of a small L-shaped seating area with a big table, some with a side bench by the entry. Obviously many people find this arrangement appealing, because it is the most popular and available plan. But I am not a fan, and the reason is because I like to sit with my legs stretched out or lay on a sofa and relax. There is actually a photo taken on our very first night in Scoopy back in 2013 with me on the sofa and the cutline "assuming the position" and it's true! My kids will tell you that a sofa in our house meant seating for one, me!
Checking out my new sofa in Scoopy, circa 2013.
I have been this way for as long as I can remember and the idea of the sole seating arrangement being upright at a table seemed awful to me. Perhaps we might have had a rear bedroom, but how unappealing to have to retreat to the bed to relax?
In any case, all that is to say that a proper sofa is important to me. Steven, on the other hand, likes to have a comfy space with a table. He spends his down time processing photos and watching movies, so he likes to have a table where he can sit his computer, cameras and hard drives.
Three adults on the sofa with plenty of seating to spare!
Enter the Hymer B 544, a European Class A with a large, IMAX windscreen, just like Scoopy, if not as tall. Sofa? Check. Comfy sitting with table? Check! Rear kitchen and bath? Check and check. But what about the bed?
According to some, this is where Hymer really excels. Others want nothing to do with it. For us, we don't know yet, but it seems like something we can deal with. During the day, the bed is raised and secured up near the ceiling and at night it's lowered to make a comfy retreat. Hymer thought it wise to include a ladder, but most toss it aside and climb up via the sofa. Before lowering the bed, the driver and passenger seats must be pushed forward. When it’s raised, you hardly notice it's there, other than the lump it makes on your head when you bash into it, as I did at the dealership. Unlike a Class C in the states, there is no step down to the cab and so we must become accustomed to the hard stop as we move to the front of the van. I don't think it will take long before muscle memory takes over on this one.
Some good points about the bed is that as it is lowered, it slides forward so that it rests more toward the front over the driver and passenger seats than the living space. I can be snuggled in bed reading while Steven is sitting below watching a movie. It's an ingenious design. Still, there is no escaping the fact that when nature calls in the middle of the night, it's not going to be convenient. No matter what, it's going to be interesting to see how well we adapt.
As you can see in the photos, on the passenger side of the motorhome there an L-shaped sofa with a "surfboard" table. It's probably bigger than I prefer, but Steven likes it. The table is on a sliding mechanism, so it slides in all directions. It can be moved to the middle so that anyone sitting on the sofa or in the front seats can reach it with their dinner plate. It can also be moved completely to the right to make the isle down the middle a big wider. Again, an interesting design. Speaking of dinner plates, Bijou can comfortably host according to the RVers mantra: cocktails for six, dinner for four and sleeping for two! Unless the kids are visiting, then we'll cram everyone in but otherwise, things are as they should be!
That’s the basics. Once we get moved in we’ll do a walkthrough, maybe a little video and give you the complete tour!