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Making the Most of the Mattress and the Monuments

Ikea or Bust: Yes, The Mattress Matters Most Part III

It was one full year ago, almost to the day, that I bought the SECOND mattress. If you’ve been reading Parler Paris for a while, then you might recall that February 2017, I impulsively purchased an Epéda brand “Erable” mattress thanks to a solid recommendation from one of our clients at 40 percent off the list price at the BHV.

The Ikea Talgje Mattress TopperThe Ikea Talgje Mattress Topper

Th Ikea shuttle from BastilleTh Ikea shuttle from Bastille

Institut Suédois, Hôtel de MarleInstitut Suédois, Hôtel de Marle

The National ArchivesThe National Archives

Philippe Auguste Tower, Le Crédit MunicipalPhilippe Auguste Tower, Le Crédit Municipal

Concert at the National ArchivesConcert at the National Archives

Elysée Palace, Photo by Rawy ShediacElysée Palace, Photo by Rawy Shediac

Emmanuel Macron, Photo by Rawy ShediacEmmanuel Macron, Photo by Rawy Shediac

The purchase itself became Kafka-esque when I mistakingly purchased a smaller mattress than the Ikea frame I had at home (190cm vs 200cm). The BHV, in typical French less-than-perfect-customer-service fashion, wouldn’t take back the mattress because it had already been “desemballé” (unpackaged), even though I hadn’t yet slept on it, which meant that after having a small temper tantrum at the store, I had no choice but to buy a new frame (190cm) and spend more €€€. Then I had to have the old frame dismantled and hauled out of the apartment (more €€€).

It wasn’t until the next morning, after sleeping on the new mattress the first night, that I felt like a Mack truck had run over me. That led to trying to fix the problem by adding insult to injury: I went back to the BHV and bought a Bultex brand “surmatelas” (topper, another €€€). That didn’t relieve the morning aches and pains, either, and I had spent what seemed like a small fortune to ruin my sleep and body. (If you dare, read the entire pathetic story in the Parler Paris Nouvellettre®.)

I tried everything I could think of to improve the situation. I spent untold time, €€€ and energy switching around the mattresses, the toppers, the frames, etc. between the two bedrooms and two mattresses and never came up with a good combination. I learned a lot about mattresses in the process, while suffering sleeping on the Epéda mattress, including why memory foam was not the best choice. (Some people swear by it, but for several reasons, it clearly doesn’t suit me.)

During the summer of 2017 in Nice, it was great to be sleeping on Ikea’s “Sultan Fossing” mattresses at my apartment (“Le Matisse”), because I slept like a baby and never woke with any aches or pains. Even recent guests there were extolling the virtues of the mattresses. Immediately upon arrival back in Paris sleeping on the Epéda, once again I as feeling like a Mack truck had run over me.

That did it! Enough was enough! So, that very morning, one year ago, I went to Ikea to buy a SECOND new mattress (more €€€). With a group of friends at my side (or should I say, on their backs?), after testing all they had to offer (Ikea no longer sells their “Sultan Fossing” mattresses which were some of their least expensive mattresses), I opted for the “Myrbacka,” one of Ikea’s best! (If you dare, read the entire second part to the pathetic story in the Parler Paris Nouvellettre®.) 

Over the course of the following year, I added a foam egg-carton style topper, took it off when it didn’t make a difference, added the topper again and took it off again, changed the pillows twice thinking it wasn’t the mattress at all, but that the pillows were creating the problem, and then decided I just needed to get used to it all since nothing was working. I lost track of how many times the mattresses got moved around, turned over to see if different sides worked differently, changed the frames, changed the legs from higher to lower, added toppers, took toppers off…and still nothing had changed, except for the €€€ mounting up. No night’s sleep was without aches and pains in my Paris in apartment. (Once again, in Nice this past summer, I slept like a baby and woke up feeling great on the cheap Ikea mattresses. Go figure.)

Fed up with one year of aches and pains, I began re-researching “surmatelas,” spending a couple of hours to discover the “Talgje” at Ikea was a good choice (it’s least €€€) and saw a brief opportunity to get on the shuttle bus from La Bastille Saturday to buy it. With a rolling cart in tow, I wandered through Ikea on the route they assign you, picked up a few things (that one can’t live without, but, really can, but don’t want to) along the way then tested all the toppers before deciding on the Talgje to buy. I finally found it NOT where it was supposed to be, after wandering up and down the “allées,” waited in a very long line to buy it, packed it in the rolling cart along with the other must-have things and ran to catch the shuttle bus back to Paris, making it by less than a minute –– the next one was an hour later.

Once at home, the Talgje got unpackaged, unrolled and placed on the bed. The bed got remade for the one-millionth time and I’ve now slept on it twice. Do you think I woke up on the right side of the bed and my body is any happier?

The sad answer is NO. The topper has made no difference. Is it the bed or is it me? My next solution: doing stretches every morning or moving to Nice.

In my quest for a good night’s sleep, I’d almost forgotten that this past weekend was “Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine,” the European Heritage Days when everywhere in France about 17,000 monuments open their doors and propose more than 26,000 “animations” for the 35th edition of the continent-wide event. While I was at Ikea trying out mattress toppers, the rest of France was visiting monuments and museums. Not to be left out, I managed to visit a few open doors in the neighborhood:

* The Institut Suédois in the Hôtel de Marle: built in 1560 and undergone many changes over the centuries, one can now enjoy the Salon du Thé, exhibitions and events…

* Le Crédit Municipal de Paris: where a remnant of the oldest city wall remains –– built in 1190, a tower part of the wall built by Philippe Auguste…

* Les Archives Nationales: where we enjoyed a wonderful concert…

One Parler Paris reader, determined to enter the Elysée Palace knowing that the wait could be up to six or seven hours, did his research and discovered a special entrance for people with limited mobility. His recent hip replacement qualified him by showing an X-ray proving his disability (believe it or not) and while inside, he had the incredible luck of thanking President Emmanuel Macron personally for allowing him to visit his home!

I have never had the pleasure of visiting the palace, but one of these days…(after a good night’s sleep)!

(Photos of the Elysée Palace and President Emmanuel Macron by Rawy Shediac)

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - testing Ikea mattresses '17

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(testing Ikea mattresses 2017)

Respond to Adrian
The Adrian Leeds Group

Cara Black - Aimée Leduc mystery novels

P.S. It’s not too early to begin planning to join us for the next Après Midi. You won’t want to miss Cara Black, author of the Aimée Leduc mystery novels. Details on our Après Midi page

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