I have seen Ikea catalogs. I have visited Ikea's website. Neither of these will prepare you for the all day trip it requires to go through the Ikea store outside of Paris.
For those of you from N.C., picture Crabtree Valley Mall, add a floor and then fill it with everything you could imagine for furnishing a home. Not just furniture. We are talking EVERY room. They even have a separate store for kitchen stuff (as big as a major department store, adding a floor!). We unfortunately found this store first when we were really trying for the furniture (bedrooms, specifically). We bought a few things at the kitchen store, then went on to the other location. Enjoyed lunch in the cafeteria there (Patrick had a lamb shank that was awesome). Alas, I could not remember my new pin number for my debt card, but Patrick found a bank machine and took out a little cash, so we got some bed linens, an area rug and new pillows for all.
Stopped by the new apartment to show the kids and thankfully they gave it their seal of approval. Whew! No way I want to go through looking for a place again. ;-) They picked their rooms, explored all the nooks and crannies and then back to the hotel, which seems even smaller now! Jumping suitcases to go to the bathroom is not my idea of fun. Plus I am ready to prove to these dogs that there is grass in France!
Tomorrow we plan to hit another home store called Conforama which is like Ikea but on a smaller scale....maybe just half of Crabtree Mall.