Paris Air Conditioning in July

Old May 9th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but a studio at the Citadines will be a sofa-bed only (not a real bed)...so get the apartment if you don't want that.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:01 PM
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There are also 1-bed apartments at Citadines (my mother and aunt stayed in one in Lyon and I visited them there, thought it was quite spacious and rather nice).
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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We were in Paris last July 14-16 and it was quite hot! The problem with fans and windows open, like someone else mentioned, is the noise. We were in an apartment in the 16th. Our windows faced an inner courtyard, but we could here tvs, voices, etc. late at night and early in the morning. We did not sleep well and would never do it again...it is AC time in July as far as I am concerned!
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Intrepid1 and others give you sage advice.

We have been in Paris in June or July the last three years. A/C is positively de rigeur.

Summers are getting warmer each year in but 2003 was the worst in France when 15,000 people were reported killed by the heat wave.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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I wasn't paying attention...it should be "hear"!
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Old May 9th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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>I've rarely found Paris so hot that I couldn't sleep with just a fan and/or the window open.<

MFK Fisher tells a story about visiting an art gallery and seeing a painting of a woman in complete deshabille on her bed - one foot on the floor, arm over her head.

She thought it was a perfect picture of a woman who had been completely worn out by her lover. (Quite avent grde for those days.)

Some years later, she was staying in a hotel room in Paris in July.

About 3 AM, still unable to sleep because of the heat, the humidity and the noise from the streets, she realized that she was in exactly the same position as the woman in the painting.

It, of course, changed her whole idea about the meaning of the picture.

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Old May 9th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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For sure, most apartments do not have air conditioning. Electicity is SO expensive in France - the French are much more willing to endure the unbearable days rather than pay for cooling.

Also, it is absolutely true that A/C does not guarantee a truly cooled room. Friends stayed in a place where the A/C would work only with the room key inserted, and after many hours of running loudly barely took the edge off the heat.

You might be fine in a place with lots of windows and cross ventilation, and with northern exposure, but maybe not. Even with cross ventilation and fans, with the sun burning in from 2-6...Though, blackout shades can make a huge difference if you have them.

Slightly noisy A/C also blocks out street traffic.

If Hotel Muguet is available for your dates, stay there.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 09:52 PM
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Electricity is not expensive in France; in fact, it is cheaper than the U.S., thanks to the widespread use of nuclear power (over 80% of the electricity is nuclear).

French people are cheap, but only selectively so. They will spend lots of money overheating a building in winter, but they balk at spending money to cool it in summer. The steadily increasing temperatures in France will force this attitude to change eventually.

There's nothing special about the Hotel Muguet (apart from Rick Steves saintly blessing). Lots of hotels in Paris have A/C now—more hotels than apartments, that's for sure. The French may still be willing to sweat and stink in summer, but tourists are not.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 02:18 AM
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As a local, this thread makes me smile a little, especially the air-conditioning obsessions :

1. Paris does get "humid" like the southern, central and eastern US, let alone like southeast Asia. It can be hot, stormy, with spells of ozone pollution (duly advertised by the media) on hot, windless days. The city is dense and "mineral". It has an artificial urban climate. All those stones retain the day's heat during most of the night,

2. It is indeed difficult to retrofit air-conditioning in older buildings. Offices usually have air-conditioning, but only the most expensive flats (apartments), in modern buildings, do. Also bear in mind that most residential buildings are operated under community ownership (copropriét&eacuteschemes, so it's usually up to the individual owners to have their place fitted or not with air conditionning. Besides, it is required to get the building's managing company clearance before installing anything that might affect the property's outside appearance, such as AC condensers sticking out of windows. Consequently, many of the systems you can actually see in Paris, especially in shops, have consequently be placed illegally. But maybe, one day, we'll see all those Paris building facades ruined by scores of AC units, dripping on people walking by like in some south east asian cities...

3. About not being able to live without air-conditioning : I am in my forties, middle-class, and I have never had AC at my place (but I catch colds in buildings in the US). I can't recall having been unable to sleep because of temperatures in France, even during the heat wave of 2003. I imagine that most of the posters' grand parents on this forum have had decent lives without AC. I do what people usually do here :I close the shutters during the day, sleep with windows open on the courtyard side,in order to allow a cross-breeze in, something one can't always do, granted, in a hotel room. Noise from your neighbours, on summer nights, with all windows being open, can actually be more of a nuisance than temperatures. But that's the price to pay, a few weeks a year, for being in a dense, historic city. Heat in public transport is much more unpleasant,though

4. As a final comment, I was sorry to read some clichés on the un- aiconditionned French being "cheap", especially from people from the countries contributing most to global warming. Not having AC is not a sign a backwardness. One can imagine yhe ecological disaster for the planet if everyone adopted North American energy use patterns.

Morality after this rant. If you can't live without AC, DO NOT VISIT PARIS DURING THE SUMMER, or many European cities as well(It can be hot,indeed, the sights are crowded and the city is often at its dirtiest) or do not look for "quaintness". Stay in a modern hotel outside the city centre or in a modern residential building. Otherwise, you can't really expect a building to be 18th-19th century outside, offer a "Paris feel", and be totally 21st century inside : huge lifts (elevators), non creaky floors, big rooms, shiny sleek features, pink carpeting and artic air-conditionning. Well, it does exist. It's called Paris, Las Vegas.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 02:45 AM
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I meant Paris does NOT get "humid".
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Old May 10th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Trudaine, your point #3 -is- the point. Most Americans are accustomed to self-controlled A/C and find it difficult to adapt to a very warm climate and be able to sleep comfortably. Anything over 80F. is too hot for comfort in my opinion. And that is another reason why we totally agree with your last point - don't travel in warm/hot months if you don't like being warm/hot. (and we're from Florida).
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Old May 10th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Of course, having to attend a summer conference isn't so much the OP's choice.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 07:29 AM
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I totally agree with Trudaine (especially re. environmental impact). It's all about what you're used to!
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Old May 10th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Consider the approximately 14,000 French deaths (and tens of thousands elsewhere in Europe - for a grand total of around 35,000) that would have been prevented in 2003 with a little air conditioning. It's not like it's a spoiled American idea to want to stay alive. Of course these sorts of deaths happen on a much smaller scale in the US every summer - old people in brick houses in hot cities with no air conditioning who are afraid to open the windows die also.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 09:24 PM
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Most of the 14,000 were people nobody cared about (old people without a lot of money to leave behind), anyway, so the French have forgotten them. Some of the bodies were not even claimed. Apparently these individuals didn't realize how tolerable 105 F with 70% humidity and no air movement really is, and so they carelessly died when they should have been enjoying the "warm" weather.

Some of what Trudaine said might have been true 15-20 years ago, but not today. Paris is much hotter than it used to be, and the humdity is very high, and there is no air movement in the hottest months. Buildings are designed to trap and hold heat, not to shed heat, and so they get much hotter than the air outside. The problem is not limited to Paris, so it is not a microclimate issue; the entire country (or most of it) has heated up dramatically in the past decade, much more so than the global increase in temperature.

People who think still think that A/C is a decadent luxury presumably have not had the experience of discovering their parents dead from heatstroke in their unrefrigerated apartment. Those who worry about A/C's effect on global warming can turn the thermostat down to 31 F in winter, which would be the equivalent of 105 F in summer. That would save a tremendous amount of energy. They could also install public transit systems to replace the cars that are generating most of that CO2, and they could build nuclear power plants instead of fossil-fuel plants.

Much of the discussion of weather in Paris and in many other locations is outdated today, as global warming has preceded very rapidly and climates are already significantly different from what they were 10-20 years ago. In the old days, you could survive without A/C in Paris in summer; today you cannot.

Heat kills more people than any other type of weather phenomenon. The entire world is getting hotter, but some places are heating up faster than others. A/C will eventually be universal and required. In Paris, it is already required.

In summary, if you don't have A/C during the warm months in Paris, the heat may ruin your vacation; so beware, and be forewarned.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 12:59 AM
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I do not know how long Anthony has lived in Paris to affirm summers were cooler 15-20 years ago. 2003 was exceptional, but did not quite reach the historical maximums (it was especially remarkable for its very warm nights) but I also remember 1995 as a very hot summer in Paris, for instance. There are also records of very hot summers in the 17th, 18th, 19th centuries (with rivers nearly drying up, people, cattle dying of water poisoning), although the temperature data have been reliable for only a little more than one century.
People here keep talking about the 14 000 dead old people of 2003, which has been fully exploited by a certain US press (how bad, selfish, careless the "socialist" French are, etc - a little francophobia never hurts), but I wonder about the fatalities among old people during the Chicago heat wave of 1995, in a fully air-conditioned country...
As to energy-efficiency, and replacing cars with public transport to reduce CO2 emissions, the Paris track record is not too bad (especially when the current Paris makes life miserable for car drivers by reducing street space). Some countries do much better than Paris and France, but one could wish some others try harder in that field.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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I don't know how Anthony knows that, but I bet there are statistics somewhere. It does seem true to me just from my experience, and I've visited Paris every year or two in the summer over that time, probably. But, I am not positive it is true, so won't say that (but would be interested in official statistics). I don't really consider Paris that humid, though, but I'm from Washington DC where it is really humid.

THere have been some real heat waves during a few weeks or months in the summers in Paris over the last decade, but I think this general idea of heat is beyond those extraordinary events.

Trudaine, you do not have accurate information about Chicago and the US. The US is not 100 pct air-conditioned. That is exactly why some people have died here in heat waves, also (such as in Chicago). These are poor people who don't have AC. There are people where I live in Wash DC who are poor and still don't have AC, either, and sometimes there are heat alerts if it gets really hot here in the summer (like 95 or over) and they try to get those people into some shelters or places with AC.

I do think France got some bad press over that heat wave (but trying to blame it solely on the US press is not accurate, it was in a lot of international press). Now I do not have an opinion about that because I don't know all the details and issues, but know a lot of that is not the govt's fault except that I think there was a lack of AC in some facilities that should have it (like hospitals or places with ill people or very elderly who could be affected more than usual). I remember visiting the Bank of France one very hot day in Paris a couple years ago, and those poor bank employees were practically passing out because they didn't have AC, either (it was about 95 that day).

I do wonder about the fact if it is due to cheapness, though. I have heard the same thing about it being because electricity was so expensive in France, but all I know is when I rented an apt. there, the electricity costs weren't any worse than I pay in the US, so I am skeptical of that reason. I think it is just custom and not something you do, but I have heard that given as a reason. I've heard that about not having clothes dryers, either, so instead people string clothes all over their miniscule apts like they were in Russia or something, or those immigrant tenements. I could do that in my house, also, but don't want clothes constantly drying all over my house and think it's worth a few bucks not to have that.

I think a lot of things don't make sense factually or to an outsider, but social and historical custom can be very strong.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Try one of the 2 apartments at the Relais Bosquet..they are both air conditioned..the studio is 110€/night, the 1 bedroom, 150€/night.
In the 7th but near enough to St Germaiin not to make too much difference.

http://www.relaisbosquet.com/English/App01_rates.htm
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Old May 11th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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Paris set all-time records in 2003: hottest summer ever recorded; nine consecutive days over 95 F (maximum 101 F—and this was in the shade in a park); highest minimum temperatures ever recorded (never below 78 F, which is three degrees warmer than the normal yearly maximum temperature).

These all-time records beat every summer since 1757 (twenty years before the Declaration of Independence), when records were begun.

Average and peak temperatures have peaked sharply in the last decade or so.

So it's not imaginary. The data come from Météo France (the French national weather service).
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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With temps in the mid to highs 90's in Paris this week, just wondering what guaranteed did about reserving a/c vs. non-a/c lodging. Hoping for his sake that he followed the majority of Fodorites who recommended air-conditioning...otherwise, this could be the trip from hell for both of them!
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