A wine connoisseur (Christine Campbell) moves with her family (Dave Small and their daughter, McKenzie) to Epernay, France, in the heart of the Champagne region. They consider the options between the sprawling vineyard countryside and the bustling town center, but there's no easy answer as they decide what's best for their 8-year-old daughter.
Air dates: Friday, July 26, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. CT Saturday July 27, 2019 at 1:30 a.m ET/12:30 a.m. CT
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
The Guardian weather chart
A typical kitchen Gard Manger
AC compressor on balcony in Nice
Interier AC unit in Nice
AC unit close up
I'm currently spending the summer in Nice with moderate temperatures and air-conditioning in my apartment, so I'm not suffering like my Parisian friends with temperatures expected to go as high as 109°F (almost 43°C) with no air-conditioning.
According to The Guardian (and a zillion other publications!), climate change is blamed as temperature records are broken in three European nations . "New maximums set in Belgium, Germany and Netherlands, as citizens swelter across Europe." In Paris, the temperature predicted today of 42°C beats the current record of 40.4°C which as stood for more than 70 years. "Scientists have said such heatwaves are closely linked to the climate emergency and will be many times more likely over the coming decades." (Source: theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/)
There are reasons for the lack of air-conditioning in Europe and more specifically in Paris and other French cities, but while France may be under-air-conditioned, the U.S. is over-air-conditioned. I came across an interesting article in Bright On Your Health outlining the differences between France and American air-conditioning, culturally speaking, and related to health, worth a read.
It is true that when I'm in the U.S. during warm seasons, I have to carry a sweater with me everywhere because it seems AC is set at 68°F or lower, which is counter to normal comfort and certainly not energy efficient. According to the article, it isn't "normal to be so cold in stores," and "it doesn’t help your body to be always in an environment where you don’t challenge your metabolism to work." Research published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that air-conditioning is one of the ten factors towards obesity!
That being said, 109°F isn't a picnic, even with fans. So what's up with the lack of AC in France? For one thing, this is relatively new — these high temperatures. Normally in Paris it's moderately warm for about two weeks a year. Not anymore. Then, the French have always believed AC is harmful to health. Right or not, that opinion is clearly changing. And with an eye on the future, which looks like heatwaves are here to stay or get worse, governments, citizens and companies are looking for solutions.
One of the primary reasons Paris is so ill-equipped has to do with regulations to safeguard the integrity of the architecture. A compressor cannot be installed (or anything for that matter) on the exterior of a building without permission of the homeowner association and in the case of street view, the permission of the City Hall is also necessary. (Don't even try getting that — you'll likely be denied!) In the case of my Nice apartment, the compressor sits on the balcony. The city sees no problem with that — keeping cool has always been high on their list of necessities.
When visiting Paris apartments for purchase, one of the first things I look for is the "garde manger." In the bourgeois buildings, there is often a box that sits outside of the kitchen window meant to be a "cool," well-ventilated area where cold dishes are stored without refrigeration...of course, that's when the temperatures outside are less than 109°F! In this box could be a perfect place to disguise or hide a compressor without the building residents knowing it's even there! Even if you have a place to install a compressor, the installation of the system is very expensive could destroy the integrity of an old building (if you have to add a false ceiling to run the piping, for example).
Portable AC units cost a few hundred euros and can be rolled around from room to room, but must be somehow vented to the outside. That's not always so easy. In my apartment in Paris, I am hesitant to cut a hole in the hand-blown glass of its 17th-century windows in order to install a unit I might use a few weeks a year! Unfortunately, too, the units are not small and they are not pretty! There's really no place to store one. These are some of the reasons I've never installed one, but it looks like I might have to "bite the bullet" in future years (or just move to Nice!).
So, here are some of my questions:
Why can't the city/country consider loosening up their regulations so that AC can be more accessible and less lives will be lost?
Why can't the manufacturers improve their size, portability, price and looks?
You can bet we'll see more of this in the future after this year's record-breaking temperatures. Meanwhile, stay cool as you can and plan for what's to come while doing all you can to reverse climate change!
Can Paris Lawfully Control Rents?
The UNPI (Union Nationale des Propriétaires Immobiliers) is challenging the very principle of the new rent control regulations because of its perverse effects and legal flaws. On July 1st, President Christophe Demerson announced at a press conference the launch of two procedures to obtain its cancellation.
The Alur Law created rent controls in 2014. After it was overturned by the courts in Paris and Lille, the Elan Law reinstated it in 2018. The new version of the scheme has some variations from the original scheme: it is being implemented on an experimental basis for five years, and it is instituted at the initiative of local authorities. But basically, the mechanism is the same. It therefore suffers from the same intrinsic defects.
Air dates: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday August 7, 2019 at 1:30 a.m ET
A woman (Kelly Pruitt) is ready to pack up and move to Paris, France — a dream she's had ever since visiting the Marais neighborhood as an exchange student years ago. She's bringing along a good friend who tries to keep her grounded but injecting practicality may be difficult as she decides between the perfect neighborhood and the perfect space.
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