Who Me? “Schvitzing” in the Summer Heat? Never!
It’s been intensely hot in Nice since we returned from Corsica; so hot (in the 90s) that my daughter and I opted out of going to the beach Sunday and stayed in the cool, air-conditioned quiet of our own apartment, working on our computers to catch up and cool off.
Then, for the two days following, I have been visiting properties for sale for some respite and searching for any shady spot or air-conditioning. Even in Nice, it’s not a given that apartments and public establishments are air-conditioned. Only about half of the apartments we visited (about 10) were so well equipped, meaning that our client expects to have to install it, if it is possible.
“If possible,” is the key here. We Americans think nothing of it, as how many buildings in the U.S. do you think are not air-conditioned? I can remember as a little kid growing up in New Orleans, which has an average summer temperature of about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than Nice and about the same humidity factor (in the 70% range), that we had window units blasting out cold air and making a whole lot of noise. Nobody cared about what the unit looked like from inside or outside, or how loud it was – just that it cooled off our home.
That’s not true in France. They care about the esthetics and don’t want to see unsightly compressors littering their beautiful landscape. You can install a compressor on your own private balcony or terrace (and sometimes hidden in a “garde manger” or pantry chef), but any unit placed on the exterior of the building that can be seen in a public place requires permissions. This is one big reason they don’t exist as much as we think they should. Another reason is cost and energy usage. Europeans are very conservative when it comes to usage of their utilities – gas and electricity. It wasn’t always abundant for them like it was in the U.S. and therefore they conserve more and use less. In addition to all this, it wasn’t as warm as it is now, thanks to Climate Change and Global Warming.
According to Climate Change Post, France is experiencing global warming 30% more than the global average. Temperatures have risen by 0.95°C (Celsius) compared to 0.74°C globally in the second half of the 20th-century. Temperatures have increased more in the south than in northern France, but cold spells are predicted to be a whole lot less cold than in previous years – by about 5°C. Maximum heat in France has been recorded at 42°C (107.6°F [Fahrenheit]) and the study concluded that by the year 2100, the increase in maximum summer temperatures in France may exhibit a range from 6°C to almost 13°C.
Paris is projected to have more heat waves than ever before (a heat wave is defined as at least one day with a daily minimum 18°C and a maximum of 34°C, with a minimum duration of three days with relatively high temperatures). Remember the “canicule” in 2003, reported as the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540? From 1960 to 1989, only one heat wave was reported within a 10-year period. But between 2020 and 2049 it is projected to occur once every two years with an increase in duration.
In all the years of living in a climate measured by Celsius, I still haven’t acclimated and continue to measure cold and heat by Fahrenheit. The conversion from one to the other isn’t simple. We all learned the equation in school ([°F] = [°C] × 9/5 + 32 degrees Fahrenheit or multiply Celsius by 1.8 (or 9/5) and add 32 or…), but putting it into practice is more a matter of experience than calculation. For example, I know now that if I set my air-conditioning to about 23°C I’ll be comfortable inside – 73.4°F. And if it’s 0°C outside, it’s freezing and it could snow. That’s about as much as I can get, even after 24 years. (Fahrenheit is so much more precise!)
Regardless of whether I count the degrees in Celsius or Fahrenheit, air-conditioning is becoming increasingly more important. When we’re looking at properties, it’s one of the first things we ask about and if it’s not installed, the question is if it can be. It’s a big reason I come to Nice for the summer (Le Matisse) as my Paris apartment is void of the cooling equipment. Even if three fans are going in the living room it is hardly enough to stop the sweat. Fortunately, Le Matisse is well equipped, thanks to a honker of a compressor on the balcony, eating up about one-third of it.
My mother once told me “Jewish girls don’t ‘schvitz’ (Yiddish for sweat), and if they did, they’d never admit it.” I believed her and I never allowed myself to sweat…if I could help it, that is. Now that she’s gone and Climate Change is warming things up at a speed to which we can’t keep up, I better either get used to it, or install air-conditioning in my Paris abode, or move to Nice and stay inside!
A la prochaine…
Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Speaking of…friends of Parler Nice, Parler Paris and French Property Insider are welcome to stay in Le Matisse – at least when I’m not there. It’s cooler in summer and warmer in winter! Contact us to secure your stay!