Wednesday, March 02, 2005


If you are a fan of the Parisian bloggers you know that baby it is COLD in gay Paree. The mercury has dropped to as much as -7 Celsius or about 20 Fahrenheit at night and is barely above freezing during the day. If you follow the blog posts, you will know it snowed last week and there was general merriment about that. But the joy of the Eiffel Tower covered in snow has given way to a collective whine about the temperatures. We were stuck in the big black out in the US a couple years ago and the reaction was similar. The first night the neighbors in my in-laws neighborhood all came out and had a big block party cookout to empty refridgerators of beef and beer. On day two, the realization that the air conditioners were not going on and not for the foreseeable future had set in and the novelty turned to open misery (and a little panic over drinking water.) The blackout of course occurred at the same time as a massive heatwave that hit France and Paris and killed thousands of people.

So all you who don't live in Paris, say what's the big deal? It gets colder or hotter and stays cold and hot in large parts of the world and they don't complain like you Parisians. Its just that Paris is normally a temperate climate and buildings simply are not set up to deal with temperature extremes. Our old 1890 Haussmanian style building is one BIG DRAFT. Seriously, stand in my kitchen and a cold air stream will hit you in the feet and in the chest. Weather proofing is a second thought.

And I'm cold. I wasn't even here for the rare event of snow that *actually accumulated* on the ground. Of course some of our suffering was self inflicted. Before we left for vacation, when it was a nice normal 7C/45F degrees in the city, we turned down the heat in the apartment. When we came back our apartment was a toasty 6C/43F degrees according to the thermometer! However it takes DAYS to get the heat in the apartment up. In three days of heating, we have managed to bring the temperature up from 6C/43F to a balmy 16C/60F.

All this cold doesn't work well for my schedule this week. We are currently in the second week of the two week February school vacation. Great, the first week we went skiing and had plenty to do. This week, when most of my children's friend's are still skiing, we are stuck in the apartment. My son has signed up for soccer every afternoon. That helps. But, I must walk him there and pick him up 2 1/2 hours later and I dread going out with my daughter. The first day he and a soccer friend threw a tantrum convinced me to go to the park after soccer. We stayed for 20 long, cold minutes.

So blogging is difficult this week with the kids stuck in the apartment with lots of energy to fight with each other. I feel like I'm the referee this week between all their arguments. *TWEEET* "Technical foul, that's a timeout!"

*****UPDATE!!! I wrote the post last night, then Blogger burped and I couldn't publish. In the meantime it snowed last night and the cars are still covered this morning.

I went to bed last night at 9:30pm, exhausted after keeping the warring factions apart. Example: There are special sales on strawberries in Paris right now and I had to deal with the fact that "he got 7 strawberries and I only got 6 ... WAAAAAAAAAaaaaa."

At least the house is warming up. Instead of 5 wool blankets last night, I used three. Maybe there will be some sun today?

-- said Auntie M in Paris
7:55 AM



We don't have central heat in our apartment. Only a few rooms have the electric wall heaters and they cost a fortune to use. So, we have been confining ourselves to two rooms during the day. It is painful to walk out of those rooms into the frigidness of the rest of the apartment.

# posted by Jason : 9:46 AM  

Reading all of these stories about how French apartments are uncomfortably cold, I have to say I'm now thankful that ours is always very, very warm in the winter whether we turn our heaters on or not.
And to think I was upset that we live in one of these newer constructions and not a charming old building with stone walls and wooden ceiling beams.

# posted by Anna : 10:08 AM  

Jason, Staying in two warm rooms sounds like a good plan. We warmed up the bathroom the first day when we took baths and showers by turning on the clothes dryer. When we left the warm bathroom we felt even colder walking around the apartment.
Anna, You really wouldn't believe the drafts in this apartment. I have dreams about moving back to the US and have the most energy efficient house.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:39 AM  

But it does sound awfully romantic to be in Paris in the springtime... okay it's not quite spring yet, but it has to be coming right??

:) who is cold here in Canada too. :(

# posted by A Touch of Style : 6:40 PM  

That sounds very unusual for Paris. Can you grab the kids and jump a TGV for the South of France? Sleep on the beach? Just kidding-- it should pass soon, I hope. ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 10:37 PM  

That sounds very unusual for Paris. Can you grab the kids and jump a TGV for the South of France? Sleep on the beach? Just kidding-- it should pass soon, I hope. ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 10:38 PM  

Sorry you're cold. I can only imagine having to live through a harsh winter in those leaky apartments. Go buy an electric blanket, that will help. And don't play referee! Be firm and make them play nice. If they won't, put them to work doing household chores, cleaning out closets, etc.

# posted by Philip : 11:00 PM  

In our region, houses are desinged to stay cool in summer. If the wind blows while it's snowing the roof fills with snow.

I send you mutual shivers!

# posted by Anji : 10:41 AM  

Oh M. - I can certainly sympathize with you about the kids!!! Couple more days to go - hang in there!

# posted by Pat : 2:19 PM  

Head south! That's a good idea! Though the water in the dog's dish has been frozen the last few mornings...

# posted by Louise : 2:41 PM  

SP, Yes, I hope Spring is coming soon! Paris is a lovely romantic city most months... but not over the last few weeks! It probably takes a lot longer for the weather to warm up in Canada, though...
BP, A visit to the South sounds good, but then we'd be with the rest of the country fighting our way back to Paris this weekend. I hate crowds!
Philip, Thanks for the advice... I know there is a better way to handle my kids and I'm hoping one day to figure it out!
Anji, Let's just hope it starts getting warmer soon for all of France.
Pat, I think the kids want to get back to school as much as I want them to! They keep asking how many more days till school begins.
Louise, I'll visit when the weather is warmer and take advantage of your wonderful pool.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 5:06 PM  

Don't even bother trying it in the south...it is freezing here too!!

# posted by Sammy : 5:13 PM  

Sammy, Hello. Thanks for leaving a comment. I guess it's best to stay put for now! At least my apartment has warmed up. I really hope this cold ends soon.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 6:09 PM  

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