Le chauffage

When we arrived in France in August and first saw the apartment in person, we didn’t notice that there are no radiators. In fairness, it was very hot and heating the place was the last thing on my mind. I noticed the absence of radiators soon, though. Then I had a good look around the place and couldn’t find any thermostat or or any kind of control, either.

I got a little worried about the heating situation. But the landlady said everything is included in the rent, electricity, heating, internet, everything. Then Gergö saw a small building on the estate that says “chaufferie”, which means boiler room / Kesselraum. So I thought we’ll be fine, come winter.

As it got a little cooler at night in September and there was still no heating, I expected it would be turned on in October. On October 1, there was still no heating and I was getting nervous. We discussed what to do – we both hate writing french emails and I felt extremely silly asking somebody, “So, uh, how do I heat this place?”. We ended up looking up the apartment listing again and checked the contract for the wording. The listing just said individual heating and contract didn’t say anything.

We weren’t happy about the prospect of electric radiators, but at least we knew what to expect. So we contacted the landlady asking if she had any radiators for the apartment. She replied that the building has a communal heating system. She wasn’t sure when it would be switched on, but we could just ask the janitor.

The thing is, we can’t agree on how to do that (because we are both a little afraid of talking to strangers in strange languages). Gergö wants to go over to his apartment and ring the door bell and talk to him. We tried that two times and he wasn’t home (or hiding from the lunatic Austrian couple). My suggestion was to text him – we have his cell phone number.

When there was a problem with our names on our mailbox, I did just that and received a very short reply: “This doesn’t concern me”. First, I wasn’t sure if that was just a polite french way to say: “go fuck yourself”. Then we checked the weekend-duty list of janitors posted in the hallway and saw that we have a different number for him. Gergö looked more closely and saw that this list contains two versions of his number, with the last two digits switched.

In a very adult fashion we ended up not doing anything about our lack of heating, except buy a cheap space heater to tide us over. Earlier this week a notice appeared on the entrance door. It warned us that the hot water would be switched off on Thursday all day. I expected that the heating would work after that, but no luck.

This weekend our landlady wrote that she heard that there are problems with the heating – some buildings have 25 degrees while others have no heating at all, like ours.

I’m just glad I brought my plush onesie while I wait how this plays out!

Edited to add: We woke up to the heating working. The floor isn’t cold anymore! Whee!

Leave a Reply