We are enjoying the long days of Summer in Lyon. The sunrise is a little before 6:00 and the sunset is at 21:30, but it stays light out until a little after 22:00. We find ourselves losing track of time because it stays light out so late. Before we know it, it’s 21:00 and we still haven’t started to make dinner! We tell ourselves that we are just embracing the French lifestyle when we eat late.
Right after the first official day of Summer, the weather started heating up in Lyon. We’ve had a week of high 80’s and low 90’s weather during the day, and there’s no signs of it stopping. We walked to the grocery store after work today and it was HOT! The walk to the store is only about a third of a mile, but having the afternoon sun beating down on us did not make it an enjoyable trip.
Our apartment faces East-West, and we get the sun beating down on our guest room and our dressing room most of the day. Luckily, our bedroom, living room, and kitchen are all facing west, and they don’t get much direct sunlight until the last couple hours of the day. This has been the biggest blessing in disguise because it helps keep our apartment cool!
Most apartments in Lyon, including ours, don’t have air conditioning. It was a “nice-to-have” on our apartment wish list but we knew it may be difficult to find something we liked (in our price range) that had it. As Americans who are very accustomed to air conditioning, we knew we would have to find a solution.
As soon as we moved into our apartment, Jordan had researched options online and picked out a portable AC unit for us to buy. I was originally against it and didn’t think we needed one, but now that it’s hot outside: I stand corrected. One of the biggest problems with the portable AC unit is that we don’t have traditional windows where we could direct the exhaust hose outside to release the hot air. In our living room area, the entire wall is composed of four sliding doors and in our bedroom we only have a door that leads to a balcony. Leave it to my amazing engineer husband to find a solution. According to him, “it’s a piece of America that we could actually bring with us”.
He’s created not one, not two, but three solutions for us in our bedroom and living room. After a couple of trips to the hardware store later, his engineer mind went to work. He mocked up some options, created some prototypes, refined the prototypes and make sure they were the most efficient solutions. The solutions are a combination of foam board and gorilla tape along with two floor fans and the portable AC unit. He also got creative and bought an exterior dryer vent cover to attach to the exhaust hose. He used this cover because it was square and would be easier to align with the foam board and doors than a circular one.
He cut foam board to size for the height of the door that matched the same width of the dryer vent cover. Next, he attached two pieces of foam board together. He then cut grooves into either side of the foam board to align with different metal grooves in our doors. Each piece of foam board has different grooves so that the foam board would “snap in” between the door and wall.
If you’re wondering, this is more effort than I ever would have put in, but it’s so worth it to have a nice, cool apartment on these hot days. Shout out to when my AC went out in my car when I lived in Colorado and instead of paying to get it fixed, I bought a spray fan mister and used that instead! I used the spray fan method for four years.
Our bedroom door was a little bit more difficult to figure out, and it took some time to find a solution. We originally bought something off Amazon to use, but it made the door completely unusable and I wasn’t willing to give up one of our balconies that we searched so hard for to find. We have electric shutters that we can close, so Jordan found a way to create a foam board piece that would allow us to close the shutters at night so that we wouldn’t have to wake up with the sun before 6:00!
We move our portable AC unit and the two fans in between the living room during the day and the bedroom at night. It’s a minor inconvenience that we have to do everyday and not the most attractive thing to look at, but so worth it to have cool air!
We will appreciate having AC so much more when we move back into our home and can turn it on with the click of a button!
P.S. Go check out our photos page for photos of our trip to Toulouse and Carcassonne!