Need Air Conditioning in July?

My family of 5 will be in Paris in mid-July next summer. I'm researching apartments and noticed that there are many that do not have air conditioning. Do you believe air conditioning is a must during this time of year?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

YES, have been to Paris for many many summers, and the problem is simple, sometimes you don't need it but oh my , when you need it you really need it. Apartment windows are not like in your house in that you often can't get cross breezes, ( theres not much breeze in Paris in summer anyways I find) , the windows never have screens so you may find mozzys , and then there is the noise factor, leaving windows open can be noisey. Many places don't have it though, its something apartment owners have to retro fit so can be pricey , some use portable units though..
Also note if you get a top floor apartment they often have these sunlights that will bake the apartment if its sunny.. I know its harder to find, but I found a studio in a great area that had it, and it was 800 euros a week, it will be harder for you and a family of 5 though, but there are some out there. After a long day of walking around in heat I need a cool retreat.. coming back to a sweat box would do me in.. and I live in a place with similar climate to yours so I am not used to mega heat, if its over 80 and theres no sea breezes I am not comfortable.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
1087 posts

You also need to consider that many Europeans have a different definition of air conditioning than we do. We expect it to be like a meat locker. You might find a room in Paris with a portable unit that keeps only one side of the room a little cooler, and makes too much noise for your taste. Just as a matter of understanding life in other countries (an objective of "Rick Steves travel"), even wealthy homeowners in countries including England do not consider window screens to be remotely essential. I'm not suggesting that you suffer like everyone did when I grew up in the 50's in New York City. (I lived to tell the tale, didn't I?) But temper your expectations, or if it's important to you, allocate the money for what you need. You could also allocate the money to buy two 240-volt fans and leave them behind. It can get very hot in Paris in the summer, even before the serious hot spells (with accompanying deaths in France and other countries) of recent years of "Global Warming". Note that my post is not making fun of you: We stayed in a Hilton last summer partly for this very reason. But a few years ago, the Leipzig Hilton and a Kempinski hotel in Berlin just did not have enough power in their systems to keep ahead of a nasty hot spell.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1544 posts

I spent the summer in Paris in a ground floor studio apartment, that was fairly cool, because it didn't get direct sun all day. So the location of the apartment is a factor. Most days last summer were in 70 or low 80's, so not too bad, but I bought a fan and it really helped on the few days when it got up into the 90's. If you get an apartment with out air-conditioning, I think getting fans will be essential.

Posted by Todd
Los Angeles
74 posts

If you are getting an apartment, the rental company (or owner) may be able to answer the question as well. I rented a place on the Isle St Louis in July and there was no need for A/C -- I left the windows wide open and there was a lovely breeze. Perhaps being near the water helped. It was in the mid 70s (F) if I recall.

Posted by James E.
3223 posts

I think you are going to discover that everyone's tolerance level is different. Personally I avoid Europe in the summer. If the hotel or the apartment does have A/C it is as noted above a unit by a different definition. They are so marginal by US standards that they generally are not worth the trouble. But let's say the A/C in your room is the exception to the rule and your room is as cool as a Texas ice house in August; do you think for a moment that anything else you visit in Paris is going to be comfortably cool? Restaurants, Shops, etc? Naaaa, not going to happen. Maybe, just maybe the museums are livable because while the French don't care about your or their comfort they do care about all that artwork they have on display. But wait! Summer is the time to join the famous Parisian outdoor café culture; at least until that lovely afternoon shower drives you inside where you steam like a lobster begging for ice which they ration like crackers to a parrot. G-d I love PARIS!!! But in the spring.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2374 posts

Being on a more northern latitude (compared to big American cities), Paris is subject to the occasional heat wave that brings stationary air on a high-pressure system that doesn't cool down much because of very short nights. When this happen, it might become really unpleasant to live without a/c. I'm the enemy number one of indoor sweating, so I'd say a/c is a must for Paris on summer.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3912 posts

Hi, The simple answer is that you really never know how mid-July in Paris is going to be. All of my trips in Paris throughout the years have been in the summer. Whether it was mid-June, July or mid-August the heat was sometimes oppressively hot...still no air conditioning which was extra at the hotel. I can say this as regards to discomfort: 80F in Paris is more unbearable than 80F in Sacramento. If you're sensitive to the heat or are adversely affected by it, then choose the air conditioning.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
1019 posts

Right on Pat! Perfect answer. As a heat-averse, grub-like Seattle dweller, let me add one minor nuance: when the heat is unbearable in the US of A, it is always possible to duck into a store and get blasted with enough Arctic chill to cool off. Not so in Paris - well, not so in Europe. Yes, some shops will be cool inside, and some larger stores have nice A/C, but it isn't universal, and you can't count on it. So without repeated "mini chill-outs" during the day, it just seems to ACCUMULATE, until you want to cry. Well, I want to cry, anyway. :-) If it were me, I would go with the A/C.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1671 posts

Totally agree to get AC, without it will may be oppressive. Can't imagine being in hotel or apartment with no AC and no cross breeze. Guess because had no AC growing up in NYC in apartment that had neither.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2726 posts

Central Europe is often very hot in mid-Summer. Not only do you have to face heat in hotels, but in public places and tourist centers. My wife is very hot natured, and we do best only staying at accommodations with a/c.
We prefer travel before June 1st or after Sept. 1st. to avoid the large crowds experienced in mid-Summer and while temperatures are moderate.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

We have been to Paris in June and July, twice. Our Hotel Le Littre (6 arron.) did have a/c in our rooms. We stayed there two years in a row and enjoyed the hotel and our rooms. We also had a view of the Eiffel outside on our balcony. It was so neat to sit outside until 11:00 PM, when it got dark. It stays light until 11:00 PM in May and June. The lobby however, hardly had any a/c. I would never stay at any hotel without a/c in Europe. It is uncomfortably hot in Paris in the summer. The dept. stores have hardly any a/c and are quite uncomfortable too. You must realize that the French's idea of a/c is certainly not anywhere near our normal for a/c.

Posted by JHK
Fremont, California, United States
402 posts

It could be that I don't mind being warm and so am unlike most of the others on this thread, but I spent the month of July in Paris in 2011 and much of late July in 2010 with my family in which everyone other than me is always hot and we had no need for air conditioning. If you tend to be an A/C user in the Bay Area, then you probably will want A/C in Paris. I don't have it in CA and I and more importantly my husband who is always warm and have been okay without A/C for our summer trips. The key is apartment location (i.e. which floor) and shade and whether or not you can get cross ventilation and if there are fans. We have been on the 4th and 5th floors and so felt fine with leaving our windows open for cross breezes. If you tend to always be warm and need relief A/C might be worth it but I found that for the huge premium that vacation rentals charge when they offer A/C versus the effectiveness of the A/C (about as effective as European clothes dryers), that we could do without it. Also, we tend to not over schedule our days so we are not overheated as we run from place to place so that might help with the A/C issue.

Posted by Brendon
Auburn, Washington, USA
513 posts

I was in Paris last July, and thank God we had air conditioning. One day it got uo to 115 degrees and it was about 90 at night. So YES, you would like a hotel with air conditioning or atleast a fan. I was in Italy in March of 2010 and we even needed one then. I have been to Hawaii 17 times and even been there most summers and I can easily handle that, but Paris, no way!