my flat

As you enter the building from the street, a white button on the left turns on the stairway lights - for 3 minutes. If the lights are already on, push the button anyway. You do not want the stairs to go black as you ascend. There is a button on each landing.

Hold onto the railing, while ascending or descending the stairs. The rise between stairs is not uniform, which makes them precarious. My flat is at the top - 3d floor by European numbering, 4th by Chinese or North American.

The light switch is immediately to the left of the door frame. If I've been away, the flat will be dark and the electricity shut off. The circuit breaker cabinet, from the entrance, is left 4 paces, an immediate U-turn to the wall. Push the top black button. Close the refrigerator door.

The flat consists of a living room and kitchen, with a view of the mountains, a toilet, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The smaller bedroom has a queen-size bed (140 x 190 meters). The larger bedroom has a smaller bed (120 x 190 meters) and access to the balcony with a seaview.

All the windows have shutters. When opened these must be secured to the exterior walls, or the wind - the mistrial - will bang them against the wall. The three living room/kitchen shutters are secured with black angle irons. Inside the flat, interior doors - to hallway, bathroom or bedrooms - should be (1) kept closed or (2) hooked to the wall, if opened. Otherwise the mistrial will bang them about and break the glass.

The living room 'clic-clac' converts into a firm bed. Loosen the cover gently (I did not buy clic-clac insurance), pull out from the wall, lift up the seat 90 degrees until it is perpendicular to the floor; then push gently until it click once, then lower into bed position. Reverse the operation two clicks for sofa. Please read specific instructions.

The large bedroom opens onto the porch. Once you close the door firmly, flip the handle up to ensure closure. The doors to the WC and small bedroom have warped and will not automatically shut. From the inside, lean against the door and turn the key. In other words, these doors lock but do not shut tightly otherwise. Leave all keys in their locks. If childproofing, return keys afterwards (The small bedroom key is unique; the rest are fungible).

If I've been away, the water to the washing machine will be off. Turn the valve counter clockwise for 'on'. The electrical outlet for the washing machine seems to be working when the appropriate circuit breaker is in the "I" (down), not the "auto" position. Note that the washer is slow; once the cycle is finished, the door latch will release only after a few minutes.

On departure, turn off all the room heaters, defrost and leave the refrigerator door open, turn off the washing machine water intake, secure all windows and shutters, close all interior doors, turn off the main circuit breaker. Deadbolt the front door.

Maps and guides are in the bookcase. Vacuum and tools are in the amoir in the large bedroom. Most furniture is in the Emmaus style. Manuals for appliances and tools reside in the bookcase.

The building is managed by the syndic Top Gestion (20 Avenue Gallieni). My homeowner's insurance policy is with Credit Agricole.

Garbage/recycling is put in a public bin on Blvd. de L'Avenir, left 20 meters on exiting the building. Alternatively, trash in plastic bags left curbside is collected 7 pm daily and sometime during the early hours of the morning.

Locks - the bottom lock was an insurance requirement. I use it when I am away for a long stretch.

The oven is extremely sophisticated, according to the manual in French. When it broke, I had the local repair shop (50 meters toward the sea) make a house call. 5 seconds, voila it worked. Thirty euros later.

My Shenzhen apartment, decorated to my specifications before the building was constructed while I was away in 2001, is considerably smaller than my Sanary flat. My Chinese abode is located in an urban village. That flat has a single bedroom, living room, kitchen, toilet/bathroom, and porch.

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