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Riviera Pebbles Blog: Don’t get left in the dark. Light switches in Nice.

Posted on 24th Oct 2018 in Your apartment


lightswitch collage.jpg
Understanding French light switches

Ok, this is an odd guide post, but we promise a helpful one if you’re new to Nice. We’ve read many a guest comment over the years whose holiday would have been better if they had understood the light switches in the hallways of buildings. So, in the quest to ensure you all have the best stay possible, here’s what you need to know.

Some 80% of all light switches in Nice, especially in the Old Town, work on timers. A great energy saving tool for those in the know, but for those in the dark (literally) it isn’t much fun. Many a guest has fed-back to us that they’ve been caught short, fumbling around attempting to find a light switch in the pitch black once the timer runs out. There’s a super easy solution: press the light switch on each floor you walk up to reset the timer.

Usually, the light switch itself is lit up in the hallway, so you can find it easier (see below for a picture of what these switches normally look like). Unfortunately, since these light switches can sometimes be old, they are not always lit. When you’re familiar with the building, you’ll know exactly where they are, but of course you won’t be especially at first. A tip: have your torch on your smartphone ready, or keep the building door open until you’ve acquainted. The bottom floor hallways are usually lit up well, so you won’t struggle too much in finding the light switch.

A word of warning: doorbells and light switches can look very similar. If a neighbour ends up at the doorway, a smile and “desole” will usually suffice. Of course, you could be brave and ask for a cup of sugar, or if they want to come and share your complementary wine. Sometimes, if you are a lucky, the lights are motion sensored in our apartment buildings, so clap and the lights will come on.

Inside apartments, be mindful of dimmer switches. We get many a phone call from a guest who thinks a light is broken, but the problem is this: the guest is only pressing the button once, rather than holding down the top button until the lights start becoming brighter and voila!

If you’ve read this far on this enlightening topic (yes, a lame pun, we know), then here’s another tip: in many properties which have been around for over a century, electric switches can be quirky to the uninitiated.

Electrical items (TV, Wi-Fi box, floor lamps) are occasionally controlled by a light switch, so look around carefully if you think an appliance isn’t working. You may be able to solve the problem with the pressing of a button which looks like a light switch…but isn’t. Wall switches controlling the floor lamps/bedside table lamps can be common and unless turned on will render your switching lamps on and off pointless. Please check for the switch. Very occasionally, a switch can be hidden from the naked eye, such as to the wall of a bookcase or hidden behind a curtain. Bathroom lights are often outside the bathroom. Fear not, most guests manage with light switches just fine and when we’re aware a switch is becoming troublesome for guests, we label them for you. (So, if you encounter an issue, please do feed-back to us and we’ll try and solve it for future guests’ convenience).

Well done, if you’ve managed to read to the end of this post… now back to fun stuff to do, and places you should go and eat.


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