I’m Cleaning Up Over Here

Today was laundry day – and washing your clothes at a laverie automatique here in France can be quite complicated, especially if it’s your first time.


Fortunately, I’m no rookie and know what’s what at the laverie. And, after eight days … I was in desperate need of clean clothes. I’m determined not to rely on “sink washing” during this trip, except for my bike kits, since I only have two. Everything else is going to the laverie. Every seven or eight days, as that’s how many pairs of socks and underwear I have.

As you may remember from this earlier post, I have three high-tech Merino Unbound shirts that you can wear, stink-free for four or five days … and my underwear is made out of a new, space-age ultra-light fabric.

BTW: The shirts seem to be working. They don’t stink after three or four days.

Anyway, at the laverie, it all begins with the box-like machine on the wall. It controls everything. It’s the laverie’s brain. It’s the brain box. This is where you put all the coins you’ve been collecting for the past several days.


First, I punched in the number 30 for the lessive (detergent) and a red light on the box told me it cost 1 Euro. Put 1 Euro into the brain box … and a package of liquid lessive dropped out of the machine to the right of the brain box. Once, long ago, I did this, and powder detergent started pouring out the machine, onto the floor. I didn’t know you had to put in the cup in to catch it. Three or four people laughed at me … in French.

Next, put all my clothes in washing machine #13 (tempting fate) and tried to close the door … and couldn’t get the darn thing to close. No matter how hard I pushed. Never had this happen before. What the heck’s going on? A kind woman showed me how: you have to turn the knob as you close it. See, I told you laveries are complicated.

BTW: On the wall outside the laverie, there’s a machine that sells cold drinks, and another that dispenses microwavable meals for 4.50 Euros. Like chili, supreme poulet (chicken) and lapin (rabbit) with potatoes. And there’s a microwave above to heat up your meal. For real, here’s proof…


The French know how to make everything, even doing laundry, a culinary exploration. Nevertheless, I passed.

So, punched the number 13 into the brain box. You must pay 3.50 Euros. I did, punched a few buttons on the washing machine, and it started doing what washing machines do. And told me it would take 34 minutes to accomplish the task.

BTW: There’s an iron here, that plugs into one of two electrical outlets on the wall. You then punch in 33 or 34 on the brain box and get 20 minutes of electricity from the outlet for 1 Euro.

Back to the washing: You wait and wait … and then put your clothes in the dryer. Let me tell you something about French drying machines: they don’t work very well and take forever to get your clothes even moderately dry. I think the heat is permanently set at room temperature.

Hang on, I need to put another Euro in the box to get 10 more minutes of so-called drying.


OK, all finished, heading back to the hotel where I have Wi-Fi (which they pronounce Wee-Fee over here) … and can eventually post this.

BTW: On a long French bike trip, having all your clothes clean is a real treat … one even better than microwavable rabbit and potato stew!



3 thoughts on “I’m Cleaning Up Over Here

  1. Laundry doesn’t sound all that different from the local mat here in Sunbury except for maybe the cup to catch the powder and rabbit microwave dinner! Here we have Mt. Dew and chips!


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