Where to do Laundry
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you will have a washing machine in your apartment. This is a huge help even though they have a very small capacity. Chances are you will not have a dryer so I recommend that you invest in a drying rack and a small fan. The rack is about 25 euros for a decent sized one and you can find them at Carrefour or Giant. The fans can be bought there, too. Since there were six of us, I ended up buying two racks.
If you do not have a machine in your apartment (I didn’t my first year), you can find a laundry-mat any where in the center of town. Most of them open at 7am. There are three different size machines and the price depends on which one you choose. There is a top loader that is 3,10 euros. There is a front loader which is bigger and it is 3,70 euros and then there is a very large front loader which can be used for heavy loads or blankets and it is 5,70 euros.
They also have large capacity dryers, which are expensive to use but they work well. It is about 60 centimes for 6 minutes and 1,20 euros for 15 minutes. If you have forgotten your detergent, you can always buy a small size box out of the machines they provide. It costs about 1 euro 20 centimes.
A word of caution, the homeless people like to hang out in the laundry places when the weather starts turning bad. In all my times using one, they never bothered me. Just go about your business and chances are they won’t even notice you. Many people would wait in the laundry mat for their clothes and listen to music or bring a book. I would just leave my stuff and run errands and then come back later when everything was done. It is highly unlikely someone will steal your stuff.
The thing to look out for is closing time. In most of the laundry mats, the door closes and locks at the end of the day, usually 7pm. If you are in the laundry mat after this time it is not a problem, you can finish up and the door will open up from the inside to let you exit. If, however, you decide to leave while your clothes are washing and drying, make sure you return before closing time or your clothes will be stuck in there for the whole night. This happened to me over Christmas break and when my kids asked me where their stuff was, I had to tell them that all their clothes were having a slumber party at the laundry mat. Needless to say, I got them the next morning and they were perfectly fine.