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Natural Gas Service Outside of Major Cities?

kaleokahu Jul 8, 2013 06:16 PM


I've always heard that gas service outside large European cities is widely UNavailable.

Is this true?


  1. Yank Jul 9, 2013 01:29 AM

    If you are referring to natural gas pumped into your home from a community network that's right.

    Gas is, however, used widely to heat home in France. Normally, this is done via a large tank either above ground or buried. In our first French house we had a 2000 liter tank buried in the garden, this fueled the central heating system.

    Also, in France many people prefer gas cookers and will use gas cylinders of varying sizes. These can be replaced at most Supermarkets and many village shops. You turn in the empty tank & its replaced with a filled one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Yank
      PhilD Jul 9, 2013 05:32 AM

      Or is this for camping?

    2. l
      lemarais Jul 10, 2013 07:04 AM

      Most restaurants in France use gas cooking with a propane tank. And of course, La Cornue is designed for gas.

      1. Parigi Jul 10, 2013 07:38 AM

        Does the OP care to clarify, in order to help us help him?

        13 Replies
        1. re: Parigi
          Ptipois Jul 10, 2013 11:52 AM

          The buried tanks or portable cans are used in the countryside.

          Cities have "gaz de ville" which is brought in by pipes from a central provider. That might be what the OP is referring to. Not just large cities - cities, big and small.

          1. re: Ptipois
            kaleokahu Jul 11, 2013 06:27 PM

            Yes, Ptipois and Parigi, that was my meaning, "gaz de ville" .

            I asked because of a debate on the Cookware board (where we could use some more friends from France) concerning gas cooking. I asserted that, for various reasons, Europe has a less-developed infrastructure for delivering gas directly into homes, and that therefore many Europeans would naturally choose electric in the form of induction as the best alternative available. I had heard this before, but wanted to ask you, because you would know. Americans speculating about the rest of the world... I try to avoid that!

            Perhaps this is a bias showing, but I have a difficult time understanding why one would choose to use induction if gas was readily and affordably available.


            P.S. The use of truck-filled tanks and cannisters is common in rural areas of USA, too, but ours are not buried (!) and the gas in them is propane, not natural gas. To use a tank, people in USA need to change the jets in their burners.

            1. re: kaleokahu
              PhilD Jul 12, 2013 06:36 AM

              Less developed than where? It sounds like France is no more "backward" than the US with rural gas delivered via tanks.

              Odd that induction is thought of as not as good as gas given how professional chefs are moving in this direction - it clean and instantly controllable - similar to the benefits of gas. I think many would be surprised at how induction hobs have replaced gas in most top kitchens - definately at El Bulli before it closed.

              1. re: PhilD
                Ptipois Jul 12, 2013 06:44 AM

                Induction is indeed cleaner (the easiest to clean), easily controllable to the finest degree, cheap (uses very little energy) and above all extremely safe (which is not the case of gas).
                Gas is generally preferred when you need a high flame but I have seen what Chinese chefs can do on induction wok hobs in mainland China, and I was very impressed with the power of those things.

                1. re: PhilD
                  kaleokahu Jul 12, 2013 10:59 PM

                  Hi, Phil:

                  I believe the gas infrastructure in Europe is less developed than in USA. USA has 2.3 million miles of distribution and supply piping.

                  No value judgment at all. I do not think France is "backward" in any way. There are several reasons why USA may have larger gas infrastructure--the Wars, the age of European cities, the relative abundance of gas in USA, 1/4 the price, etc.

                  I prefer gas over induction, also for several reasons. But I was just trying to get French people's assessments of whether "gas de ville" is widely available there.


                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    sunshine842 Jul 13, 2013 04:45 PM

                    miles of piping isn't a good comparison -- let's talk about number of households connected.

                    Between living there and vacations for a couple of decades, yes, gaz de ville is widely available.

                    1. re: sunshine842
                      kaleokahu Jul 15, 2013 07:54 AM

                      Hi, sunshine: "...let's talk about the number of households connected."

                      Yes, please. If someone has any data, that would be wonderful. I couldn't find anything like that.


                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        sunshine842 Jul 15, 2013 07:28 PM

                        I don't have the data...but I do know that the density of residences per square mile/kilometre in France is considerably higher than that of the US

                        Having said that....I know far more people who cook with electric/induction or with small tanks than are hooked up to gaz de ville....and in most of them, gaz de ville is available, but they use electric or tanks.

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          kaleokahu Jul 15, 2013 08:42 PM

                          OK, what would attract a household to choose a tank over gaz de ville if the latter were available?

                          1. re: kaleokahu
                            sunshine842 Jul 15, 2013 08:48 PM

                            I've not a clue. I think it's a monumental pain in the ass to haul that huge stoopid tank up and down the stairs and back and forth to the grocery store.

                            You'd have to love cooking with gas a WHOLE LOT for that.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              kaleokahu Jul 15, 2013 09:26 PM

                              Hi, Sunshine:

                              Perhaps they're voting with their feet.


                              1. re: sunshine842
                                Ptipois Jul 16, 2013 12:43 AM

                                Many people are connected to gaz de ville and use it for heating and hot water but not for cooking (using induction or electricity, for practicality and safety reasons).

                                1. re: Ptipois
                                  sunshine842 Jul 16, 2013 04:05 AM

                                  yes -- I forgot to add that.

            2. John Talbott Jul 10, 2013 12:58 PM

              This is a post that makes us realize CH is great.
              I have cooked on gas topped burners for 50 years and when I moved one block away found myself gas-less, but do you know, I'm in recovery and with a little help and support from my partner, I'm managing..

              3 Replies
              1. re: John Talbott
                Yank Jul 10, 2013 01:07 PM

                John - Have you discovered the joys of induction cooking as of yet?
                It only took me a year to transition from gas.

                1. re: Yank
                  John Talbott Jul 10, 2013 01:16 PM

                  Humm, old friend, I have not. I'm still trying to figure out the best gaspacho, tomatoes and mozza formulas for what has gone from winter to summer in one week. I will take heed.

                  1. re: John Talbott
                    Yank Jul 10, 2013 11:56 PM

                    Yes, I haven't done Gaspacho so far & we're at least 3 days into 'summer'
                    Been doing salad Nicoise & Cobb salads though.

                    Try tomatoes & brie. A medium ripe brie beats mozza any day IMHO.

              2. l
                lemarais Jul 13, 2013 07:37 AM

                No induction here:


                7 Replies
                1. re: lemarais
                  PhilD Jul 13, 2013 03:41 PM

                  Not true - all the cooktops and ranges La Cornue manufacture have the option of specifying combinations of burners including induction (although apparently not in the US).

                  You can even specify one with electric ovens and the top with all induction plates - clearly they are responding to demand.

                  1. re: PhilD
                    lemarais Jul 14, 2013 10:01 PM

                    The only La Cornue induction cooker I could find is a "table" with several induction burners on the top.


                    But then again, I'd rather budget myself for a nice car instead of a La Cornue. These things are 25K Euro and up!!

                    Electric ovens are better than gas ovens, generally.

                    1. re: lemarais
                      PhilD Jul 15, 2013 04:17 AM

                      I looked under the cooker configuration tabs randomly across all the ranges in Europe and they all have induction. Interestingly the US range doesn't have them. Maybe adds to the OP's theory or maybe just shows Europeans have different preferences.

                      Here is an example:

                      1. re: PhilD
                        Ptipois Jul 15, 2013 05:49 AM

                        I believe the use of home induction is not as widespread in the US as it is in France. Here, it appeared in the early 90s and is now relatively common. It is not exactly a new technology, as it was already in use in the late 19th century, but it did not enter the nonprofessional market until much later.

                        1. re: Ptipois
                          RandyB Jul 15, 2013 09:05 AM

                          In the pastry and cooking classes at Lenôtre in Paris, we use all electric convection ovens, radiant (ceramic) cook tops, and movable induction heaters. The profs generally prefer the induction for active cooking, i.e., while stirring, sautéing, etc. The cook top burners are mostly used for leaving things boiling or simmering over time.

                          1. re: RandyB
                            kaleokahu Jul 15, 2013 08:45 PM

                            Hi, Randy: "The profs generally prefer the induction for active cooking, i.e., while stirring, sautéing, etc. The cook top burners are mostly used for leaving things boiling or simmering over time."

                            What is your understanding of the reason for this preference?


                            1. re: kaleokahu
                              RandyB Jul 16, 2013 12:00 AM

                              Induction is very fast heating, powerful, and very precisely controllable. The ceramic/radiant cook tops are less of each, though still very good.

                              Now that I think about it, another advantage is the induction heaters are movable. They are easier to use for demonstrations on a table in the middle of the classroom kitchens. The stove tops are against the walls. This is just my idea. No prof ever mentioned this.

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