We live in a building with a gardienne; sort of like a concierge, except that our building has 12 apartments, not 120. We sometimes wonder what she does all day. She lives in a dimly lit room off the lobby and sometimes pokes her head out, shivers, and then goes back inside. At first, assuming she was like a concierge, I rang her bell and asked her to take our keys so that a repairman could get in. She refused, and only after a lengthy debate reluctantly took them. Paris-style, the repairman was a no-show anyway.