Paris is hot hot hot!
Today was the hottest day in Paris. Not just the hottest day of the year, but the hottest day ever recorded in the city’s history. Within the last 24 hours, temperatures have soared to a whopping 108 degrees Fahrenheit, equivalent to 42.6 Celcius. The first time the city got even close to temperatures of this magnitude was ten years ago when Parc Montsouris hit a high of 40 degrees Celcius.
So as you can imagine Paris was absolutely roasting today, and you would think that the lofty Paris apartments (inhabited by many residents) would provide a welcome relief from the heat, but the rays permeated through the walls – such was the intensity of the sun aujourd-hui! And with no standard air conditioning for most city residents, people have found themselves venturing to air-conditioned department stores and restuarants to cool down. The metro is the least popular mode of transport usually – despite its necessity – but for some, the stations themselves become a haven of coolness in an effort to escape the blistering heat. But it’s a toss of the ‘ dice as to whether you could cool-down’ on an actual train, as just one-third are air-conditioned and only 1 in 6 of Paris buses!
High temperatures such as this are sweeping across Europe right now as France, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany are being scorched by this heatwave. All, are reporting record-breaking numbers as the summer sun goes into overdrive. These record highs surpass the weather in parts of the Caribbean, Asia and South America!
Here in Paris concerns have been raised regarding the impact of this.
Sadly, 5 deaths have already been caused in France by these extreme weather conditions.
Due to the seriousness of the circumstances, Paris finds itself in, an emergency heat plan was activated which includes keeping parks open for 24 hours and ensuring the water fountains are fully functioning as well as providing cool rooms that will be provided in town halls across the capital and up & down the country. For the more vulnerable Paris residents such as the elderly, the isolated and so forth, a special phone line has been made available.
The Mayor earlier this week announced that swimming pools will stay open after 10pm and she also gave permission for swimming at any time, in the canal at La Villette. For the homeless, 5,000 flasks of water in containers – that can be refilled – are being distributed; and an extra 1,000 water fountains are being erected across the capital.
The government is urging people to stay hydrated and Paris residents, as well as visitors, have taken this to another level by literally hurling themselves into almost any available water feature in the city, from the River Seine to the fountains and pool at the Trocadero or spray canons at the Eiffel Tower.
Here is a list of the spaces to stay cool and where to find water in Paris.
If you need urgent assistance from a doctor, call SAMU by dialling 15. 112 is the European Emergency number. Find here the full list of numbers and some useful French phrases that may help you if you get stuck.
You could also download the Extrema Paris app, designed to provide your nearest cool spot as you go.
In other related news, the French press is reporting that Notre Dame Cathedral could be under further threat as the heat could cause damage to the vaulted ceiling. The joints in the masonry holding up the famous ceiling must remain supple in order to function as a support, but the water is drying out and this could mean the joints are unable to provide the stability required by the 900-year-old building. Ultimately, if there isn’t a shift in the current weather conditions, this could put the ceiling at risk.
No man, woman, child or building is seemingly safe as the heat shows little sign of abating! So please look after yourselves and your family. Take advantage of the links in this post. Stay out of the sun but wear a high factor cream, a hat and carry a full bottle of water if you have to venture out.
Stay safe Paris lovers