Heatwave LATEST: Schools close and trains disrupted as France bakes in 40C

Some 13 more departments in France were placed on alert for the punishing heatwave on Thursday bringing the total to 78 across the country. Schools have been forced to close and train services have been disrupted.

Heatwave LATEST: Schools close and trains disrupted as France bakes in 40C
Map: Meteo France

Main info:

  • 13 more departments in France placed on Orange alert bringing total to 78 
  • Hundreds of school closed due to high temperatures
  • Trains operating a slower service
  • Traffic restrictions in Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Grenoble
  • Agriculture minister bans transportation of animals
A total of 13 more departments in France have been placed on heatwave alert by France's national weather agency Meteo France. 
That brings the total with weather warnings in place up to 78, with the map showing most of France is now on alert for the searing heat, with the pubic warned to take precautions until the heatwave is over, which is forecast to be the beginning of next week.
The new departments on alert are Ariège, Aude, Bouches-du-Rhône, Charente-Maritime, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Gard, Gers, Hérault, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Atlantique, Var and Vendée.
The Orange alerts from Météo France come with advice to members of the public in those affected areas which includes advising people to avoid going out during the hottest part of the day and drinking fluids regularly even when not thirsty. (For more advice on staying cool CLICK HERE.)
The national weather agency has predicted temperatures rising to between 38C and 41C in the southern regions and between 42C and 44C on Friday in the Rhône valley.
The heatwave has also led to several nursery and primary school closures on Thursday and Friday throughout France.

Marseille imposes swimming ban on beaches over pollution fearsPhoto: AFP

The government has allowed mayors and head teachers to decide whether or not to close their school, given the conditions and, according to a report in Le Parisien, a few hundred have opted to close. 
The greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, where temperatures are expected to be around 34C on Thursday and Friday, is one of the regions most affected by the school closures.

SNCF announced on Wednesday that traffic has been slowed down on certain lines because of the high temperatures.
“It is possible that on some lines, there are some slowdowns because of the high temperatures that can cause the rails to dilate,” said a spokesman for the SNCF.
“These are fairly inconsequential delays, of the order of 5 to 10 minutes on some lines,” she continued. This “concerns especially high-speed lines, where the speed is 280-300 km/h rather than 330 km/h, which generates delays on arrival […] but it is not very problematic.”
Regional cities also followed in the footsteps of the French capital's traffic restrictions over fears over a pollution spike due to the heat. 
Marseille has traffic restrictions in place for the first time, and Grenoble and Lyon will also try to limit the number of cars on the roads. 
This means that only vehicles carrying Crit'Air 3 stickers 0, 1, 2 or 3, as well as people with electric vehicles, will be permitted to drive. 
France's agriculture minister Didier Guillaume also banned the transportation of farm animals during the heatwave, including animals set to be exported.


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Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to