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WEATHER

MAP: How to find cool places in Paris during the heatwave

Temperatures are predicted to soar across France this week, while Paris could break its all-time temperature record - so here's how to find a respite from the heat.

MAP: How to find cool places in Paris during the heatwave
Frolicking in fountains is positively encouraged by Paris authorities. Photo: AFP

Although this week's heatwave across the country is not predicted to be as intense – or as long lasting – as the record temperatures at the end of June, Paris is set to be very hot because weather forecasters say there will be none of the breeze that 'protected' the city during the hot weather in June.

Temperatures on Wednesday are set to hit 40C and could even go fractionally higher – breaking the 40C record that was set in Paris in 1947.

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The Îlots de fraîcheur (islands of cool) map of Paris. Map: Mairie de Paris

In response the Paris mayor's office, which already activated its emergency heat plan during the June heatwave, has published an interactive map of the best places to cool off.

It includes drinking water fountains as well as the cool water vapourisers that have been installed around the city in recent years.

Air conditioned tourists attractions and shady buildings like churches and museums are marked, as well as the mairie for each arondissement, all of which have 'cool rooms' that are open to the public.

 

Also included are the many fountains and public bathing spots. Unlike the strict Italian authorities, who have been known to fine people for cooling off in city fountains in Paris splashing around in water features such as the Trocadero fountains is positively encouraged to stop people overheating.

And for those who want to go the whole hog, open air pools and the swimming spots of the Paris plages city beaches are on there too.

To find the interactive map; click here.

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CLIMATE CRISIS

Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.

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