Paris sweltered in temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius (95°F) on Friday (June 17) as an exceptionally early heatwave struck France.
Locals and tourists in the city were seen cooling off in cafes, standing by sprinklers and gulping down bottles of water.
“When we’re in the shade it’s bearable, but the best is yet to come as far as we’ve heard – there are countries where the situation is more critical than ours, it’s true that we’re not used to it,” said 82-year-old Guy Hamon, who had sought shelter on a shady bench.
English tourist Kim Stanyard, 53, had some tips to keep cool.
“It’s really important to sort of get in the shade, but we’ve been walking around Paris for all morning, since 10 o’ clock, so drink plenty,” she said, adding that she was saving her energy to climb the Eiffel Tower later.
On Malo-Les-Bains beach in Dunkirk, visitors tried to beat the heat by sheltering under parasols and splashing in the waves.
Temperatures in many of France’s areas hit 40 C for the first time this year on Thursday (June 16) and were expected to peak on Saturday (June 18), climbing to 41-42 C.
State forecaster Meteo France said a “severe and early heat wave,” caused by a mass of hot air moving from north Africa, was settling in, describing its timing as “unseen.”
The heatwave is due to ease from Sunday (June 19).