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Sun Jun 30, 2019, 08:21 AM

Canicule, or, sweating through the hottest day in Paris history [View all]

Yesterday the mercury at the Louvre main entrance reached 45 degrees, or 113 in Fahrenheit. As the weather warnings playing everywhere kept saying, it was the hottest day on record in Paris's history.

A heat wave like this is called a canicule. There used to be one a decade, the lady who runs the bakery below my flat told me. Now it's one (or two or three) a year. She was scribbling a sign to the effect that she wasnt going to run the ovens in the afternoon because of the extreme heat, so you would need to get your evening baguette in the morning. If you know Paris, this is something close to unthinkable.

Paris isn't built for that. Nothing has central air, anywhere. All the stores are out of portable AC's. The Costco outside of town is out of portable AC's. I didn't know Costco could run out of things. All the cafes are tiny and crowded with an open kitchen blasting heat towards the tables; fortunately we had cold cuts and cheese at home, but nobody had much of an appetite.

The city's response has been good. There aren't public cooling stations like DC and NYC have, but they opened all the public swimming pools for free, as well as all the air conditioned museums.

I took my dog and I on the metro to Esplanade La Defense so he could play in the fountain, then walked a soaking wet dog across the river and home and dropped him in front of our fan where he just lay there occasionally accepting ice cubes. I put the ice tray in front of the fan (this is really all an air conditioner does) and we both stuck our faces in the breeze and sat there.

At about 3 am, my dog started barking frantically. My wife won the "nudge each other out of bed" war and I went to see what was up. The canicule had finally broken, and a breeze was coming in through the window; he was leaning his face out of it like we were on a road trip and trying to tell us to come get some cool air too.

This is the future we're making, and it's not a pleasant one.


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Reply Canicule, or, sweating through the hottest day in Paris history [View all]
Recursion Jun 2019 OP
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MLAA Jun 2019 #2
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calimary Jun 2019 #3
PatrickforO Jun 2019 #7
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calimary Jun 2019 #17
mountain grammy Jun 2019 #13
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mountain grammy Jun 2019 #5
PatrickforO Jun 2019 #6
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defacto7 Jun 2019 #12
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Recursion Jul 2019 #19