Heatwave – Paris, France – 2003

I recently watched a documentary on television which was reporting on freak heatwaves around the world, and the effect they have on the population of cities and countries. I just happened to be in Paris during the second week of August 2003, during a notorious heatwave which caused over 5000 heat related deaths in the city and surrounding area alone, and 15000 deaths in the whole of France. The normal August average temperature of around 24° C (75°F) reached 40°C (105°F), and the death toll was exacerbated by the fact that most native Parisiennes had left the city to go on holiday, leaving their elderly relatives to fend for themselves.

Now, for those of you who come from hot climates, this might not seem excessive. I have holidayed in Italy, for example, in temperatures of 42°C (107.6°F). The Italians seem to take high temperatures in their stride, but then so many places have air conditioning, and that was the only thing that made it bearable for Penny and I. In Paris of 2003, where that sort of temperature was not normal, air conditioned homes, hotels and other buildings were rare. We found ourselves in a cramped hotel room with only a ceiling fan, and even with that moving the air around, and the balcony doors wide open, we were continually having cold showers to cool ourselves off. The negative side of that was that as soon as we were out of the shower, we needed to get back in again! The heat was overpowering, draining and debilitating! There was no relief whatsoever at night, and even with the fan on and the doors open, we needed cool, wet towels draped over us to get any sleep! Luckily for us, we were only there for three days!

That being said, we still enjoyed our visit to beautiful Paris, and it was only when we arrived home that we heard the sad news about the deaths.

I always thought that a heatwave would bring about clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine, but in actual fact, for two out of the three days, the skies were overcast with a heavy heat haze! The five photographs in today’s post feature the Eiffel Tower during the 2003 heatwave!

The Eiffel Tower looking towards the Warsaw Fountain!

Eiffel Tower Structural Detail!

Beneath the Eiffel Tower!

The Eiffel Tower!

This final photograph was taken from the Place de la Concorde, where the infamous guillotine was used to behead the aristocracy during the French Revolution! You can see the Obelisk of Luxor to the right of the image and the Eiffel Tower shrouded in mist towards the centre!

Place de la Concorde looking at the Obelisk of Luxor and Eiffel Tower!

Looking at the last photograph, it is hard to believe that we were in the middle of a heatwave!

Well, that’s it for this post, and as I look out of my study window to a dull grey sky and heavy showers of rain – I think I could do with a little heatwave in this country! As usual, thanks for visiting and come again soon!



10 thoughts on “Heatwave – Paris, France – 2003

  1. I love love LOVE the structure photos of the Eiffel!!!! Great job John!!! The Eiffel is my absolute favourite steel structure – with good reason!!! Your photos does not disappoint!! 🙂 **

  2. That is a big tower ! I love the angle of your photos, I really love the one taken beneath it ! I will be travelling to Paris in two years but I won’t go in summer just in case there’s another heatwave ! We are talking about going in October but I think I would prefer in April or May to see the beautiful flowering trees. Great photos John !

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