La Canicule – our heatwave

By | 3 Jul 2015
melting woman

Melting Woman – in the canicule

I thought it was hot about a month ago, but that was nothing compared to the temperatures now

I don’t have an outside thermometer, but my phone app said the temperature last night was still 28C at 23h00.

No wonder most of us are having problems sleeping.

There was a little breeze yesterday evening, but it barely cooled anything.

Now during the day, the air is completely still.  Nothing to move the air around.

The phone app says the temperature is 33C (and rising) but I don’t believe it, I’m melting and it feels more like 36C already (which we’ve been having earlier this week).  Although I am at an age when I don’t need external heat sources to feel hot.

The sweating doesn’t even make you slimmer as there’s still water retention that swells you up.

It is expected to go to 39C and 40C today and every day for the next 5 days

When I was younger I would probably have loved this heat, but about one year ago a switch seems to have been flicked in my body and I not only cope with heat less well but have become obsessed with temperature readings.

I can sense an external thermometer and barometer going onto to my Christmas list.

I guess that’s one of the signs telling you you’re middle-aged.


The canicule is taken seriously in France – 15,000 people died from heat in 2003, mostly in the cities – and a few days ago we received our leaflet telling us what to do during this period, complete with diagrams in case we didn’t understand the words.

Instead of gardening, I’m catching up with work I need to do inside the house or on the computer.   I’m in semi-darkness as I’ve closed the shutters to stop the hot air coming in, and closed most of the windows.

It goes against the grain to close the windows but it makes such a difference, especially on the side of the house where the shutters are ‘louvre’ style and so just let the rising exterior heat inside and not escape.  As the sun passes over the house, I gradually reopen everything when the air that side has cooled a bit.

Yesterday I was at a lunch (which I’ve been far too excited about being invited to along with making local friends, but tried to keep a lid on it as I don’t want to appear as desperate as I actually am), and every time I got up from my seat I had to peel my clothes to unstick them from my body.

Embarrassed?  I wasn’t too much, thinking we’re all in the same boat,  until I noticed that I seemed to be the only one needing to do this.  That’s menopause in a heatwave for you.

Today at home I can sweat all I like.  The dogs look at me just the same way, dirty or clean, wet or dry.

It is the perfect time to go shopping in air-conditioned units and loiter around the frozen food section.  I already did this a couple of days ago but expect to find I need yet another packet of frozen peas when it hits 40C.

Only problem is getting there in my car that’s not currently possible to park in any shade.

On the plus side, the washing dries a few minutes after being hung out.

What are you tips for dealing with the heat?


Lou Messugo

4 thoughts on “La Canicule – our heatwave

  1. Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    Similar temperatures here on the Côte d’Azur but thankfully we have a pool and are only 15 mins from the beach. We also keep the windows and shutters shut till the main heat has passed and like you it feels wrong but it does keep the house a bit cooler. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again

  2. Lisa

    Whilst I really do not like the heat anymore [post menopausal!!] as it makes me feel really quite unwell – I DO LOVE the picture of the Melting Woman! She’s brilliant!
    I split my time between the Cote d’Azur and England – and tend to stay in England for the summer months – however, today is cool and raining and I rather wish I could have just a little bit of the 30 degrees in Villefranche sur Mer!

    1. Back to Burgundy Post author

      Hi Lisa, yep there seems to be a body thermostat that just gets turned off. The melting woman is great – I wish I could find out who did it, as I’d gladly credit them (and ask permission although there are a couple of places using it on the web, also without credit). Thanks for coming by and commenting.


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