Tips to Deal with the Hot Weather

Originally posted on & updated on 11th January, 2024

Heat waves are becoming longer, earlier and more frequent in recent years due to global warming. Families and businesses are having to adapt to this new trend which is predicted to become the new normal. In this article we provide some essential advice for expats living in France, or families planning to travel here this summer.

Keeping Cool in Hot Weather

During the day, close the shutters as soon as the sun hits the window or before leaving for work in the morning. Close them as soon as the outside temperature exceeds that of your home. If your home has multiple exposures, keep your windows closed on the sunny side and open on the shady side to allow drought.

To cool the rooms in your home, you can hang a damp cloth in front of an open window on the shaded side of the house. Open the windows at night and create air circulation to disperse the heat stored inside.

Come out in the Evening

Germany was recently encouraging its population to adopt the Spanish ‘siesta lifestyle’ to keep people safe while keeping working hours flexible to help with productivity. On a very hot day it makes sense to start early, take a long break with or without a nap, then return to work after a refreshing iced tea to finish the day, before going again later, when everywhere starts to cool down, as they’ve been living in Spain for many years.

The key is to be flexible and follow the weather, if it’s too hot then don’t be afraid to alter your plans. Pick up a book, open your French language app, sit in the shade, relax, get in touch with your friends, and plan what you’re going to do in the evening.

You should also consider how you can improve your property to make it more efficient and self-sufficient, for example: solar panels, better insulation, looking at ways to recycle rainwater, or fix that old well. Water is precious.

Mission Staying Cool

Go watch a movie, most modern cinemas have air conditioning, especially in Paris and in the south of the country. There are some great movies out right now and they’re a great way to improve your French, as well as giggle to the dubbed voices. For example, imagine listening to Tom Cruise in full action, in French in the latest Mission Impossible. Likewise for Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, there’s also Oppenheimer or Barbie, just to name the current box office. Then head to a restaurant nearby for a simple meal, or pick-up a wood baked pizza to take and eat on the terrace at home.

Cool Down in the Pool

Having a swimming pool is a lot of fun, but it’s also a necessity for people living in the south of France. It’s fun and an easy way to stay cool providing you follow a few basic safety rules. Children should be kept under adult supervision; sun cream is a must as well as a hat and regular water intake. Property owners should check local drought warnings as water restrictions are in place in certain areas.

Go for a Game of Pool or Snooker

If you live in a town and you enjoy playing pool and snooker, this is a great way to have fun, speak a little French while meeting new people in a cool environment. Again, most snooker halls will have A/C installed, and most will serve some kind of food, and drink. They often have TV screams so you could easily the woman’s world cup and support your favorite team. You won’t find many museums with air conditioning, possibly in Paris and other large French cities.

Eat al-Fresco

Starting with a cold drink, a Perrier, a lemonade or ‘un coca’ (a coke). Maybe something not too strong, like a chilled rosé, a panaché (shandy) or a fresh beer. Perhaps a kir royal for a special occasion but remember to drink plenty of water. For the meal, where to start ..? Keep it simple and fresh, with salad, fruit, cheese, charcuterie, breads, sauces, there’s so much to choose from. We love a ripe melon that’s been kept in the fridge for a while, it always does the trick. It’s up to you of course if you prefer firing up the BBQ or making your pizza in the summer kitchen. Remember to plan against mosquitoes, both outdoors and indoors, they are thirsty this year!

Lay Low in the Cellar

That’s where you’re most likely to find cool lovely air. If you have a small party, you may want to set the table in the wine cellar (la cave). They’re usually very cool if they are underground, you may need to wear a top! Discussing wine is an obsession with the French and often a heated time as each glass helps fuel the argument with each person’s taste, history and background. Wine cellars are also a great place for musicians and impromptu jams, their shape often helping with the acoustics.

Summer Travel Tips & Advice

Check the weather a few days before you are due to travel, for example meteofrance. Extra care and consideration will need to be taken for those traveling with children, babies and older relatives. The main heat-related symptoms are fatigue, headaches, nausea and dehydration. If you’re concerned someone is falling ill, you should not take any risks and contact the emergency services (dial 15 if you’re in France).

For Brits heading to France, make sure you check the latest travel advice and allow plenty of time to cross the channel. If you are travelling with pets make sure you are fully equipped with all the usual daily products and required documents for your pets. Have you considered travel or pet insurance?

Summer Traffic in France

Roads get very busy with many French families heading to the south. From the riviera to sunny Occitanie, up the mountains or by ocean in Nouvelle Aquitaine. There are two main dates to remember and try to avoid if don’t want to get stuck in hundreds of miles of bouchons (traffic jams).

The first is the weekend around the 14th July, Bastille Day, when holidays start for many families. And also, the 15th of August, another bank holiday weekend at the end of which a majority of holiday makers return home and back to work. Make sure to visit Bison Futé or Via Michelin.

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