P1100624By the time this is published, the canicule, or heat wave, is over. But for about a week, it was just a tad too hot. And hardly anybody, ourselves included, has air conditioning in the south of France.

june 26
Same candle on June 26…it’s almost gone now.

The word canicule comes from canine, as in the dog days of summer. It’s because Sirius, the brightest star in constellation Big Dog, or Canis Major, rises and sets with the sun in late July–often the hottest period of the year.

Fishing on the Aude river…a cool activity.

The south of France is called le Midi, which sounds like middle, but it means middle of the day–noon. It’s the region where it’s always noon. Italy uses the same terminology–the mezzogiorno.

Yes, that’s the Eiffel Tower below la Cité.
There was an open-air showing of “La La Land.” 

We really shouldn’t complain–the hottest it has gotten was 36 Celsius, or 97 Fahrenheit. However, the nights never really cooled down–sometimes only to 27 C (81 F). This compares to averages for July and August of 27-28 C (81-82 F) for highs and 16 C (71 F) for lows.

The wildflowers are going gangbusters.
These blue ones are gorgeous.

Despite no precipitation since an incredible rainstorm in mid-July, the moisture has stuck around. We have the first summer dew I’ve seen since moving here and the grass is holding onto an aura of green. Usually it would be dry straw. OTOH, we haven’t seen the firefighting planes this summer either.


We open all the windows at night to let in the coolish air, then close them when the sun starts to hit the house. The shutters, too, get closed. We hide in the penumbra, not moving too much. On entering the house from the pitiless sunshine, it feels surprisingly cool, but one soon adapts, and even inside it seems too hot.

Thank goodness for the woods. Exercise is at dawn or not at all.

My brain melts. I can’t focus. A fan blows straight on me, and I get an earache on the side it’s on. But I can’t take turning it off. My computer melts down a few times, refusing to toil on because it’s too darn hot.P1100588We eat food that doesn’t require cooking: salads, melon with prociutto, tomatoes and peaches stuffed with tuna.

Somebody’s garden entrance.

The village looks drained of color, the beige stone and stucco dazzlingly bright and the shadows so sharp and black. Nobody is out. A cat sleeps in the shade under a car. Even the birds seem to be hiding in the shade. Only the cicadas thrum deafeningly, starting as early as 8:30 and continuing until almost 10 p.m. Peak summer torpor.P1100626Finally, some clouds come through, bringing lots of lightning and thunder though the rain is limited to a few drops. It is amazing to feel the suddenly cool, almost cold, air blow in with the storm. Today we’re going to have a high of 27 C and a refreshing low of 17 C, right on the average, and it looks like the rest of the month will be the same–warm enough to feel like summer but not uncomfortable. Thank goodness!

I love these dramatic clouds.

How do you beat the heat?

45 thoughts on “Heat Wave

  1. Those bright blue flowers in the field are Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae.

    It has been in the 30C’s for weeks and weeks in southern England, a region not equipped for summer’s heat but today gentle rain and all is grey and cool again!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Feeling spoiled with our air conditioning and thinking about hedonic adaptation. We humans don’t just quickly adapt to setbacks and adversity – we adapt quickly to comforts like push of a button temperature control. I normally love the heat. In Arizona, I still distance walk when it’s 106. That said, I struggled big time with the heat in Chicago yesterday since I hiked in the sunshine for 3 hours. Barometric conditions triggered an ocular migraine so I was a mess when the hike was over and a huge storm moved in. The extreme shifts in weather are not my friend anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 106!!!
      I had one of those migraines about a week ago. It was the worst headache I’ve had in ages–I don’t get migraines–but I guess the heat and probably dehydration got to me.
      When I walk, I take a bottle of water filled with ice cubes.


  3. We also have unusual heat in Pacific North West. Temperatures have been in the 30°C and no rain. The forests are tinder dry; grass just crunches when walked on. Some morning we awake to the smell of smoke from forest fires in the distance. However it’s is still incredibly beautiful here. A rain forest without rain.
    I have been reading a lot, but like you very early morning exercise is necessary to maintain sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So grateful that the heat has broken! Even with air-conditioning (which we did without for 15 years) its still been too hot to step foot outside. My garden has suffered and the grass, accustomed to far less humidity this time if year, has succumbed to all sorts of maladies.

    We’ve kept a close eye on our elderly neighbors who moved to the South of France to escape the cold winters in the north. Many of them, in their 80s, are stubborn and refuse to take refuge during the day in the air-conditioned apartments of their children or shopping centers-still believing that the cold air is bad for their health.

    And today, all of a sudden, a change came and the cool breezes in the early evening have returned.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We in Florida have the high humidity along with the heat that makes feel even warmer. Best thing I can recommend is to take a cold shower in the evenings and maybe again just before bed. I can actually feel cold a while when I go to bed with a fan pointed on me.
    I may have AC but to keep it cool can get expensive but to keep it tolerable isn’t bad. I installed an energy friendly thermostat that adjusts the temperature according to when we are home and away. So 78F when we are home and 76 for sleeping. Runs about $140/month.
    Again, cold showers would be key for me with no AC.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Those temperatures, and particularly humidity, are common here in the summers, so we’re more used to it than parts of Europe that don’t regularly see that kind of heat. We’ve had similar heat and dry weather much of the summer. There are forest fires happening in my province that are being fought right now.

    It’s important to stay hydrated. I’ve always got a reusable water bottle in my backpack during the summer, and there are always places to refill it. You do not want to come down with heat stroke or heat exhaustion in these conditions. Both are bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Having no air conditioning and heading into our fourth heat wave of the summer, I know exactly what you mean about the house feeling cool for a few moments, then back to the “Ugh, it’s hot” sensation. We are lucky that, unlike you, our nights have cooled down to the mid 60s, but I think I’ve forgotten what rain feels like (none since June).

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Now that it’s just a little hot, not very hot, I am loving it again. Warm enough to eat outside at night without a sweater; cool enough to go for a walk midmorning (instead of at the crack of dawn).

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve felt chilly last night – had to pull up the sheet!! Seriously though, I don’t remember it being this hot for such a length of time. The walls were really warm to the touch inside the house, and that’s with everything closed during the day!! Storage heaters…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It was terrible in the Netherlands too, 38 degrees C last Tuesday.. We are not used to those temperatures and so are our houses too. We mostly have to protect us againt the cold in the winter. So no airco here either. But fortunately weather has changed to more normal temperatures now and we had a lot of rain too yesterday at last last night. A relieve!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Here in the Deep South I go from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned store, etc., etc. Our summer power bill is close to $400 a month. My grandparents had an attic fan – air constantly moving throughout the house. I honestly wouldn’t mind that and I’m sure it would be a lot cheaper. When I was in school we had no AC and I do not know how I handled it, or how the teachers handled it. I guess it’s what you’re used to, and I know those in the UK and France aren’t used to this heat and having no AC. Move slowly, drink cool drinks, fan your face, and think about the coolness of Fall right around the corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your photographs are beautiful, and I love getting to know about this region of France and where you live. As a South Texas girl, I can identify with your poor candle listing to one side, but not going without air-conditioning.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My roommatechild dealt with the heat by opening the windows at night or in the mornings when it wasn’t too hot, then running the air conditioner in the window right next to the one he left open. I texted him that he shouldn’t be doing that. Then the next time I texted him that unless he wants to pay my fucking electric bill I’ll take it out next time. Then I took it out. The next day both windows were wide open, the fan was on, and all his things were gone. I did know he had found a place but didn’t know he was moving so suddenly.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It seems like it’s always hot in Houston. Melted candles aren’t unusual. We’ve had some night rains recently, so while it’s humid it greens things up and allows the overnight temperatures to get below 80F. We’re baby-ing our ancient a/c unit, because she works like a beast and our bills are remarkably low, so we set the thermostat on 78F during the day, and crank it down to 73 for sleeping. I don’t know that we could do without at least some a/c, but it’s so hot out we’re going to be hot whether we set it at 70 or 80 during the day, so we drink iced tea and wear tank tops, and look forward to that *click* at 10 p.m. It’s kind of silly but it is something nice to look forward to every night. Hope y’all get some relief before long!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some U.S. relatives have the A/C set at 60 in summer and the heat set at 85 in winter. Insane. The kids all wrap up in sweaters and blankets to watch TV in summer and walk around in shorts and bare feet in winter. You are much more reasonable.


  14. Surprisingly, we had a pleasant July around these parts but August is always unbearably hot. We did have some rain last weekend but the sun is back with a vengeance. But I too have noticed that the days are noticeably shorter and the sun doesn’t quite reach our windows as it used to during the peak of summer. Looking forward to cooler days.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We spend July and August in the UK to escape the ‘canicule’ and give family and friends the opportunity to enjoy our French house. It didn’t quite work out this year, as in S.E. England, it has been unbelievably hot and we don’t have the benefit of shutters and a pool! I feel I shouldn’t complain but I’m not keen on the way the heat saps my energy but there are always far worse things that could happen. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have been traveling through europe during this heat wave! ugh! i miss the always air conditioned US on these hot days 🙂 but i am still enjoying myself and thankful for it cooling off at night! hopefully that’s the last of it as I am heading south in France and Spain soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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