Searching for Shade in a Paris Heat Wave

No takers for benches in the sun, Square Barye, Paris

So much for our plan to visit Paris in June and thus avoid both summer hordes and summer heat.

The City of Light is sizzling in a canicule, or heat wave. Today’s temperature reached 34C/94F and is expected to rise over the next three days.

As I wrote last year about Paris in August, what we like least about the summer season anywhere is soaring temperatures, especially when we’re away from our tree by the sea and Felixstowe’s wonderful coastal breezes. In Paris we’re moving slowly and doing our best to get things done while avoiding the worst heat of the day.

Yesterday, Sunday, we happened to take a bus that stopped just off the Champs-Elysées. We walked across the Rond Point intersection, where late this afternoon there was an incident involving a van targeting police officers. We had no idea this was happening, as we were out and about in other parts of the city. It wasn’t until we received several text messages (sincere thanks to those who sent them) that we heard the news. Thankfully, no officers or bystanders were injured, though traffic was reportedly stopped for some time. On Sunday morning, there was nary a car or pedestrian in sight.

Sunday morning at Rond Point, Champs-Elysées

The reason we were in that area was to attend church at Scots Kirk Paris, a lovely small venue where we enjoyed meeting the congregation, being introduced during the service and, over coffee and tea afterwards, learning more about the church’s interesting history in Paris. We plan to return.

Our strategy for handling the canicule is to get out early – we always advise arriving at exhibits when they open anyway, to avoid crowds – walk and sit in the shade as much as possible, come back to the apartment during the worst heat of the day (feet up, fan on, shutters closed), venture out later if and when the temps decrease a little, and buy and eat ice cream. Best flavour so far: lemon meringue!

Excellent free exhibit at Hôtel de Ville, Paris – air-conditioned, too!

Strolling along the Seine offers some chance of breeze and shade, as does finding a bench in a park and/or a spot under the trees. Today it was a challenge to find a bench in the shade – no takers for those in the sun, as shown in this post’s header photo.

Along the Seine, Pont Louis-Phillippe, Paris

A bend in the Seine and shade under the tree

On Ile St-Louis, I snapped a photo of Clive, with the bridge named Pont Marie behind him. It wasn’t a planned photo; we’ve walked across Pont Marie many times. Today we just paused as we were strolling along enjoying both the river view and the flower baskets on the other side of the street, and I said, ‘Let me take your photo.’

Flower baskets on Ile St-Louis, Paris

The Pont Marie holds many memories for me with my late husband Gary and our son, over the years when the three of us came to Paris as a family. (I write about those years, and this place, in the memoir I’m continuing to work on.) Today when I looked at the photo of Clive and that special bridge, my heart filled with emotion and gratitude for both men in my life. It’s a darn good photo, if I may say so myself.

Clive and the Pont Marie, Paris

As for tomorrow and the next few days, we may surrender to the heat and scale back a few of our planned outings.

Cheers and thanks for reading. A bientôt and stay cool!

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