Things that happen in Paris when it’s hot outside

Everyone’s experience of a place is different. But I feel like all Parisians (natives and transplants alike) experience at least a few of these things on hot summer days, or during heatwaves like the one we’re going through (enduring) now.:

- You live in a dark world, behind closed shutters.

- It’s big, it’s loud, it makes you have to plug your window with vinyl. It looks like a somber R2D2 with an exhaust tube and none of the fun of the actual R2D2. But danged if you don’t fall in love with your big, clunky air conditioning unit…if you’re lucky enough to have one.

- With windows open at night to let in cool air, street noise becomes even more of an issue…and young petty criminals decide this is the best time of the year to go joyriding on stolen motorized scooters, revving them up and going back and forth down the streets until the wee hours. (Maybe they’re just too hot to stay inside and try to sleep like everyone else?)

- You don’t feel guilty at all about eating ice cream.

- …But your neighborhood grocery store is out of ice cream. And mozzarella cheese.

- You are sweaty all the time.

- You’re frequently grossed out by accidentally brushing arms with fellow sweaty Parisians.

- Some people start using paper and cloth fans — a charming touch in your otherwise sweaty, miserable day.

-You get constant judgy looks if your baby’s carriage isn’t covered with a blanket. And you want to say, “My kid has on suntan lotion! And a hat! And if I put a blanket up, he’ll just pull it off!” Instead, you stare ahead and keep moving.

-….And in spite of yourself, you end up wondering why someone else’s carriage isn’t protected by a blanket.

- You worry for your co-workers, friends, and neighborhood acquaintances who are in the midst of Ramadan fasting.

- You see a lot of half-dressed and possibly undressed neighbors sweating it out through open windows and balconies. Sometimes you’ll even see a few balcony sunbathers — mostly older women (and you feel insanely jealous of how relaxed they seem and want your own balcony more than ever).

- You are amazed that, despite suffering from the summer heat, some of the aforementioned neighbors are holding hot cigarettes between their fingers.

- You look forward to going to places where there’s air conditioning — even work!

- And, if you’re me, you still can’t understand why weather announcers, and people in general, seem to be so fricking happy about more warm, sunny weather to come.

- Those happy people are probably the same ones who spend their time off sunbathing in parks or at “Paris Plages”, an event where some of the banks of the Seine are “transformed” into a beach (there’s even imported sand)…but there’s no water you can swim in.

- As much as you love this city, you seriously wonder if you shouldn’t think about moving somewhere else. Somewhere cold. Or at least mostly air-conditioned.

is a writer & worrier. She lives in Paris with an eccentric Frenchman, a clever toddler, & a charming cat. Besides them, she loves books, travel, & cookies.

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