Last week in France we had a “canicule” or heat wave. So designated by the fact when you have at least 3 days where temperatures do not go below 20 degrees Celsius (about 68 F) at night. Well, first of all being from Texas, that definition pretty much applies to about 5 months straight of our year – May to October is a “canicule”. Putting that aside, it is pretty hot. Especially since there are not a lot of places equipped with Air Conditioning, called “la clime”, except major supermarkets and shops. Even offices, hospitals and schools aren’t always equipped with A/C. And if they do have it, well, let me explain. The French have a fear of “getting sick” or a “sore throat” from Air Conditioning. I once overheard an elderly woman at the hardware store talking about the Air Conditioning IN HER CAR and how she didn’t run it because it could make you sick. Well, then I noticed the kids said that school doesn’t have it. Wow! Granted it isn’t for very long here, even in the Southwest of France. We probably only have about 3 weeks total of really hot a/c-worthy weather. They are so zen about it. They just sit there in the office, calmly working while the A/C (if they have it) is barely on so they don’t get sick. They also are ecologically minded. A/C isn’t that great for the environment. Fair enough.
The shops that use A/C also do a strange thing. They often are running the A/C with the shop doors open. Which, of course, defeats the purpose. I asked them about it and they say that they fear people won’t come into the shop if the doors are closed. But, what about winter? They close them then. Oh well, it’s an uphill battle in my quest to bring the French into the culture of La Clime. It’s just not part of their culture.
Last week the heat wave was a bit early, précoce. We normally don’t have heat like this until mid-July or August. So, we’ve got our A/C on and are staying cool. Our guests in the gites are using the pool a lot and luckily they have A/C for this unusual early high heat. We’ll see what this summer 2017 is going to bring. This coming week the temperatures will drop and all question of having Air Conditioning will be forgotten.