17 July 2016

Our summers vs. U.S. summers

Yesterday, Judy asked in a comment about our weather here in Saint-Aignan right now. I think she was a little surprised that, in the height of summer, we are using the oven to cook our meals. Well, the weather here is not like American weather.

Here are some Paris pictures for today: this one shows the chapel at the Sorbonne, the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Grande Roue or ferris wheel over near the Place de la Concorde.

Yesterday our high temperature, on what was a hot day by our standards, was 25.5ºC — about 78ºF. Our highest temperature so far in July, on the 9th when I was in Paris, was 27.7ºC, or almost 82ºF. This past week, we had three days when the high was in the high 60s or low 70s F. And our relative humidity is, well, relatively low.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

One reason the great heatwave, or Grande Canicule, of 2003 was such a catastrophe in France is that the people and the country are not used to long stretches where the temperature reaches into the high 80s F. In 2003 we had weeks and weeks of such high temperatures, culminating in a 10-day period where the highs soared into the 90s and low 100s. Not this year though. That said, but we are in fact supposed to have hot weather, in the high 80s and up to 90, over the next three days. Then it will cool down again.

Here's a wider view taken from the "balcony" of the Panthéon, looking in the same direction as the first photo above.

Some years we don't have much of a summer at all. And some years, like this past one, we don't have much of a winter either. The climate here is what they call "temperate" — which means it is only rarely very hot (exception: 2003) and only rarely very cold (exception: 2012). Otherwise, the temperature pretty much stays in the 35º to 75º range. It's like San Francisco, where the temperature range is 40º to 70º F, with few hot days and almost never a freeze or frost. At least here in Saint-Aignan we don't have the cold summertime sea breeze and heavy wind-driven fog we used to have back there.


  1. Stunning photo of Notre-Dame de Paris.

  2. There's no place like Paris. I remember the canicule of 2003 when we had trouble sleeping in St Remy due to the heat.

  3. I love your photos!
    It's hot in Carcassonne. The cicadas were chirping loudly at 10 a.m.--they don't make noise unless the temperature is above 80 or so. But, as you say, it's dry. I made a clafoutis yesterday--and we don't have A/C. We shut the shutters against the sun, and open everything wide for the cool air (in the 50s!) at night.

  4. I was born in Arizona, lived in North Carolina and then California then NYC and Argentina ... the only thing any of these places ever had in common was the need for Air Conditioning :) And now I am in Florida.

  5. I love it when temps cool down some at night, and especially love it when there is very little humidity. Just doesn't happen often during St. Louis summers!


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