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Paris Heat Wave Survival Strategies

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Paris catacombs
Hot on the streets of Paris? The catacombs offer a descent into a distinctly chillier place. Photo: seangraham

We’ve already given you some ideas on how to stay cool outdoors when Paris heats up. But when Paris on fire and you need a break from the stifling weather, sometimes it’s hard to know where to seek refuge in a town where the temperatures are usually mild enough to make air conditioning optional. Here are some surefire escape strategies for days when Paris is burning hot.

A Word About A.C.

A movie in a dark room can be a lifesaver on a scorching afternoon, and you have the best chance of decent a.c. at one of the bigger multiplexes, but keep in mind that the temperature will never be as chilly as it would be in the U.S. Same goes for large department stores like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marché or the B.H.V., where you can cool down a bit, but possibly not as much as you would like.

Picard Paris

Browsing frozen treats–and cooling off–at Picard. Photo: asirap

Browse the Aisles of Picard

You can always duck into a supermarket and hover in the frozen food section or vast dairy aisle of a Monoprix or a G20. Even better? Picard, Paris’ popular frozen food chain, which is a great place to escape for a breather from the hot sun while browsing the aisles full of gourmet French TV dinners.

Go Underground

When Paris gets hot, those seeking cooler temps head for the Paris Catacombs, where the temperature is a cool 57.2 degrees F and you can chill your soul by looking at the bones of six million people that line the walls. The catacombs are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and the tour lasts 45 minutes. But keep in mind if you’re feeling worn out from the heat that it’s 130 steps down and 83 steps back up to street level.

Another underground tour where you can escape the heat for an hour or so are the city’s elaborate 19th-century sewers (though be warned that the ambient odor might make this a less desirable place to revive). Closed Thursdays and Fridays.

Take a Swim

You can’t jump into the Seine on a hot day, but Paris has 38 municipal swimming pools if you feel like taking the plunge. Remember that pools are crowded, bathing caps are required and shorts are not allowed.

The city of Paris has created a new free app (available in English) to help you locate the pool nearest you and find out everything you need to know about pool hours and other information.

About the author

Kristin Hohenadel

Kristin Hohenadel is a writer and editor who lives in Paris.

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