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Amid European heatwave, several French towns record highest-ever temperatures

People stand in the shade by the canal during a heatwave in Paris, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)
People stand in the shade by the canal during a heatwave in Paris, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

A host of towns and cities across France record their highest-ever temperatures as the country swelters in a heatwave, the national weather office says.

The mercury hit 39.3 Celsius (102.7 Fahrenheit) in Brest on the Atlantic coast in the far northwest of the country, compared with a previous record of 35.1 C from 2002.

Saint-Brieuc on the Channel coast sizzled in 39.5 C compared with a previous record of 38.1 C, while western Nantes recorded 42 C, beating a previous high of 40.3 C set in 1949.

The all-time high temperature recorded in mainland France dates to 2019 when the southern village of Verargues, north-east of Montpellier, experienced 46 C.

Drought-like conditions and intense heat since the start of the summer have left large parts of France tinder-dry, causing problems for farmers and leading to forest fires.

Firefighters are struggling to contain a fire on the Atlantic coast west of Bordeaux, in the vicinity of the famous Dune de Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune.

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