The word of the day is definitely la canicule–“heatwave.” Paris tied a record from 1947 today–over 100 Fahrenheit. I don’t really mind heat, but the train at rush hour was something–people packed in like sardines, shirts drenched with sweat. Unlike Americans, who might strike up a conversation with anyone about anything on the DC Metro, Parisians definitely do not interact with strangers on the train or the Métro. However, the old lady sitting across from me on the train today was so clearly not doing well with the heat that I started fanning her with the book that I was trying to read (trying to read unsuccessfully, because I was soaking the pages with sweat), and she gave me a huge smile and started chatting, which turned into the four of us in facing seats chatting. Very nice.
- la canicule: heatwave.
- caniculaire: scorching, sweltering–the #2 word of the day.
- la forte chaleur: high heat.
- la fraîcheure: coolness, freshness. There was a news story on TV this morning about people running in the early-morning fraîchure.
- climatisation: air conditioning, mostly nonexistent in France, since most of the buildings are so old.
- la coupure: several meanings related to things being cut, broken, or interrupted: in this context, a blackout or cutting of electric power. There was a coupure in the west of the country.
- ralentir: to slow, slow down. The high temperatures cause the rails in the train system to expand, requiring le ralentissement of the trains.
- la pagaille: a mess, chaos, shambles. The aforementioned slowing down of trains has messed up much of the train system (which, incidentally, is usually really good).