Anders Bekeken

100 Places To Remember: Paris, France

Geschreven op 23-2-2010 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Natuur Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

100places to rememberThe Birth of a Monumental City. Most of modern Paris was formed in the mid-19th century when Napoleon III initiated the modernisation and rebuilding of the city, turning the old narrow streets and half-wooden houses into wide boulevards lined with neo-classical stone buildings.

Today, the citys avenues and iconic monuments attract 45 million tourists every year, drawn by its balmy winter days and warm summer nights. The North Atlantic Current means that Paris rarely sees extremely high or low temperatures. Almost 12 million people live in the metropolitan area, making the city one of the most heavily populated places in Europe.

In 2003, a heatwave struck Europe. It hit France particularly hard, especially the north, where people are unaccustomed to high temperatures. Summer temperatures reach an average high of 25°C in Paris but that year the temperature rose to over 40°C. In August, 14,802 excess deaths were recorded in the whole of France, with the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, accounting for a third of them. Many French families, physicians and family doctors go on holiday in August and many of the people who died were elderly people who had been left alone in their apartments. There were so many deaths that unclaimed bodies had to be kept in a refrigerated warehouse outside Paris.

Across the whole of Europe, about 35,000 people died because of the heatwave in 2003. Temperature records were broken in Britain, Germany and Spain, while in Portugal forest fires destroyed 5% of the countryside and 10% of the forests.

Towards the end of the 21st century, it is predicted that summer temperatures could be similar to those of the 2003 heatwave. By then, heatwaves will be even more extreme, which poses a risk that populations and authorities will need to address.

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