Paris saw a record high temperature of 42.6C (108.7F) on Thursday, amid a heatwave that broke records across Western Europe.
A red alert – the highest level – was issued in northern France.
Meanwhile Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands also reached new record highs, of 41.8C, 41.5C, 40.8C and 40.7C respectively.
The UK recorded a record temperature for July of 38.1C, with trains told to run more slowly to stop rails buckling.
“Climate change has increased the likelihood and severity of heatwave episodes across Europe,” the UK’s national weather service said.
What temperatures was Europe expecting?
French authorities launched a red alert in the Paris region and 19 other districts and said temperatures were expected to reach 42C-43C in parts of the country.
French media said Wednesday night was “probably” the hottest ever recorded in France.
Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute issued “code red” warnings across most of the country – urging people to take extra precautions during “extremely high temperatures”.
What has been the impact?
In France, officials warned people to avoid travelling to work from home if possible. Some nurseries have been closed.
The chief architect responsible for restoring Notre-Dame warned that the extreme heat could lead to the cathedral’s roof collapsing if the joints and masonry holding up the roof dried out.
French reports suggested five deaths may have resulted from the high temperatures.
Comparisons were drawn to a heatwave in August 2003 which contributed to almost 15,00