At times through the summer the temperatures in Southern France will climb above 35C….and maybe above 40C, so a brief guide of some things to help you get through these extremes of climate should you encounter them.
In these conditions air conditioning, as with pool heating in cooler times, can be incredibly expensive to run, so few houses have air conditioning fitted. If you do have air conditioning, it will only be effective if you keep doors and glazed windows closed, and restrict air from outside entering the building as much as possible.
Traditionally much use of other fixtures was made, and construction of the houses was planned with the climate in mind to keep it as comfortable as possible: it is for that reason you find thick stone walls and tiled floors very common in the more traditional houses – they keep cool in the heat of the summer, but once warm in winter help maintain the temperature when the heating is no longer operating.
Many of the large traditional houses have large cavernous lofts above them which were designed to be left empty. English expats thought they would do the English thing and convert lofts to bedrooms…. and in the process roast those guests who went into these rooms under the roof ! ‘Upside down’ houses with sleeping accommodation on the ground floor are common.
The other thing that helps is to adapt your lifestyle – Do your active things early or late in the day: avoid exertion and strenuous activities during the afternoon hours when the temperatures are at their highest.
Fans help, but shade and control of the sun help more: Many houses look unoccupied with shutters closed: In fact this is the way to keep the heat out: Wood is a very poor conductor of heat, and although it may be dark inside with the shutters closed, it remains very much cooler. You can leave the glazed windows inside the shutters open, and any air that is moving will help with ventilation. All houses have fans that can be used to help as well.
Occasionally, especially when new stocks of food are put into the fridge in this weather, a fridge will find it too much and cut out: Directing the fan behind the fridge to get the excess heat from the fridge cooling system will soon see it cut in and return to normal.
Remember also that your pool level may drop in hot weather: If you are doing the basic pool maintenance you should ensure that the level stays at around midway up the skimmers.
This ensures that circulation is maintained and that the worst of the floating debris is automatically removed from the pool.
Sun shades, trees and parasols can be a blessing in very strong hot sun, but please remember that if the wind should get up they may behave like kites: Remember to put them down every evening or when you are away from the property for any length of time.
Finally – please remember to shower before using the pool, and remove as much suncream as possible before you swim.