Paris saw a record high temperature of 42.6C on Thursday, amid a heatwave that broke records across Western Europe.

This is the second intense heatwave to hit France in less than a month. In late June the country experienced a record temperature of 46.1C in the south of France, however, in terms of average temperature, the current heatwave is already hotter.

French authorities launched a red alert – the highest level – in the Paris region and 19 other districts and said temperatures were expected to reach 42C-43C in parts of the country.

Reports suggested five deaths may have resulted from the high temperatures. Comparisons were drawn to a heatwave in August 2003 which contributed to almost 15,000 deaths in the country.

The high temperatures are also affecting historical buildings: 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.

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