Summer 2018 was the second hottest on record in France

Only deadly summer of 2003 saw higher average temperatures between July 1 and August 31

France baked in the second hottest summer on record this year, with temperatures in July and August some 2C higher than normal, according to official figures.

Only the notorious summer of 2003 - when temperatures in France rose 3.2C above seasonal norms - was hotter for the period July 1 to August 31, in official records in France, which date back to 1959.

"Despite occasional cooling temperatures … in June and August, the mercury has generally remained above normal, especially in the northeast area where it has often been 2C to 3C above the norm," national forecaster Météo-France said.

It recorded temperatures higher than 30C on 26 days in Montsouris park in Paris, and for 15 days in the Lesquin area of Lille.

Across the whole of the country, rainfall was lower than expected for the period, notably in central areas and along the Normandy coast, Météo-France said. But areas in east of Brittany and Pays de la Loire, as well as southern parts of Nouvelle Aquitaine and Occitanie have recorded higher-than-forecast levels.

An estimated 15,000 deaths were attributed to the summer 2003 heatwave, prompting France to institute its journée de solidarité - in which employees worked the Monday after Pentecost but donated their pay for the day to vulnerable people.

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