Cold in France: tips on what to eat and how to prepare home

A temperature drop of ten degrees can be a shock to the system if not managed properly

Fit a garden fleece over plants to protect them from the cold
Published Last updated

Temperatures in France have plummeted by ten degrees over the past week, which can come as a shock to the body as well as the home. We look at ways to handle the cold snap and stay comfortable.

The current cold spell, which is forecast to last until Friday (January 12), could leave even more people exposed to the three epidemics that are still ravaging France.

How to stay healthy during the cold snap?

The public health authority Santé Publique France has several tips on how to stay healthy during the cold snap:

  • Air out rooms at home and work for at least 10 minutes a day: This will refresh the air and clear out viruses and dust
  • Observe ‘barrier gestures’: wash your hands regularly, use disposable tissues, stay distanced if you are ill, and cover your mouth with your inner elbow (rather than your hand) if you cough or sneeze
  • Go outside in warm clothing: Even a short walk can strengthen the immune system, says food and health safety authority Anses
  • Eat good quality honey or put it in a hot drink: The Assurance maladie says honey helps fight infections
  • Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink enough water, even if it is not hot outside
  • Sleep well: A bedroom temperature of 16°C is recommended, along with eight hours of sleep

What to eat during a cold snap?

The prevailing advice is to make sure you eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than overeat.

However, warm winter dishes can be of greater comfort to your body than a cold salad.

Some worthy inclusions to feel comfortable in the cold weather are:

  • La Raclette: cheese, melted in an appareil à raclette, or raclette machine, and served with grilled slices of ham, vegetables and potatoes
  • Tartiflette: Onions, potatoes, ham and cheese grilled in the oven
  • Choucroute: sauerkraut with Strasbourg sausages
  • Gratin Dauphinois: sliced potatoes baked in cream
  • Pot-au-feu: boiled meat and vegetables served as a starter broth followed by the meal

How to protect your garden from the cold snap?

Most garden plants will have adapted to winter weather, however to avoid problems due to the current 10°C temperature drop:

  • Fit a garden fleece on plants
  • Shelter potted plants next to the walls of your home
  • Drain water from plant pots: If the roots suddenly freeze it can kill the plant
  • Put straw down over winter vegetables during the cold snap. Take it off once the temperatures rise again to prevent them from rotting
  • Bring the most vulnerable plants inside, particularly if the temperature falls below -5°C
  • Insulate the water pipes between the mains and your home: It is your responsibility to prevent them from bursting

Read more

Duck Cold! French phrases to use for chilly weather

RECIPE: How to make a ‘perfect’ French galette des rois