France has broken its all-time record temperature amid a punishing heatwave that has spread across Europe killing several people, including a young farm worker in Spain.
In the southeastern town of Carpentras the mercury hit 44.3C on Friday, beating the previous record for France of 44.1C set in August 2003 in the southern region of Montpellier and Nimes.
Meteo-France forecaster Etienne Kapikian said it was “very probable” that the record would be beaten again on Friday as it was still relatively early in the day.
The average temperature had hit almost 35C on Wednesday, already a record for the month of June.
Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, announced that 4,000 schools in France would be closed on Friday due to the extreme heat.
Four departments in southern France – Herault, Gard, Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhone – the level of alert has been raised from orange to red, a first since the warning system was introduced in 2004.