They say that a terrible heatwave (canicule) is about to settle over France, and the natives are getting fearful.

According to Météo France, the state meteorological service, heat will build significantly over the next couple of days, hitting as high as 40 degrees celcius ( 100 fahrenheit) in the south central portion of the country and averaging around 35 degrees in Paris and the Riviera. It may be that the hot spell will only last until Sunday, but this is far from certain. An official MF spokesman warned yesterday that temperatures could remain very high in the East, peaking even beyond 40 degrees in Lyon and the Rhone Valley.

The last time this happened, back in 2003, nearly 15,000 people died from the effects, most of them old, but also expectant mothers, small children and those with a weight problem.