There's a report on France 3 I'm watching right now regarding the damage caused by the heat to the exhibits at a Natural History Museum in Val de Marne. It's been so hot that the chemicals used to hold various installations together (such as a mummification by a human and several animals done by the artist Fragonard's brother, as well as the dinosaurs) has been melting, threatening their stability. The caretakers of the museum are shown opening windows and arranging curtains to allow for the maximum amount of breeze and maximal allocation of the small air conditioning units.
I'm watching in a sort of stupor. I don't understand why museums-- museums!!!-- aren't air conditioned. Perhaps there simply isn't enough money in these smaller towns (I'm guessing, though I haven't confirmed this, that the Louvre is air-conditioned) to cool off such big spaces.
Monday night L and I went to Starbucks thinking we would find AC in that American outpost, but since their front door was wide open, any good the air conditioning units might have done went-- well, out the window.
Last night I escaped the heat in a movie theatre, but when I went to the loo it was as hot and sticky as blacktop in the sun. Gross.
I've never been a fan of the excessive extent to which your average office building or superstore is air conditioned in New York in summer. I hate that I have to carry a sweater around with me for when I walk into one of these icy blasts. But I far, far prefer that to the inescapable and (apparently life-threatening canicule that's been laying over France this past couple of weeks.
Heck, I've even been using ice cubes in my drinks. What is happening? All of my European pretensions are falling away to expose the wimpy American I am at heart!