Authorities warn that temperatures could top 40 C in some parts of the continent over the coming days. Meteorologists blame a blast of air from the African Sahara for the unusually early summer heatwave. Here’s a look at how people are beating the heat across Europe. 

Paris

People cool off in the Trocadero fountains across from the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the heatwave hits much of France on June 25, 2019. Parts of eastern and southern France will see the highest  temperatures this week, peaking on Thursday, Meteo France said. 

(Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Lyon, France

People sit in the shade under a bridge in the centre of Lyon, central France, on June 25. More than half of France was placed on an orange alert for intense heat Monday — the second-highest level on the scale — as very hot temperatures were predicted across continental Europe this week.

(Laurent Cipriani/The Associated Press)

Rome

Tourists refresh themselves at a public fountain in Rome. Fans flew off store shelves and public fountains offered relief, with officials urging vigilance ahead of even hotter conditions forecast for later in the week.

(Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Children play at a public fountain during an unusually early summer heatwave on June 24 in Rome. Authorities have issued warnings against dehydration and heatstroke, in particular for children and the elderly, and hospitals have been placed on high alert.

(Yara Nardi/Reuters)

Gelsenkirchen, Germany

A polar bear named Nanook jumps in the water at the zoo in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany. Germany’s meteorological agency DWD said it’s possible the current June record of 38.5 C could be topped on Wednesday. 

(Roland Weihrauch/dpa/AFP/Getty Images)

Vienna

At Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna, keeper Fredi Maier said staff members were trying hard to provide some heat relief to their orangutans. “The best way to do this is with water,” he said. “Here they get water buckets but also hoses with holes in them so the water sprays like a garden hose. And they’re loving it.”

(Daniel Zupanc/Vienna Zoo/The Associated Press)

Madrid

Children play in a fountain in Madrid. According to Spanish State Meteorological Agency AEMET, the country is expected to face an intense heat wave in the weekend, with temperatures that will rise above 42 C in Madrid and in the valleys of Ebro, Tajo, Guadiana and Guadalquivir.  

(Emilio Naranjo/EFE/EPA)

Valais, Switzerland

People jump into the Marecottes swimming pool on a hot summer day in the village of Les Marecottes in Valais, Switzerland.  Authorities in Switzerland raised the heat warning to the second-highest level for areas along the southern and northern borders with Italy and Germany, warning people to avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated.

(Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone/Associated Press)

(Jean-Christophe Bott/EFE/EPA)

Copenhagen

Carina and her son 18-month-old son Oliverbathe at Amager Strandpark at Amager in Copenhagen, on June 25. Temperatures in Denmark reached 30 C on Tuesday. 

(Nikolai Linares/Ritzau Scanpix/The Canadian Press)