French authorities announced school closures and traffic restrictions as swathes of Europe continued to wither under a powerful heatwave.
Residents and tourists alike cooled off in fountains, rivers and lakes from Paris to Munich as the mercury remained stubbornly in the upper 30s. Parts of southern France and Spain recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celcius.
In the state of Saxony-Anhalt, eastern Germany, speed limits have been imposed on motorways because of the risk of severe heat damaging road surfaces.
Even the animals got special attention as Berlin zoo fed frozen bananas to its primates.
In the eastern German state of Brandenburg, police tweeted a picture of a man they had stopped for riding a moped wearing nothing but a helmet. Lawmakers in the state of Hesse were allowed to wear shorts in the regional assembly.
At the Vatican, elderly and infirm pilgrims watched Pope Francis' weekly audience on large screens in an air-conditioned auditorium to avoid the sweltering temperatures gripping Rome.
Those gathered outside on St Peter's Square shielded themselves with umbrellas.
The mass-selling German tabloid Bild offered readers tips on its website on how to stay cool. They included putting the duvet cover in the freezer before sleeping, sleeping with a rubber bottle filled with cold water and avoiding alcohol.
French and German authorities warned of water shortages and volunteers handed out bottled water to homeless people in Belgium. In Poland - which recorded its highest ever June temperature on Wednesday of 38.2C - the use of fans helped drive power demand to a record high.
Spain has said temperatures could exceed 42C in coming days, the highest since 1975.
"An increase in heatwaves is one of the clearest impacts of climate change," said Hannah Cloke, a professor at Britain's University of Reading.
"Killer heat events of this kind will become even more widespread by the middle of the century in Europe, but this outlook could get worse unless action is taken to curb future greenhouse gas emissions."
Nearly all of France is now on orange alert - the second-highest warning level after red - with local authorities issuing advice on how to keep cool.
In Paris and Lyon, French authorities imposed traffic restrictions to limit the environmental impact of the heatwave.
Even in Britain, which has so far evaded the heatwave and where music lovers heading to the Glastonbury festival in gumboots in anticipation of the traditional downpours and muddy fields, meteorologists were predicting a blast of hotter weather at the weekend.
- Reuters / BBC