European heatwave: Hottest day ever recorded in France as temperatures swell to 44 degrees

A picture taken on June 28, 2019 shows a pharmacy screen sign indicating the temperature of 44 degrees Celsius in Carpentras, south-eastern France. - In the south-eastern France temperatures could beat records on June 28, 2019 during the fifth day of an exceptional heat wave, a phenomenon that will repeat itself due to the global warming situation. (Photo by Patrick VALASSERIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PATRICK VALASSERIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A temperature of 44 degrees Celsius was recorded in Carpentras, south-eastern France (GETTY)

France's all-time temperature record has been broken after 44.3C (111.7F) was reached in the southern town of Carpentras.

The country has been gripped by a Saharan heatwave drifting across Europe.

It is the first time in history that France has raised its heat alert to red, with Spain, Italy and Switzerland also issuing red warnings.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 27: People cool themselves at a fountain opposite the Eiffel Tower on June 27, 2019 in Paris, France. France are experiencing a massive heat wave that began on Thursday. Temperatures rose above 34 degrees Celsius in Paris in the recent two days. (Photo by Li Yang/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)
Paris has seen temperatures rise above 34 degrees Celsius in the last few days (GETTY)

Temperatures have risen over the last week, with temperatures of 42C recorded in the city of Montepellier in the south.

The national weather agency has predicted temperatures could rise even more, hitting up to 45C (113F) in southern counties such as Herault, Gard, Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhone.

Three people have died in France so far this week in the south of the country.

One person on Monday and two on Tuesday died after diving into the sea to cool off, causing death by ‘cold shock’.

Read more:

Three dead in European 'hell' heatwave as Britain braces for 31c temps

How long will the heatwave last?

German police pull over naked man on moped who says ‘it’s too hot’

Earlier on Friday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 4,000 schools had been shut due to the extreme heat.

He tweeted: "We allowed school principles and mayors to close schools when they saw it as the right thing to do.”

In Paris, charity organisations are patrolling the streets to provide water to homeless people and local authorities have organised air-conditioned places where they can seek shelter.

The French Red Cross assists homeless people in front of the main train station of Tours on June 27, 2019 where they distribute water and fruits during a heatwave. - Europeans braced on June 27 for the expected peak of a sweltering heatwave that has sent temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with schools in France closing and wildfires in Spain spinning out of control. (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
The French Red Cross assist people suffering in the extreme heat (GETTY)

On Thursday, Meteo France meteorologist France Christelle Robert said: “A heatwave of this amplitude so early in the year, in June, is exceptional.

“We should expect more intense and frequent heatwaves with climate change, because it will accentuate the extremes.”

Meanwhile, Spain is battling a large wildfire in Catalonia, the worst in the region for 20 years.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK