STORY: Britain headed for the hottest day of the year so far on Friday (June 17).
France warned of everyone facing a health risk as temperatures in many parts of the country hit 104 degrees Farenheit for this first time this year, and firefighters in Spain battled raging wildfires, with Catalonia one of the worst hit areas.
The heatwave sent Europeans hunting for shade.
At England's upscale Royal Ascot Racecourse a rare change of protocol saw guests allowed to shed hats and jackets once the royals had passed.
Across the UK, parks, pools and beaches were packed as temperatures were expected to hit 93 degrees Fahrenheit.
CARER AND CHILDMINDER, ANITA FRANCIS: "Yeah to come down for the good weather because it’s just too hot at home to sit in the garden. So, nice sea breeze, yeah."
Britain's meteorological office said the temperature would exceed the highest recorded in 2021.
But it wasn’t all sunshine for people basking in the heat.
Many nations are increasingly worried about how climate change may affect their economies and lives.
CYPRIOT STUDENT, CHARLIE UKSEL: "I'm from Cyprus and now in Cyprus it's raining and I'm in London and I'm boiling here, so something must change. We need to take precautions about the climate change sooner than later because undoubtedly it's worrying for all of us. Now we are enjoying it, but for the long-term we might sacrifice."
Parisians sweltered in temperatures of up to 95°F as the exceptionally early heatwave struck.
State forecaster Meteo France said a "severe and early heatwave," caused by a mass of hot air moving from north Africa, was settling in, describing its timing as "unseen."