LONDON • It has got so hot this summer in some places in Europe that men and boys have decided to don skirts - because rules forbid shorts.
Dozens of British schoolboys at the Isca Academy in Exeter have gone to class wearing girls' uniform skirts when the head teacher would not relax the dress code banning the more suitable option: shorts.
In Nantes, France, some male bus drivers showed off similar feminine attire this week to protest against the bus company's "no shorts" policy, arguing that trousers were too hot during the heatwave.
The bus company, Semitan, eventually gave in - saying the men could wear shorts while the dress code was being updated to make more permanent changes, according to a local newspaper.
Meanwhile, the teenage boys at Isca Academy argued that it was too hot for trousers as temperatures approached 32 deg C on Wednesday. "We're not allowed to wear shorts, and I'm not sitting in trousers all day - it's a bit hot," one of the boys told BBC News.
It does not appear that the boys were punished for donning skirts, but one mother said her son was warned against it.
"My son wanted to wear shorts but was told he would be put in the isolation room for the rest of the week," a mother, who was not named, told Devonlive.com about her 14-year-old son.
"The head teacher told them 'Well you can wear a skirt if you like' but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and so five boys turned up in skirts today - and because she told them it was okay there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts.
"One of the five boys did get in trouble - because it was too short." Another boy was reportedly told to change because his legs were too hairy, according to Devonlive.com. So on Thursday, some older teens brought razors to fix that problem, according to the news site.
The Isca Academy dress code does not permit shorts, except during physical education lessons.
"We recognise that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible," Isca Academy headteacher Aimee Mitchell said in a statement on the school's website.
Europe has sizzled in a continent-wide heatwave this week, with London seeing Britain's hottest June day since 1976.
In Italy, forecasters say the heatwave could turn out to be the most intense in 15 years, with temperatures around eight degrees above the seasonal average
And France marked its hottest June day since World War II: A nationwide average of 26.4 deg C made Wednesday the hottest day in the country since 1945, the national weather agency said, with the thermometer hitting 37 deg C in some parts of the country.
Paris magistrates and lawyers were finally allowed to take off their heavy traditional robes as the French capital sweltered, while a peak in pollution linked to the heat forced the regional authorities to restrict traffic in the city.
WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE