Paris in August

People warned us that Paris would change in the summer. After le 14 juillet, locals would skip out of town for four or five or six weeks of summer vacation, while international tourists would take their places. And shops would close, leaving us to rethink our regular routines.

Sure enough, our regular produce market is closed, my favorite cafe is closed, one of my favorite lunch spots is closed, and about a third of the shops on our street are closed. Our cheese shop has limited hours. One of the most famous ice cream shops in Paris, Berthillon, is closed, preferring vacation time to tourist revenue. And our washing machine door handle broke weeks ago, but we can’t get the part we need because our property manager is on vacation and the one store we were able to find on our own is closed.

Such is life in Paris in August.

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The flip side of that, though, is that the city puts palm trees and lounge chairs along the river for Paris Plages, you can swim in the Bassin de la Villette and see free outdoor movies at the park, laptop-friendly coffee shops are emptier than they were in the winter, the shopkeepers who are still working are friendly and don’t mind tourists, and tons of other shops still sell Berthillon ice cream. So all in all—pas mal. It’s a little different, and a little strange, but Paris in August is still wonderful.

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Paris Plages

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Le Bassin de la Villette

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