For members


The reasons why you’d be mad to leave Paris in August

While most locals are desperate to get out of Paris in August, often for very good reasons, not least the unrelenting heatwave, but there are some very good reasons to hang around, writes Evie Burrows-Taylor.

The reasons why you'd be mad to leave Paris in August
Photo: AFP
For many, just the mention of the stifling heat and the influx of tourists that take over Paris in August is enough to make them want to leave the city and escape to France's beautiful mountains, beaches and countryside.
Nevertheless, others consider August to be one of the best months for the French capital, with many (many) excellent reasons to revel in the joys of spending the last month of summer in the city.  
Here they are:
Extra space
Think of everything in Paris that you can't do at other times of the year — get a seat on a terrace, get a seat on the Metro, find a bit of green space in a park… the list is endless. 
And in August you can do all these things – not to mention enjoy the empty roads for some stress free bike rides around the city. 
Paris plages and other events
During Paris plages, you can enjoy cool lawns, sun umbrellas, deckchairs and palm trees along the River Seine!
This year, you can take advantage of the open-air swimming pools at Bassin de la Villette in the city's trendy 19th arrondissement. 
And even though it might not feel like the real thing, at least you've got absolutely no chance of getting attacked by a horrible jellyfish, like you might on the Riviera.
There's also the open-air cinema at La Villette and Rock-en-Seine music festival, not to mention the joys of just spending evenings sat on café terraces.
Pace of life
The pace of life in Paris slows dramatically in August, because everyone is away, stress levels are reduced, the Parisians that are left smile at each other and even exchange small talk. 

Photo: AFP

Prime people watching
With the City of Light drawing people from everywhere in August you get a sample of the world's cultures delivered to your doorstep. 
August is decidedly peak season for people watching.
Photo: AFP
The boss is gone
Some may complain about having to work while everyone else is away, but they miss the point.
In August, your boss is likely to be on beach, your colleagues too, so you can get away with doing pretty much 'rien'! 
Enjoy the peace and quiet
So your usual haunts and boulangerie might be shut. Why not consider it an opportunity to find new places you wouldn't have dreamed of going otherwise and discover some new favourite spots? August is a great time to get out of your comfort zone and explore other parts of the city. 
New friendships
Similarly, it might be annoying that most of your good friends are gone, but this opens up a unique opportunity to hang out with some of the other “stayers” who you might not usually spend time with. 
You'll learn pretty quickly who's left in Paris, and if that means extending your circle of friends then embrace the chance and see the benefits of a revitalised friendship group come September. 
How much does the traditional 'apéro' really mean to French people?
And now to challenge the reasons some people complain about life in the French capital in August…
In August, Paris is often hot and sunny (and sure, a little bit humid) but surely this is cause for celebration? After all, winters in Paris are dark, cold and long so make the most of the days when eating an ice cream or having a beer by the canal or River Seine isn't an endurance test but rather something to be savoured. Those cold days will be back sooner than you think…
As previously mentioned, the tourists that visit the French capital from all over the world make one of the best activities to do in Paris — people watching, even more fun. 
On top of that, if you do choose to go to the areas they're most likely to be (Montmartre or the Champs Elysees, for example) you'll get to enjoy the atmosphere of bustling streets that you get in Paris the rest of the year, except that these people are on holiday so they're generally in a much better mood than your average Parisian in February. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Tell us: Have you had problems receiving The Local France’s daily newsletter?

We understand that due to a technical problem some readers have not been receiving regular newsletters from The Local France.

Tell us: Have you had problems receiving The Local France's daily newsletter?
Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

First of all we apologise for this problem and would like to invite anyone whose regular newsletters have suddenly stopped arriving in their inboxes to get in touch with us so we can ensure you receive the emails that you signed up for.

If you previously got newsletters regularly but have not received one in the last two weeks, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Newsletter”.

And if you weren’t subscribed but think it sounds like a good idea, you can sign up here.

You get a free daily newsletter outlining the latest news, information and cultural events, put together by a member of The Local’s editorial staff.

You can also opt in to receive free emails with our French word of the Day, and you can stop both emails at any time.