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PARIS

7 reasons why you should stay in Paris in August

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 head for the beach - but Evie Burrows-Taylor argues that there are good reasons to stay in the city.

7 reasons why you should stay in Paris in August
Photo: AFP

It’s standard practice for thousands of Parisians to leave the city in the summer, and some people even question the sanity of those who stay behind

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

While the obvious tourist spots remain busy with, well, tourists, large parts of the rest of the city are nearly empty as locals flee to the beaches.

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!

You can also take advantage of the (free) open-air swimming pools at Bassin de la Villette in the city’s 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 have even been known to exchange small talk. 

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.

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’! 

You can then go on holiday in September, missing the terrible month of la rentrée when all work restarts and the August holidaymakers are suffering from post-holiday blues/grumpiness.

Discover new places

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, or even just fully explore your own neighbourhood and try out a new boulangerie – you never know, its baguette might be better than your regular bakery.

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. 

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PROPERTY

What to expect from your 2023 French property tax bills

The annual demands for property taxes have begun arriving at households across France - and many people will notice quite a difference to last year's bill.

What to expect from your 2023 French property tax bills

Every year in September and October the French tax office sends out bills to households across France relating to property taxes – these are separate to income tax bills, which arrive over the summer.

The autumn bills are usually made up of three parts; taxe foncière, taxe d’habitation and the redevance audiovisuelle.

However, system changes to all three parts mean that for some people bills will be be much lower than last year, while others will have nothing at all to pay.

Here’s what changes;

Redevance audiovisuelle – this was the TV licence and was charged at €138 per household, with some exceptions for pensioners or people who had no TV.

This year, it has been scrapped for everyone (including second-home owners) so most people’s bills are €138 less than last year.

Taxe d’habitation – this is the householder’s tax, paid by the inhabitant of the property – whether you rent it or own it. This is gradually being phased out, a process that started in 2019. It has been done based on income, with those on lower incomes having the charge scrapped first until it is gradually scrapped for everyone – with the exception of very high earners and second home owners.

So depending on your income level, you may have already had the tax phased out, or it may be phased out for you this year, or you may be paying a reduced rate this year.

These two changes are part of a tax giveaway from president Emmanuel Macron, and at the bottom of your tax bill you will find a note explaining how the charges have changed this year, and what you would have paid without the reductions.

It will look something like this;

Taxe foncière – this is the property owners’ tax and is paid on any property that you own – if you own the home you live in you may need to pay both taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière and if you are a second-home owner you will also pay both.

In contrast to the other two taxes, however, this one has been going up in many areas.

In fact, it’s connected to the taxe d’habitation cut – local authorities used to benefit from taxe d’habitation, so the phasing out has left many of them short of money. In some areas, they have reacted by raising taxe foncière.

This tax is calculated based partly on the size and value of the property you own (which is why if you do any major renovations or add a swimming pool you need to tell the tax office) and partly on the tax level decided by your local authority. 

This means that the actual rate varies quite widely between different parts of France, but in some areas it has gone up by 20 percent.

You can find more about how the tax is calculated, and how to challenge your bill if you think it is excessive, HERE.

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