By Irene Fogarty
I always laugh at tourist guides that warn travellers that August is the one month to avoid coming here. And for those who are actually brave enough to risk the journey, there’s even websites like this girlsguidetoparis.com with survival tips such as wearing a ‘stylish hat’, buying a fan and wearing sunglasses to protect you from the treacherous August heat! Is this for real? I’ve lived here for the last 6 years (always stay in city for August) and know it to be the best month to experience Paris. Let me explain why.
First of all, Paris in August means one thing: ‘less Parisians’ – in other words less packed metros with sweaty, grumpy, pouty commuters. It also means less Parisians on the roads, so even the busiest of avenues and boulevards are almost deserted on weekends especially after August 15th. And sure, there are a lot of businesses closed but you can always find restaurants, pharmacies, boulangeries (for baguettes etc), stores open as they usually just take the first or last two weeks off. So don’t worry you won’t go hungry or thirsty. Instead you have this beautiful city completely to yourself—free of cars and stress, less tourists, less noise, less queues. Less is more. More to discover! So here’s how I suggest you take advantage of it…if you’re one of the very few who happens to be here!
See the city on a bike it’s the best way. Just use your credit card (for 1.75€ a day) to get a bike to see the entire city. Velib stations are placed all over the city, it’s had not to find them. They’re simple to use just be sure to check the brakes, the tires and the seat. Cycle on the little streets off the big avenues and in one day you can take in all the big attractions or simply fly by them on your wheels and discover the ‘untouristy’ Paris. It’s what I do every year in Aug, and I’m always surprised to find tiny little streets with interesting buildings, history, etc. For more info, check out the velib bike site, it’s in English, http://en.velib.paris.fr . And now there’s even P’tit Velib, small bikes for kids so you can all bike around the city together.
A bottle of red, white or rosé (for that terrible Aug heat!), a baguette, camembert, a knife, a rug and of course a wine opener (very important!), and voilà you’re ready for a Parisian picnic. Try it! It’s fun, cheap and so delicious.
No real good music festivals in Paris this month? Eh what about ‘Rock en Seine’ in Aug 22-24. Artic Monkeys, Portishead, Blondie, Lana Del Ray are just part of a serious 3 day line up of top music artists. There’s even a ‘Mini Rock en Seine’ for kids! Incroyable! Check out the site for more details. http://www.rockenseine.com/en/artists/line-up/ Day passes are still available!
Finally, one more advantage of being in Paris in August is that hotel prices drop…quite a bit. And since the heat is so intense, you’ll be able to stay in your hotel room enjoying AC while others sweat it out. Check it out, then check in. http://www.tripadvisor.fr/SmartDeals-g187147-Paris_Ile_de_France-Hotel-Deals.html