France in August, a Bad Idea?

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Sep 4th, 2001, 10:36 AM
  #1
Dawn
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France in August, a Bad Idea?

Hello -

My boyfriend and I will be going on a very lengthy trip next August to celebrate his graduation from Georgetown Law and his passage of the bar exam (we hope). We are considering going to France for about three weeks and then attending a wedding in Instanbul and traveling in Turkey for a week. We have heard that you should never go to France during this time because everyone is on holiday and many things are closed, etc. I would like to get some feedback on this issue. Should we really avoid France at all costs and go somewhere else, avoid certain areas of the country, or just go anyway? Unfortunately, we cannot move the date of the trip so all feedback would be helpful.

Dawn
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 10:44 AM
  #2
Book Chick
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Dawn,
If your choice is France in August or France Not At All, by all means, do go to France! Book early, reconfirm a few times & be prepared for some crowds. The French & Italians have a general custom of taking holidays in August, but not every in those 2 countries adheres to it. Some of the places you & your boyfriend will probably not visit will be crowded--Euro Disney, for instance. I would just reiterate, try it & book early. (Locales near the sea might also be heavily populated.)
Bon Voyage,
BC
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 01:27 PM
  #3
micia
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I don't know about the rest of France but Paris was great in August.
I had the same fear that many things would be closed, or it would be to hot.
The weather was perfect for me, long sleeves in the day, sweater at night.
There were some days hotter, however.
As far as things being closed, didn't notice anything closed.
Lots of tourists, but not the typical crowds you expect.
Easy traveling around due to many of the local crowd being gone.
Saw no pick pocketers everyone has mentioned here (maybe they were on vacation to). I would hazard a guess that along the coast you will find lots of crowds.
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 01:48 PM
  #4
Beth
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I was just in Paris through the first week of August; it was hot as could be. I envy the former poster who said she wore long sleeves during the day - must have been the next week! Anyway, back to topic, we were not inconvenienced in the slightest. The museums were all open, and the lines were long (get a museum pass). We were not looking for top of the line restaurants and just wandered, reading menus, until we found one we liked. A few shops we wandered into were closing the next day (which would have been August 1st), but there still were plenty of ways to shop. The street markets were still in full swing. The buses, RER and metro were packed. And, we also commented on the fact that we saw no pickpockets, only one child begging in the metro and one very supplicant woman kneeling and staring at the ground in our neighborhood. It broke my heart(which I am sure was the desired response). We then drove into the Loire Valley; the only traffic we came across was Saturday on the main highway; other than that, we practically had the roads to ourselves. What surprised me was all the camping being done in the Valley; I did not realize how popular it was in France. So, go, go - do not let August deter you.
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 01:50 PM
  #5
roman
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Hi Dawn,

Just got back from Paris and have business dealings there. Don't worry, everything is open in Aug. What they mean is if possible for Parisians, they try to get out of the city during that time because they probably don't have air at their homes or apartments. It can get hellish there during a heatwave. PS. Make sure the rooms have air. Not all do but they are getting better. As for the pickpockets, rest assured they are alive and well. Two friends got picked in one year. One on a subway and another on a shuttle bus between terminals at the airport. Both are experienced travellers. But definitely, go to France.
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 01:51 PM
  #6
Beth
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Dawn, I am in the DC area, so if you want to talk, e:mail me privately and I will give you a phone number.
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 03:29 PM
  #7
DeeInLB
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Definitely go! We just spent Aug. 17-23 in Paris and it was great. Yes, there were a few shops near our hotel in Saint-Germain that were closed, but not many. There definitely still were plenty of shops, restaurants, people and atmosphere! We lucked out on weather, too. Never too hot but never got rained on, either. I never even wore the cardigans that I brought; short sleeves were enough even in the evening. I second the suggestion on getting a museum pass. It's great to go avoid the line, especially a really long one like at Versailles. I have a separate posting of some highlights from our trip, if you'd like to check them out...
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 03:41 PM
  #8
StCirq
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Dawn:

Don't pass up France just because the only time you can go is August! Many Parisians leave the city in August (a whole slew of them heading for the Riviera), but the city probably takes in as many tourists as there are Parisians who leave. It will be crowded, it may be hot (I'd pay for a room with a/c for sure), and a few restaurants and shops will be closed, but the old notion that Paris shuts down in August simply isn't reality anymore.
As for the rest of the country, as I mentioned, the Riviera and south will be very crowded. So will the Atlantic beaches. Most "prime" tourist areas will have a lot more tourists than at other times of year, but there are still plenty of places in France, if you get out into the countryside, that won't be elbow-to-elbow.
Good luck to your boyfriend. My husband graduated from GULC quite a few years ago, and as I recall we celebrated with a trip to France, too. Go and enjoy!
 
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Sep 4th, 2001, 03:55 PM
  #9
elvira
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Definitely get a hotel with AC in Paris - even if there's a breeze, the street noise through an open window will keep you awake (if you're in an interior room - facing a courtyard - no street noise, but no breeze).

Many Mom-and-Pop establishments close in August, but there are still plenty of restaurants and cafes open (you won't starve). The department stores are open, all the museums, all the historical sites. There are lots of music festivals, art fairs, dance performances, etc. in the open air.

Make hotel reservations early - especially where the French go for vacation, like the seaside and anywhere around large bodies of water or mountains (the French escape the heat, too).

The trains are air-conditioned, at least on the major routes I've used. If you rent a car, get one with AC. You may or may not need it driving through the countryside, but better safe than sorry. Gas is expensive, so take that into consideration when turning on the AC.

France in the worst conditions (heat, lots of tourists) is better than most places in the best of conditions!

 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 03:39 PM
  #10
Mika
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Can't you go later???? In August and July the French tourist places are a nightmare.
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 04:22 PM
  #11
mariacallas
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I would not under ANY circumstances go to Paris in August. I'll take that back, I would go there to pick up two million dollars, otherwise fagehttaboutit.

Seriously, I went in August 99 - and I Thought I Was Gonna Die - and I live in Texas. Sheeshamunga - I remember sitting there fanning myself - gasping for air - thinking - "So this is why the Parisians leave." Even Paris sucks in August.

I would go to Colorado or the Caribbean. Heck, get in the bathtub - but Paris - no, she too hot.
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 04:27 PM
  #12
Wendy
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I was in France this July 25 to August 8. Started in Antibes, then Provence a nd ended in Paris. As other posters have said , it was very hot then- however understand that the heat we experienced was unusual for the area.
We expected horrible crowds- and it was not as bad as we anticipated. Any questions, Email. Book accordingly.
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 04:31 PM
  #13
StCirq
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mariacallas:

It was 61 degrees F in Paris last Thursday. You can't generalize about the weather in Paris in August based on one or even ten trips. I've been in Paris in August on probably 20 occasions, and the weather has ranged from absolutely beautiful to cold and rainy to hot and steamy. Don't make Dawn panic because you had a one-time bad experience.
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 05:12 PM
  #14
mariacallas
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Fortunately this is a forum, so each person may express his opinion n'est-ce pas?
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 05:50 PM
  #15
Lauren
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I was in Paris August 13-21, 2001. It was hot and sometimes there were thunderstorms in the evening.

I had the most marvelous studio apartment in the 7th arrondisement. It did not have air conditioning and faced a courtyard. Because it was not exposed to direct sunlight during the day, it was totally comfortable--even during the heat of the day.

The only problem with Paris in August is that lots of the restaurants are closed, but enough are open so you will not go hungry. Paris is full of tourists, both French and non French. All the tourist attractions are open. Yes, there are crowds, but Paris is Paris any time of the year--and always wonderful.
 
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Sep 9th, 2001, 08:19 PM
  #16
Chris
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Go to Paris!

ALL of Europe seems to vacation in August -- you'll wind up in the same situation if you go to Spain, Italy, etc. It's not like the countries become ghost towns! You'll always find a restaurant open, a store to shop in, a museum to see...

Hot? Maybe not! And it's NOT completely unbearable when it is! We've been in France for two summers and managed to get by without a/c (though there have been times we've thought about sleeping in the car for the a/c!) And you'll adjust to not having a/c everywhere. But do make sure the hotel has a/c.

Istanbul was darn hot when we were there last month!!
 
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Sep 10th, 2001, 08:44 AM
  #17
andi
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I'll throw in my two cents here. I was in Paris in August two years ago, not having been for about 20 years. Was very excited, and, while I agree that Paris anytime is wonderful, there was definitely something missing. Simply, there is little or no street life. For me, part of travel is seeing the natives in all their glory (especially true in Paris) and I sometimes walked for blocks without seeing a soul. Too quiet for me. There are lots of people (not French ones) around the major tourist attractions, and true, I didn't have trouble finding things open, including places to eat and shop. Still, I don't think it's Paris at its most fun/interesting, and wouldn't go again in August if I could help it.
 
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Sep 10th, 2001, 11:45 AM
  #18
Christina
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I haven't been there in Aug, just July, so I'm speculating it would indeed have a different atmosphere and that would not be my ideal choice, but if it were my vacation time, I would have no problem. I live in DC where georgetown is and I go to Europe in the summer to escape the heat here, really it's much nicer than here on average. Of course there can always be an unusual heat wave, but it is certainly not to be avoided because of the heat (Aug is no more hotter than July, in fact, I've seen some stats that it is 1 degree or two lower in temp on avg, although I know a lot of people claim otherwise; they do that for DC and it's not true here, either).
 
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