Paris in August

Feb 1st, 1999, 01:34 PM
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Paris in August

I've read that most Parisians take their vacation in August. What are the pros and cons of visiting in August? Will it be less crowded? Is it low season for hotels? Will the restaurants, museums etc be closed?
Feb 1st, 1999, 06:53 PM
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The schools in Paris as well as in other parts of France and Europe take thier summer breaks from the middle of July to the end of August. This is a sacred period and most head for the sea. So, yes, Paris really does empty out during August of locals. Many restaurants do close, but there are no shortage or other restaurants open. The musuems will be open. Of course, the void left by the locals is partially filled by tourists, but traffic is really much lighter during August. You may find this difficult to believe because you will still see plenty of people, but you would have to see Paris during September when the Parisians are back into Paris to appreciate the difference. August in Paris is also hot. You will wish you went to the sea as well, but you would change your mind fast if you ever saw the crowds at the sea. All of Europe, not just the french or parisians go to the sea in August.

I don't think it is really low season for the hotels because it is probably a peak for tourists. Low season for the hotels are during December and January which are the coolest months for Paris.
Feb 2nd, 1999, 04:43 AM
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It probably depends too on what part of August you are talking about. I remember using the Access guide a lot before I went, and many smaller shops were listed as closed during a wide variety of periods, ranging from two weeks to 1 1/2 months. I went about August 27 and left on September 3. There definitely was a difference as my week went by, which was particularly noticeable on the subways - more locals. I had concerns that I was going to miss out on some of the ambience of the city, but I didn't really feel that I did - maybe because it was around the end of the month. You will likely notice more that there are a lot of tourists than that there are fewer Parisians. However, as in most places it is really not that hard to get away from the crowds - the only massive crowds were at the Louvre, Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre-Dame. Go to these places very early or late to avoid the throngs.

As far as museums, you don't need to worry about closings, barring a strike. What you do need to do is make yourself aware of which days of the week certain ones are closed.

Really the only things that shut down are some small shops and restaurants. Berthillon's main ice cream shop is closed, for example.

I know someone who went earlier in the month, and he said it was very very hot. However, when I went it was absolutely perfect. Most days it was partly cloudy and in the 70's. There was only one rainy day and that was only in the afternoon, but we did have a couple of showers.
Feb 4th, 1999, 06:03 PM
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My wife and I, while we were living in central France for a few years, eventually gravitated to saving our trips to Paris for August. It was nice to have the city be a bit quieter. As one respondent noted, some of the "mom & pop" shops are closed for "conge annuelle" as the sign hanging on their door will say, but that has really no perceptible effect.
So for me, August is the perferred time, but not too early. Certainly not until after the first week when Parisian vacationers are gone South in the maximum numbers.
Feb 5th, 1999, 09:41 AM
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We spent part of our French vacation is Paris in August of '97. I would NEVER go again at that time (mid-August).

I twas extremely hot and humid and FILLED with tourists. Many of the smaller restaurants and shops were closed. This was my fourth trip to Paris, the first and last in August.


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