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Paris in August: How hot/crowded/bereft of French people is it?

Paris in August: How hot/crowded/bereft of French people is it?

Jul 4th, 2019, 09:12 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Paris in August: How hot/crowded/bereft of French people is it?

We have the chance to go for a week in mid-August. But as I recall, Paris in August is notorious for two things: (1) the Parisians are all gone away on their own vacations and (2) it's really hot.

Are these stereotypes accurate, and to what extent would they adversely affect your level of enjoyment?

Also, how crowded would things be in mid-August?
jeffergray is offline  
Jul 4th, 2019, 09:16 AM
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I've only been to Paris once. It happened to be in August. I did not find those stereotypes to be true... but since I've never been any other time, I really can't compare the experience to another time of year. Paris in August was beautiful for me. It was warm to hot sunny every day perfect for being out in the parks and walking everywhere. Just don't sit on the grass!
suze is offline  
Jul 4th, 2019, 11:21 AM
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Those stereotypes are not exactly "accurate", with qualifications. First, it's summer, so of course it could be hot. However, statistically, I think July is actually the hottest month, but sure, August can be hot. It's summer.

As for French people, as in many other countries, even in the US, but also lots in Europe, many people take their vacations in August. I cannot comprehend why that would affect you in particular, as a tourist. You aren't going to be making friends in a couple days with French people or anything like that, so not sure why you would care about that.

However, because it is vacation time, some small shops and some restaurants close for that month or part of it, because it's a slow period. I've been there in AUgust several times and that fact didn't affect me at all. It's not like there aren't plenty of restaurants still to eat in, and if one bakery is closed, another will be open. I don't really buy a lot of stuff anyway when I travel, and you can bet the tourist-oriented shops and souvenir stands around the Seine will still be open. But yes, some Parisians are are on vacation and not in the city.

Things are not as crowded as many other times, exactly because many people are gone. In fact, many hotels have discounted rates exactly because there are more vacancies in hotels. I know the hotels I always stay at in Paris have lower rates in August.
Christina is offline  
Jul 4th, 2019, 11:22 AM
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Things have changed enormously since the guidebooks were written 20 or 30 years ago or the websites last updated their advice 10 years ago. And you can forget what your Aunt Mabel told you about her trip in 1963.

Yes, August is supposedly the warmest month. This year the end of June was so hot, that August will probably be cooler. Comfortably cool? That depends on where you are coming from and your dependency on air conditioning, which is not available everywhere (because the locals do not need or want it) and which is almost never as icy as in certain other parts of the world (United States, Middle East, Asia...).

There are plenty of Parisians in Paris at all times, but you will not find them at the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower (in olden times I would have added Notre Dame to that list) -- that should be pretty obvious. Although some of them will be on vacation, there are plenty of others in the city once again because times have changed. When the French had only 4 weeks of vacation a year, it was often all taken at the same time. The moment the legal minimum was raised to 5 weeks, habits changed, and when France went to the 35 hour work week habits changed even more. That's because most workplaces did not change their working hours (39 hours a week) and instead were obliged to give additional compensatory time to the employees -- usually at least 11 more days but in some cases 22 days. Seniority also allows more time off. By the time I stopped working, I had something like 55 days a year to take off -- eleven weeks. And of course there are 11 other days in the year that are legal holidays. In most cases they are lost if they fall on the weekend but in quite a few companies they are compensated on othersdays -- which was the case at my company. So let's say that I had 13 weeks off every year.

This is just to say that the summer holidays have become meaningless for most people. Yes, in July and August lots of people will take at least 3 weeks off, often 4, but that is especially if they have children in school. It not, it is far better to fly over to Morocco or Vietnam or the United States at some other time during the year. There are lots and lots of extended weekends. It has totally changed the travel industry which used to work on a weekly basis, but now everybody is asking for 3 or 4 days somewhere...

To summarize: A lot of the Parisians are in Paris at all times, and plenty of others are somewhere else. You will not notice the difference. But you will see more foreign tourists in the summer, so it will seem to you that the Parisians are gone.

Last edited by kerouac; Jul 4th, 2019 at 11:26 AM.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 4th, 2019, 05:44 PM
Original Poster
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Thanks for the considered responses!

Christina, are there any particular hotels you would recommend?
jeffergray is offline  
Jul 5th, 2019, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2019
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How hot/crowded/bereft of French people is it?

Usually very hot, like most of Europe in summer.

Paris is is always crowded.

And it's bereft of French people year round(around 30% are either immigrants or have at least one immigrant parent).

The real question you should ask yourself is how well you cope with high temparatures and whether you have the option to travel to Paris in another season.
BDKR is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 12:48 PM
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The good thing in august is that nobody is working so hotels have no businessmen so hotels are cheap.
Fir restaurants and shops they replace businessmen with tourists so they stay open.
ahbonvraiment is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 12:53 PM
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Indeed, according to the Paris tourist board, February and August are the two lowest months for hotels.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 8th, 2019, 03:39 PM
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Our past three visits have been at the end of August. Temps were warm but not unpleasant during the day but I needed to wear a sweater in the evening. We usually stay in the 5th/6th off Blvd St Germain and it was certainly lively enough.
ElleD9 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 05:38 PM
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Just wanted to add that how much things are "shut down" also depends somewhat on what quartier you are in. We stay at a friend's apartment on the far edge of the 16th near the Bois de Bologne and it is dead in August-only 1 little supermarket and boulangerie open and many restaurants closed. But that isn't so much true in the center any more.....
jpie is offline  
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