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Paris in August? Please Help Me Decide...

Paris in August? Please Help Me Decide...

Aug 6th, 2010, 06:27 PM
  #1  
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Paris in August? Please Help Me Decide...

I am supposed to leave in a little over a week for a last minute weeklong solo trip to Paris. But....I am having serious second thoughts about going due to always hearing that one should not go to Paris in August as "everything" is closed and the city is dead, etc.

Can someone with knowledge on this subject please advise as to what the real situation is. Are most restaurants closed? Patisseries, Boulangeries, Stores, Boutiques, etc. Please note that one of the reasons I love Paris is the food, and I have been able to book some restaurants that remain open, though I wonder if the chefs will be in town - I suspect not.

I have heard such conflicting things I do not know whether to go or to postpone my trip. I have been to Paris several times, and I love it. I am going to be in Paris next April, and I am just wondering if I should try to go somewhere else, or maybe limit my time in Paris and maybe add another city to my trip, or try to do a completely different trip.

(I also prefer cooler weather to hot weather, but as long as it is not brutally hot and humid, I'll be fine; if I am going to travel in August, I will have to deal with this in many possible destinations)

As you can tell, I am confused...and the time is getting very short to make any changes or cancelations...Thank you for your help.
fishskis is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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No, "everything" is not closed in August.

I went to Paris in August on my first trip there and it certainly didn't seem empty to me. I've since read, like you have, that many restaurants are closed, but I don't remember having a hard time finding ones that are open. It's a huge city, for crying out loud, and people need to eat.

But given that you've been there several times, and are planning to go in April, I'm wondering why you chose Paris for this trip in August. Was there a reason for the trip? Why Paris instead of somewhere you haven't been, somewhere that might be nicer in August?
cheryllj is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Museums and other attractions will probably be open, but many smaller shops and cafes may be closed as they are escaping the heat and vacationing outside Paris during this season. You can still have a wonderful vacation in Paris during August. It's a time to enjoy a less crowded city and more relaxed Parisians.
saige is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:48 PM
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I'm no expert, since I have only been to Paris once. But it happened to be in August. The weather was pretty darn hot that ime I was there, but other than that I didn't notice any of the negatives you've mentioned like 'everything' being closed. If you are sensitive to heat, I would suggest getting a hotel room with air-con. And I spent a lot of time in all the beautiful parks around the city.
suze is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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In re-reading your post my question is the same as Cheryl's.

Since you don't like the heat, have been to Paris before, and are going again in April. Were I in your shoes, yes I'd go somewhere else for this particular one week's upcoming trip.

Maybe Amsterdam? Would be cooler since it's further north?
suze is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Thank you for the replies. Cheryllj: You asked a very good question. I miss Paris, even though I was there less than a year ago, and will be returning in about 8 months. But I am questioning my decision given some of the reasons stated above, as well as your point of visiting somewhere that I have not been.
fishskis is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Edinburgh . . . I can think of a lot of places that might be a little cooler and more pleasant. (And I've never been to Copenhagen or Edinburgh, so those are high on my personal list.)

I loved Paris in August, but it was my first time there and I didn't know any better. I enjoyed it a lot more in April and October, in subsequent trips. I don't mind heat in general (I'm from MS and know heat), but it's different when you're sightseeing all day, out in the sun and standing in line, and a/c is not as common as home.
cheryllj is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 08:07 PM
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OK I'll say it again with more emphasis that I did above... it was *HOT* when I was there. Sweating kind of hot. It was a heat wave the three weeks I was in Europe that trip (was Switzerland and Venice before Paris).

To the question about things being closed, that I don't think is anything to worry about. The temps, if you don't like heat, I think is a valid concern.
suze is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 08:17 PM
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I'm not planning a trip in August, but now that I think of places that might be fun, I'd want to go to Iceland. It might get up to 70 on a "hot" day, and the sunshine lasts well into night, great for sightseeing.

But fishskis, it only matters where YOU want to go. It sounds like you should save Paris for April, if you're worried about the heat and the closings. Are your tickets changeable, without getting hammeredon penalties? And you can go wherever? Look at the map and go north.
cheryllj is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 08:51 PM
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If this were your only chance to visit Paris I would say do it, but it does not sound like that is the case. Weather can always be fickle, but when we were in Paris a couple weeks ago in there were several days that were indeed quite hot - what my niece called "butt crack sweat hot." On the streets of the city temps are somewhat magnified. Immediately prior to Paris we were in Amsterdam and it was pleasantly warm but not hot like Paris. So, much as I love Paris, if you don't like heat stay out of Paris in August - or at least make sure the place you are staying has formidable AC and pack lots of cool linen and extra strength deodorant.
Seamus is online now  
Aug 6th, 2010, 08:56 PM
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I was in Paris second week of July and it was really hot...
Hard to predict the weather. London could be cooler.
danon is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 09:47 PM
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I would not worry about heat in August in Paris at least for this year. I live in Geneva and usually Paris weather is similar, sometimes a little warmer, sometimes a little cooler. Every summer I tell myself the peak heat is over when August arrives. The hottest is usually July and this year is not an exception. It has been quite cool to nicely warm since a few weeks. On the forecast I see Paris weather for the coming days between 23 to 28 celcius, that's about what Geneva is having.

And of course as said above, there are plenty of things open in August even though some are closed for summer holidays. It's a big city and never shuts down.
kappa1 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 10:20 PM
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Yes, where is the heat you are talking about? We in Paris are hoping that it will warm up some.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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Thank you all for the replies. I am not overly concerned with the weather; I checked the forecast and it does not look too bad; the alternative trip I was contemplating was to Asia, which I vetoed due to the heat.

As for other options, I am somewhat limited in that I am using miles for my flights, and I got lucky with a non-stop RT to Paris from LA, but other destination options are very limited. I generally do not travel in August, and I try to avoid hordes of tourists if possible (even though I am one too).

I just wonder if the city is dramatically different from other times of the year. Not to sound too corny, but I wonder if the "soul" of Paris will somehow be missing? If all the Parisiens (I hear it is literally about 50%) are gone, and the city is filled with tourists, is Paris not really Paris? If I go out to dinner, and every diner is speaking english, will I even feel like I am in Paris? This, of course, is an exaggeration; but my concern is real. If 10 % of stores and restaurants and patisseries are closed, no problem; if 50% are closed, then the entire city will obviously have a completely different feeling.

Since this is my window to go (until my planned trip next April/May), my feeling in booking it was that any trip to Paris is far better than no trip to Paris. Though now, I am questioning that premise a little given the reality that if I don't go on this trip, I will have the miles and the unspent dollars for the next trip, to wherever that might be.
fishskis is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 11:30 PM
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I see, from your first post too your concern is not about the weather.

Still your are concern is not mine. I rather enjoy somewhat emptier (depending on where you go) Paris in summer. Dramatically different ? No, not nearly but that's my opinion.
kappa1 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 11:52 PM
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Currently in France, I in Paris last week for a week, it is pumping. The countryside villages are quieter.
joyling is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 12:21 AM
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The "everything closes" thing is much less true than decades ago. I spent two weeks in Paris two years ago. I wasn't chasing round all the "big sights", since I've seen them often enough, but there was plenty to see and do (and the weather wasn't that hot then, and if today's weather in London is anything to go by, isn't now).

I blogged about what I did iin those two weeks, if you're interested:

http://autolycus-london.blogspot.com...est-paris.html
PatrickLondon is online now  
Aug 7th, 2010, 02:58 AM
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Yes, the idea that Paris closes and that the Parisians are gone is about 20 years out of date. For one thing, tourism has (unfortunately) doubled in the last 20 years and for another, the extended vacation time (5 weeks minimum for everybody) plus the compensatory time due to the technicalities of the 35 hour work week law means that Parisians (and all of the other French) have plenty of free time to use, so now they cut it up into bits and pieces all through the year. In the company where I work, I have 39 days of vacation and 11 compensatory days = 10 weeks off. I never take more than 2 weeks at a time, sometimes just 3 or 4 days. That's pretty much how all of the younger generations do things now. The days when people would tinker around in their country house for an entire month are pretty much finished.

Anyway, the principal thing that you will notice about August in Paris is that the vast majority of tourists are Italian and Spanish. Naturally, all of the other nationalities are there also, but in smaller numbers.
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Aug 7th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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August has a different feel in any major city where I've been. It is different than the main part of the year when lots of business is going on, in the Fall when things are starting up like school, etc. this is true in every city (at least in the US and W Europe) that I know. So Paris in August will feel different from Paris in October or Paris in May, but it is still Paris.

I don't know why someone would think everything in a major European capital would close in one month of the year, even things that are open all year long, like museums. People live in Paris, everything can't be closed. But things may be slower, but they are that way in other cities, also, as I said. They are that way where I live in Wash Dc.

Most tourists don't hang out with local residents, anyway, so the fact that a lot of Parisians may be gone on vacation doesn't really matter. Most museums and sites like that are full of tourists, anyway (well, museums have some locals who visits, but so what, you can't even always tell whether someone is French or Italian or whatever if you aren't talking with them).
Christina is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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All major attractions will be open. Major stores and most smaller stores and restaurants will be open. Some smaller family restaurants may be closed - but not enough to be an issue. the city will not be dead- it will be mobbed with tourists.

As for the heat - as long as your hotel as good AC you should be OK - but do realize that many restaurants and stoes will not. Weather may be warm or may be hellish (I've been when it was 90+ and humid for a week at a time) - if so do things in the early am and evenings.
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