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Would we be crazy to go to Paris in July or early August?

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Jan 2nd, 2010, 04:51 PM
  #1
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Would we be crazy to go to Paris in July or early August?

I want to spend a week in Paris and the only possible time is seeming to be July or August. We went to Europe one time in August, to London, and it seemed every teenager on the planet was touring. I know that Europeans go on vaca in August so am wondering what will be left behind, such as closed restaurants and stores. What about July? Will it be crowded and ungodly hot? Has anyone had first hand experience? Thanks!
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 06:01 PM
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A few local businesses will be closed but in July and August any tourist area of Europe will be packed with europeans as well as foreign visitors. Sorry - there really isn;t any way around it.

Just be sure your hotel has good AC and make up your ming to put up with the crowds.
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 06:24 PM
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July or August in Paris is better than no Paris at all. Just steel yourself to deal with crowds, and definitely get a place with AC. You may not need it, but if you do it is a lifesaver. And pay no attention to those places that tell you they have good ventilation and a fan.
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 07:50 PM
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I was in Paris last year at the end of July , it was very hot for a few days ( just that week!) but the city was full of locals (and tourists).


Later in August more restaurants are closed, local are on holidays etc..
I prefer July.
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 08:43 PM
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We went in August about 5 years ago, and were able to get lower airfare and reduced hotel rates. Unless things have changed, it didn't at all seem a mob scene to us, and we encountered very few closings in the center. We did book a hotel with AC, but the weather was fine. I would do it again if price were a consideration.

Actually, we were in London this past August, and I didn't feel that it was inordinately crowded with teens. During the day, Trafalgar Square was a bit overrun, but we didn't spend a lot of our time there. We did go twice at night, to see Plinth performers, and it wasn't crowded at all. Maybe a sign of the economic times?
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 08:55 PM
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I was also in Paris in August, but not recently. There were less tourists and most of the French were vacationing,
but now more restaurants stay open that were closed back at that time. The weather was not as hot as here in Boston and there was no need for AC. Now weather is unpredictable.
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Jan 2nd, 2010, 10:01 PM
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When I was teaching, I was restricted to travelling during the summer months. DH & I always chose to be in Paris in July rather than August.

If you are prepared, you will be able to cope with the heat (with a/c in your hotel room, carry bottled water, seek a shady spot in the Luxembourg Gardens ...) & the crowds (arrive at popular sights early or late in the day).

You are not crazy, rbnwdln ... you are lucky to be going to Paris, one of my favourite places to visit!!!

Happy travels!

2010
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 02:44 AM
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Mid-late July is my favorite time to go to Paris. You have the Bastille Day festivities, the sales, the beach, long hours of daylight, and the weather is generally quite pleasant. Yes it can get hot, so I always get a hotel room with A/C.

As for crowds, nothing comes close the xmas-nye holiday crowds in my opinion.

I've never been to Paris in August.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 07:03 AM
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I've lived in Paris for many years now, and so have experienced many summers here. On average, Paris is not that hot in the summer. Most of the time, it's in the mid to high 70's or low 80's, it bounces around a lot, and the humidity is moderate. There's a good reason that most Parisians don't need or own air conditioners: we don't roast. That said, every summer there is one week here or a few days there when it gets in the high 80's or low 90's. Occasionally, there is a longer spell, but it's pretty rare.

The trouble with opinions of travelers on the subject is that they will be biased by what they experienced during one particular week. Those who hit a few hot days will tend to go away thinking it's always like that.

In the end, the odds are in your favor, and if you get a few warm days, then you'll just do as we Parisians do --close the blinds on the windows during the day to keep the sun out while you're out, and then open the windows at night when there's usually a cool breeze. Etc. Personally, the warm months are my favorite times of the year here.

As for crowds, I have to disagree with those who say there's no way around them. Au contraire! The city half empties in the summer, making it a joy to be here. Everything is less crowded -- except the main tourist attractions! And those are pretty much constant in terms of people from spring through autumn. They only thin out in the dead of winter. So, my point is that it's easy to beat the crowds -- just explore all the rest of the city.

Going early and late in the day to see things is also good advice, but applies the whole year. I would add to it the buying of tickets in advance which usually give you the ability to cut to the front of the line and walk right in.

As for August closings, it's not nearly as pervasive as some would lead you to believe. Yes, some restaurants and shops close, but there are so many here that it doesn't matter. Cultural sites tend to remain open all year.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 09:29 AM
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I go to Paris a lot in July, and did once in August. I really miss going in July as it has a lot of advantages to me.

Paris isn't the Sahara desert, for heaven's sake, I don't know why people act as if it is the tropics, it's not that hot and probably not as hot as many of the places people come from in July -- if you are American, in any case. Sure, it's the summer, but I like that as you can wear summer clothes, pack real light, not have to worry about lugging around heavy shoes and coats, etc., and it stays light until about 10 pm which is nice.

Now I didn't care for August that much, but not because of the heat, but because it has a different vibe in Paris, and because there are almost no performing arts events, which I always go to (concerts, ballets, etc.). This is true everywhere in the world that I know of, except that Londond has the BBC PRoms in August. But a lot of people never go to a real concert or ballet, anyway, so that won't matter to a lot of them (I am not talking about tourist concerts such as Vivaldi or Famous Adagios, etc., which seem to always be on).

I don't know why people obsess so much about closed stores, Paris isn't some backward place, it's the capital of France, and the city doesn't ever shut down.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 09:56 AM
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ruecharlot -

No - it's not the travelers from the US hit the few days that are very hot and think it's that way all the time (although I have been there when it was 95+ several days in a row). It's that we (most of us) use AC all summer - and definitely do it when the temps are in the high 70's/low 80s. We're just not used to having it that hot indoors at all. (Several of my neighbors set their indoor AC at 68 and run it the whole time from May through Oct.)
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 10:20 AM
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If so many people visit Paris in July and August, it is because those are considered to be the nicest and most convenient months by the majority. That doesn't make them crazy.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Hi rbnwdln ,
We were in Paris August 15-22, 2009. We had three days of very high temperatures - 95 degrees. I understand that is very unusual. It did not deter us though. We headed out early in the day, with plenty of water and came back to the apt for a couple of hours in the middle of the day to cool down, take a cold shower and then we headed back out again in the evening. Heat or not, this turned out to be a great way to tackle the city. we didn't have air and we survived just fine. We were on the sixth floor so we just opened opposing windows and let the breeze come on in.

What we loved most was watching the Parisians enjoying the Paris Plage. A section of the Seine near the Louvre is turned into a beach. This is for the benefit of the Parisians who cannot vacation during August and must stay in the city (as I understood it). The "beach" was packed with people all day long and well into the night. It was so much fun to stroll along the "beach" with an ice cream and listen to the various musicians playing late into the night with the city lights twinkling. Ahhhh!!!

Whenever you go, just pace yourself, take time to just "be" there as opposed to racing from one place to another. We listened to that advice, didn't see everything and just fell in love with Paris. Cannot wait to return.
Have a great trip,
Michele
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Paris is Paris...I'd go anytime of the year
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Dec 11th, 2014, 11:24 PM
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This delightful thread was posted in 2010, but I'm reviving it, because I'm planning my first visit to Paris...for July!
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