When people tell you that the locals leave Paris in August like the ground inside the périphérique is lava, they’re not wrong. While it’s a good time for tourists and soon-to-be-locals like me to get their bearings in the city and take in the sights with actually decent weather (literally the only good thing about climate change but let’s not forget that mere weeks ago people were ditching their clothes to swim in fountains because Europe cannot handle this heat), there are a lot of minor inconveniences that will meet you in the last full summer month in the city of lights.
Though the typical tourist hot spots were still lively and full, it wasn’t the packed pandemonium that a lot of people might think Paris is always like. That being said, there were portions of the city that were completely empty.
And empty streets mean empty shops and restaurants, meaning that vintage shop that has Chanel booties on extreme sale for 150€ is decidedly closed from early to end August, no questions asked. Same for restaurants that may have been on your go-to list for years.
When visiting Paris in August, it’s best to have a backup. Google Maps and Cool Cousin saved our stomachs last week. But that’s also why you have me (but keep the other two options close at all times).
Stroll through the grounds of the Louvre and visit the Fête des Tuileries
Need a bit of fresh air after winding your way through the Louvre? Just go straight outside! I’m certain the museum is always packed, but the grounds were 1) gorgeous as usual and 2) fairly empty. I have evidence, I swear, and I’m not good enough at photoshop to do any tricks to remove large groups of people! Once you’ve moved to the gardens, make your way to this funfair. It runs through most of the summer and is the perfect place to walk through and people watch. If you have kids, prepare to play hilarious games and ride some vomit-inducing thrillers – I begged PJ to go on the ferris wheel for picture-perfect views of Paris.
Drink in the views at Perruche
I think almost everyone knows that you can get incredible views and dining experiences at the top of Galeries Lafayette, but I never knew how incredible the bar at the top of Printemps is. And with absolutely delicious rosé at only 10€, it’s probably one of the cheaper bars in the area, especially considering the rooftop experience. 10/10 would recommend (and return to try their menu).
Roam the streets in the center of the city
You’ll have them all to yourself – this was definitely my favourite part of our visit last week. When we were strolling through the city, we came across so many streets that were just…empty. So we walked, and walked, and walked – and it made me realise that this huge city can actually feel very homely. Visiting Paris in August is the perfect time to discover the directions around the city in your own way.
Take in a sundowner (or snack, or dinner…) in the Latin Quarter before all the students arrive
This was easily the most chill, most Parisian evening that we had. We parked ourselves in a brasserie that had outdoor seating facing this tiny square and watched the world go by. At the café across the square, a saxophonist was giving the performance of a lifetime, and we just were. Sounds cliché, but it was a welcome distraction to work and moving stresses that PJ and I had on our minds.
Needless to say, I have no pictures from the evening, but if you’re in the area I cannot recommend visiting Ojia for dinner enough (thank you Google Maps, clutch timing). Incredible food, fast service, and I didn’t need to eat again until the next afternoon.
There are so many other things you can do in Paris during the sleepy summer months. Lots of shopping experiences are available (I probably definitely bought those Jonak shoes I talked about in my last Paris post), plenty of restaurants are still open, the Paris Plage gets everyone summer-drunk, and you just can’t really beat sitting in a cafe with a cappuccino and a good book, now can you?
So put on your walking shoes, fire up Duo Lingo and plan your own adventure to the city of lights next August. Maybe I’ll see you around town?