Every time I acquire a client traveling to Paris in August, I prepare myself for a little extra work. Why? Because many Parisians leave town for their vacations. This means shopowners close shop; restaurant owners shut down kitchens; and tour guides skip town. Does this mean you shouldn't visit Paris in August? Well, that depends.
There are some definite pros to traveling to Paris in August. Airlines often offer discount fares during this month as summer travel starts to wind down. There is a more laid-back feel in the city as traffic eases and over-crowded metro trains become more vacant. While some favorite restaurants, patisseries, and ice cream shops may close, the opportunity to explore and discover new finds exists with those that do remain open.
For those who have a list of must-try restaurants and depend heavily on guided tours, Paris might be a challenge in August. You probably won't find the #1-rated TripAdvisor restaurant open. Nor will the most popular tour guide likely be available. So, if you will be less enamored with the city by not checking these things off your list, then visiting in August may not be for you.
If you do decide to visit Paris in August, plan ahead. Make a list of the restaurants you want to try. Call or email in advance to find out their availability. Many only close for a portion of the month. You may be able to rearrange your itinerary so that you can get to your favorite spots on an open night. If you find it difficult to find available tour guides, ask for referrals, or rely on your hotel for recommendations. Locals who remain in town still have to conduct business as "normal," so who better to ask for help.
Photo courtesy of MetroFrance
Visiting Paris in August can bring some unexpected surprises. For one, the banks of the Seine are turned into a beach getaway, transformed with big beach umbrellas, sand and palm trees. Then, there is the outdoor movie festival at Parc de la Villette for movie buffs, and the Festival Rock en Seine for music-lovers. Of course, the familiar sites like Notre Dame and the Louvre offer a great escape from the summer's heat and humidity.
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