August Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Paris
Each year, one of Europe’s most popular destinations transforms from a bustling metropolis to an under the radar haven of calm and charm. Welcome to Paris in August.
The bliss lasts only four fleeting weeks: every August, Parisians, like their parents and grandparents before them, flee the French capital. By car, train and plane, they decamp for the Côte d’Azur, the Atlantic Coast, or further afield.
This mass urban exodus is deeply ingrained in French society. By law, all full time workers here are entitled to five weeks annual holiday. Many are obliged to take the majority of these days off in August because their workplaces actually close. And with school out, it’s the optimal time for French families to go en vacances. There’s even a word for August vacationers: les aoutiens.
The time-honored dedication to vacation has evolved into an insider’s secret for those who stay or visit.
I for one, have come to love the smaller crowds in this short annual window. Strolling leisurely across the Tuileries gardens to see a show at the Louvre without waiting behind queues. Bien sûr! Getting a table at this city’s top eateries? Pas de problème! And a growing cohort of city dwellers is discovering the charms of Paris in August.