Paris in August: 10 Survival Tips

“Best fake tans for 2018” – the cover photo of a perfectly bronzed model makes me flip through a tabloid while sipping un allongé in the 11iéme arrondissement of Paris. I start to be concerned about my mental state.

August 9th, 1:35 pm. Now it's official: the so-called "City of Lights” has turned into a ghost town. A scary one indeed: I cross the streets when the lights are red, not because I embrace the ordinary suicidal Parisian way of life, like I usually do, but because the streets are empty. So are bars, restaurants and any other gastronomic institutions. Blank stares of bored waiters fill the air with emptiness. To make matters worse: many of my favourite places are closed for the next few weeks. Friends uploading pictures of the beach on all possible social media platforms do not necessarily contribute to my well-being. “Bonnes vacances", I mumble. 

In case you are in the same boat (and ghost town) right now, here are some survival tips that keep you from turning into a ghost yourself:  

#1 Take A Deep Breath. 

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The first thing that leaves with all the people is cars and hence carbon dioxide emissions. The air may not be as fresh as on the seaside but it’s definitely better than usual.  

#2 Don’t Complain. 

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You are not sunbathing in the south of France. You are still as pale as the baguette you just got at the second rate bakery around the corner because your favourite one is closed until the end of the month. – What now? Tip: get over it. For whatever reason you are stuck in here, make it a good one. Don’t forget that you are still in a city that billions of people can only dream about. So calm the sh*t down and keep the air fresh. Complaints only pollute it – and we just got rid of some carbon dioxide emissions, remember?

#3 Don’t Explain. 

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But lie. Tell anyone who asks why you are here, that you are currently writing on a novel. That the Paris-in-August-silence is exactly what you needed. It actually was the reason you stayed in the city. That you usually swim against the tide and will go on holidays once everyone is back so you can have the south for yourself.

#3 Get Some Highlights. 

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And go to your hairdresser (in case the bitch is on vacation, go to someone else). If the sun can’t give you that beach look, let professionals do it for you. Some cheating never hurt anyone.

#4 Avoid Tourist Places. 

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Go to places that are only known by locals. Sitting next to noisy Americans and their selfie sticks has never been fun.

#5 Have Some Drinks. 

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Someone has to give bartenders a reason to exist.

#6 And Fries. 

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Not wearing a bikini in public has its perks.

#7 Write A What To Do List. 

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Feed your mind by including as many galleries, museums and concerts as possible: it gives you a healthy glow.

#8 Embrace The Moment Of Nothingness. 

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Times of having “no life anymore” and “too many events to go to” will come sooner than you think. 

#9 Plan Your Next Trip. 

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While Cannes, Marseilles or Nice are at least 120 Euros (roundtrip) and a 9-hour drive away, you can easily make it to the seaside (or a lake nearby?) with a smaller budget and less time. La Rochelle, Brest or St-Malo are just some of the affordable and last-minute opportunities to escape.

#10 Escape. 

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And make sure to never spend August in Paris ever again.

Mia Windisch-Graetz