When Paris is the Least Parisian...and Visitors Take Over
If you've ever visited Paris in August, you'll know that the city isn't exactly in its normal state. Most locals abandon Paris for the overpacked beaches of the Cote d'Azur or the Atlantic Coast, and Paris falls under the reign of visitors from around the globe. Laid-back, festive, and eerily stripped of its metropolitan stress levels, the city of light is a tourist's playground in August. And as for the full-time residents who've stayed behind, well, they're equally relieved to have fewer locals around.
The enthusiasm of visitors tends to be infectious, and Parisians, reputed for their gloomy dispositions, welcome the change of ambiance.
Why to Love the City of Light in August:
In a few words, you (and hordes of other visitors, of course) have the city to yourselves. Traffic nearly grinds to a halt on the streets, and activities like biking or rollerblading around the city are rarely more pleasant. Metro cars may be overpacked and sweltering, but stressed commuters have been replaced with cheerful packs of vacationers. The mood is perhaps less authentically Parisian than at other times of the year, but being an honorary Parisian myself, I can tell you that it can be very pleasant.
To add to the fun, free events like open-air cinema, live music, and beaches along the Seine river gives the temporary illusion that Paris is a resort town or amusement park.
August in Paris is also an ideal time for experiencing a cruise on the Seine river or on Paris canals and waterways, especially on hot days when breezes off the water offer a welcome reprieve. Having a relaxed meal while gliding along the water can be to memorable effect.
A Few Highlights in August 2018:
- Through September 2nd: Paris Plage (Paris Beach) turns three locations around the city into an ideal place to relax, read, picnic, or stroll up and down temporary boardwalks. In the evenings, free live concerts and drink-sipping on outdoor terraces along the Seine River are huge draw cards for the adults.
- Through August 19th: Open-Air Cinema Festival at the Parc de la Villette--Every year, Parisians and visitors spread out blankets at the ultramodern Parc de la Villette, where some 40 hit and indie movies are shown for no charge on a giant outdoor screen.
- Through August 26th: Rock en Seine brings three full days and nights of music to the Domaine International de St Cloud, an enormous green space just outside the western city limits. Camping is an option for anyone who wants to stay for all three days, and some of the world's hottest current acts in rock and indie music perform.
The August Thermometer
- Minimum temperature: 15 degrees C (59 degrees F)
- Maximum temperature: 24 degrees C (75.2 degrees F)
- Average temperature: 19 degrees C (66.2 degrees F)
- Average rainfall: 55 millimeters (2.2 inches)
Scroll down for information on how to pack your suitcase for your August sojourn, and more.
How to Pack and Prepare for a Trip to Paris in August?
Before hitting that "book" button and hopping on the plane or train, make sure you prepare properly with a well-planned suitcase and other gear. This is especially important in the late summer, since the weather in the capital frequently alternates between hot, muggy conditions and rain or even thunderstorms. Here's our general advice on how to get ready for your trip:
August in the city of light is generally warm and muggy, with average temperatures at around 75 degrees F. Rain is frequent and it isn't unusual for autumn-like conditions to foil plans for outdoorsy activities.
In recent years, however, major heatwaves have been known to strike in August, and temperatures have sometimes climbed to the high 90's. In 2003, a two-week heatwave hit Paris in early August and caused a significant number of heat-related illnesses and deaths. Elderly visitors, visitors with medical conditions, and parents with infants and small children should remain especially alert to possible spikes in temperature, and take necessary precautions. Reserving a hotel room with air conditioning is one of them.
Making sure to keep plenty of water on hand and drinking regularly, even when you experience little to no sensation of thirst, is another. This advice is especially important for elderly travelers, who tend to not feel thirst as acutely.
August can be surprisingly rainy, and erratic thunderstorms and heavy showers are common. Pack a reliable umbrella in case one of these takes you off guard you during a stroll or picnic.
Bring both closed-toed and open-toed shoes.. On hot days or excursions to the park you'll appreciate the open-toed pair, but you'll need a good, comfortable pair of walking shoes too, especially since visits to Paris usually involve lots of strolling-- not to mention those maddening metro tunnels and stairs.
Pack a hat or visor and other sun gear for sunny days when you wish to spend time lounging in one of Paris' best parks and gardens.
Ready for Your August Trip?:
If so, make sure to book flights and hotels in advance to find good deals: see trusted sites like TripAdvisor.