Spending August in Paris and not sure how to survive the boulangerie closings, the Parisian exodus and the empty streets? Don’t worry, we have your back! Below are some of our suggestions to keep your creative juices and morale up in the midst of a Parisian August.
No summer in Paris (let alone August) is complete without a few full-fledged picnics, lying out into the late afternoon on a towel, drinking picnic wine (aka cheap rosé or white) and running your bare feet through the grass. Some of our favorite spots — Buttes Chaumont (bonus: it’s open all night this summer), Canal de la Villette (if you prefer no grass), Jardin des Plantes, Square du Vert Galant.
Courtyard of the Swedish Institute
A new favorite summer spot, the courtyard of the Swedish Institute in the 4th offers free lawn chairs (in exchange, you have to check out a book from their pop-up library with an ID). Their stand serves up bagels, cinnamon rolls and refreshingly cold iced tea. If you lay back and open your eyes, it almost feels like summer in Stockholm.
Day trip to Normandy
When we were dying from the canicule (heat wave) last summer, we decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Deauville in Normandy. Using Blabla car and the train, we booked less than 24 hours in advance and for 30 euros roundtrip, we escaped the summer heat for a beach day! It takes about 2 hours to get there, so if you have enough for a beach day, lunch, and even a drink. Check out Deauville or Trouville for the grand beaches, go to Cabourg for more of a local feel.
Terraces and rooftop bars
Everyone loves a good terrace, and ideally one positioned for the favorite Parisian past time: people watching. Here are just a few of our recommendations!
Moncoeur Belleville 1 Rue des Envierges
Right at the top of the Parc de Belleville, this cafe terrace offers low-key, local vibes and a front row seat to a classic Parisian sunset.
Paname Brewing Company 41 bis Quai de la Loire
This local brewery quickly became a favorite– offering craft beers, simple food and a floating terrace situated at the top of the scenic bassin de la villette in the 19th.
Grand Amour Hotel 18 Rue de la Fidélité
The enclosed courtyard of the restaurant is a peaceful spot to grab a drink or a simple meal in the late afternoon. The green foliage and pastels create an LA vibe, transporting to summer on the West Coast.
Perchoir de l’est 10 Place du 11 Novembre 1918
While rooftop bars are not as common in Paris (reason being buildings are restricted to 7 floors), the team behind Le Perchoir (the OG is in the 11th) have embraced this trend and opened a new rooftop bar on the top of Gare de l’Est. With a surprisingly scenic view all the way to Notre Dame, this rooftop bar is a great place to spend a summer evening drinking Dark and Stormy’s. Note: it is a bit difficult to find within the station and the line is long, but it’s worth the wait (especially with friends).
Some of other favorite activities (not specific to Paris)
Write a postcard
Even if you can’t go on vacation, sometimes it’s nice to reflect on where you are and share it with someone you care about. Go to a tabac or a post stand, buy a postcard and write whatever comes to mind. Send it to an address you know by heart.
One of the best parts of empty Parisian streets is the freedom it gives you to wander, explore and discover new things (a main theme of our blog ;). Give yourself an hour or two to get lost. Put your phone on silent and see what the city is like without distractions.
A few of our recommendations for one (if not the best) summer activity, on the beach or not, curling up with a book you can’t put down.
Our picks for this summer:
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (addictive, male friendship, coming of age)
- Sweet Caress by William Boyd (intriguing, artistic, photography)
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (classic, poetic, love)
- Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (beautiful, subtle, romantic)
- The Natashas by Yelena Moskovich (complex, authentic, thought-provoking)