- City Guide
Why is August the best month to visit Paris?
Actor and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘Paris is always a good idea’ – and we’re inclined to agree with her. Whether under a dressing of snow, a patter of rain, under the glorious reds of autumn or sunlit under a summer sky, there is never a time where Paris doesn’t shine.
If we had to pick however, one of our favorite times to visit the French capital is August. With the initial buzz of the holidays starting to quiet down, Paris opens up with a selection of summer events and installations to beguile, engage and woo those discerning travelers who arrive later in the season. If you’re still looking for more reasons to go, read on to find out why the Parisian August is the perfect time to visit.
After the summer rush
Paris a the height of summer may sound like a tourist’s dream, but the city is much quieter than you might think. Parisians leave the city in droves in August to seek greener retreats in tranquil French countryside, or head south to the Riviera. So, while the residents are away in St Tropez and Provence, an excellent opportunity arises for visitors to discover a new and more relaxed Paris with all its beauty, but with less of the inner-city rush, and beautiful weather to boot.
Summer in the Latin Quarter
Sprawling along the Left Bank of the Seine, the vibrant Latin Quarter really comes to life in August. The artist, philosopher and writers’ Parisian epicentre, countless famous figures have spent their summer days discussing metaphysics, epistemology, art, politics and more in the meeting places that line the streets here. Emulate them by enjoying the eclectic selection of independent shops and charming eateries, and for summer especially it’s essential to visit the many beautiful parks including the Jardin Marco Polo and the Luxembourg Gardens to really soak up some sunshine.
With sun, summer and blue-sky weather, Paris at this time of year can often draw art lovers out of art galleries and museums. To cater for this, an extensive programme of open-air events and outdoor activities bring music, cinema and sports to the boulevards of the capital. A festival of open-air cinema runs for four days in the Parc de la Villette, and in Montmartre, classical music concerts with works from Mozart and Verdi bring a touch of magic to what is already a very special place. For a more historical experience, the Liberation of Paris national holiday occurs on the 25th of August which brings celebrations at the Hôtel de Ville, with music and exhibitions for all ages.
With the summer bringing the city to life, Paris’s many parks and gardens erupt into colour with blooming flowers, sun drenched forests and cheerful picnic spots. These are oases of peace in one of the world’s most boisterous cities, and each one has its own characteristics and identity. The iconic Jardin du Luxembourg at the heart of the Left Bank is the perfect place for a nice walk a few steps away from the Lutetia. On the other side of the Seine river, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, based in an old quarry and boasting unique features such as a temple on a cliff and waterfalls in an underground grotto. Then there’s the fascinating Jardin des Plantes on the enticing Left Bank with its four museums, extensive botanical gardens and its hedge maze. Finally, there’s the famous Jardin des Tuileries, whose elegant buildings, tastefully decorated gardens and brilliant floral displays earned the park UNESCO World Heritage status in 1991.
People-watching from a Left Bank café
In what can only be explained as a classic Parisian pastime, the relaxed rhythms of the French August make for the perfect people-watching tapestry. Where better to enjoy this tradition than from a street-side café, the most authentic of which can be found on the Left Bank. Les Deux Magots is always a popular choice, thanks to its past regulars which included Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. If drinking something a little colder takes your fancy, the famous Brasserie Lipp has served beers and other alcoholic offerings to politicians, musicians and writers for over a century. Set yourself up with a cold glass of something at a table with a good view of the street, and make the most of the August climate in true Parisian style.