The August Exodus

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We’re back in Paris. I feel like a côte de boeuf so I go to the butcher’s on rue Montorgueil. Usually there are three open, today there is only one. In fact, only about one shop in five in Paris is open.  There are even restaurants that are closed.

Shut-up shop in rue Colonel Driant

Shut-up shop in rue Colonel Driant

Now it’s Sunday and we’re at the market near Sainte Eustache. There are only about one-third of the usual stalls and even those have limited produce.

Sunday market half-deserted

Sunday market half-deserted

Most of my clients have shut up shop as well which means I have some free time to see the odd friend who is still in Paris in August!

Free parking space in front of our apartment building

Free parking space in front of our apartment building

There are spare parking spaces in our street, which is most unusual. Usually, they are bumper-to-bumper. No wonder parking is free.

So where is everybody?

With everything else close, I notice this old butcher's stall. It seems to be empty now. You can see the meat safe at the back.

With everything else close, I notice this old butcher’s stall. It seems to be empty now. You can see the meat safe at the back.

The families with beach or country houses are on the coast or in the countryside. If the mother doesn’t work, the father often commutes at weekends.  It’s peak time for French holiday makers on the Atlantic and Mediterranean and the airports are over-stretched. Some companies close for the whole of August while others shut down for the week surrounding the 15th August which is a public holiday in France.

Tour Saint Jacques seen from Ile de la Cité

Tour Saint Jacques seen from Ile de la Cité

There is a saying that the weather deteriorates after the 15th August weekend, but this year, it got in early! Looks like the end of August might be finer and warmer.

Paris Plage from Quai de la Mégisserie

Paris Plage from Quai de la Mégisserie

It’s Sunday afternoon and Jean Michel suggests we go to Paris Plage because we’ve left our bikes in Blois. It’s about 20°C and overcast. We hope it won’t rain.

The panels and broken fence on Pont des Arts

The panels and broken fence on Pont des Arts

I want to see the love lock situation on Pont des Arts. Currently, nearly 10,000 people have signed the No Love Locks lobby’s petition to have them banned but I can’t see the solution, much as I hate them now, though I initially thought they were fun.

Bouqinistes on Quai de la Mégisserie just before Pont des Arts

Bouqinistes on Quai de la Mégisserie just before Pont des Arts

It’s easy to find the footbridge – just follow the crowd! The bridge, which used to be one of my favourite places in Paris, is looking sad and ugly, with graffiti-covered panels to replace the sections that have broken off completely and other sections which are moving in that direction.

The Louvre at the Beach

The Louvre at the Beach

We go down onto the Voies sur Berge below and see a new initiative – the Louvre at the Beach with reproductions of paintings in the Louvre relating to bathing.

Fermob's red Eiffel Tower

Fermob’s red Eiffel Tower

Further along we come to a red Eiffel Tower. When we get up closer, we see that it is made of bistro chairs! The tower, created by Fermob, which has been making chairs since the end of the 19th century, celebrates the Dame de Fer’s 125th anniversary. The 324 folding chairs symbolise the Eiffel Tower’s 324 metres erected for the Universal Exhibition of 1889. It’s a wonder there are no love locks on it yet …

Up close, you can see some of the 324 bistro chairs!

Up close, you can see some of the 324 bistro chairs!

On the whole, there is not much action, but more sand than in previous years. We only see one sculpture.

Sand sculpture at Paris Plage

Sand sculpture at Paris Plage

Right down the end, where there is no more sand, we find a couple of vacant deck chairs so take a selfie before going home via Notre Dame on the other side of the Seine.

Selfie in Paris Plage deck chairs

Selfie in Paris Plage deck chairs

Maybe next Sunday we’ll visit the other Paris Plage venue near La Villette. We overheard someone saying it was much livelier – though that wouldn’t be hard!

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16 Responses to The August Exodus

  1. Great post! So it is true that much of Paris is closed during August. I can’t imagine that happening anywhere else in the world!!

    I saw the red Eiffel Tower at Paris Plage last month but I didn’t realise that it was made from bistro chairs – how clever. Despite the weather, it sounds like you had a good day. And with all the Parisians out of town, at least you could find two deck chairs!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Yes, it is true that much is closed. It makes it peaceful for Parisians, of course, but I don’t know about the tourists. Three of the 5 places I recommend for lunch near the Louvre are closed, but of course, there are still plenty of places open near the main tourist attractions.

      The Eiffel Tower is pretty neat, isn’t it?

  2. Susan Walter says:

    I love the bistro chair Eiffel tower! That is really clever.

  3. breadispain says:

    Oh my yes – it is so slow around here. We’ve decided to stay in August and leave in September. Keeping fingers crossed for better weather, it has been so strange this summer. UGH – love locks, they are really on my nerves. I hope they will ban them…

    Hope the rest of your summer is fabulous!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I think the weather should be much better in September. We’re going to Lisbon for a week, so I hope it is!

  4. Andrea says:

    I LOVE Paris in August. It’s one of the best times to visit in my opinion. I always made a point of not travelling during that month. You almost have the city to yourself!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I quite agree. The only problem is that this year, it seems completely deserted and I can go for whole days not seeing or talking to anyone (apart from Jean Michel, of course)! Also, we don’t have our bikes, which is a nuisance.

  5. Very interesting “piece of art” made of bistro chairs. Very imaginative. You two look great.

  6. I’ve seen that Eiffel tower of chairs in another photoblog, but not up close like this. I do like it.

  7. August definitely can be a frustrating month! I had a moment like your “côte de boeuf” one yesterday. I foolishly was craving some poulet rôti for dinner yesterday so went over to the butcher shop in my neighborhood, forgetting it has been closed since July 20th! So I resigned to pop in the supermarket next store to get some chicken, and I don’t know if it was an August thing or not, but there was absolutely no chicken on the shelves. Only about 4 packages of veal, some turkey, and some sausages. But aside from the inconvenient closures, it can be nice to walk around some of the more residential areas of the city that aren’t flooded with tourists and have a piece of Paris to oneself.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Goodness, you’d think you could get something as basic as chicken, wouldn’t you? And I agree about being able to have a piece of Paris to oneself. I went powerwalking this morning in the Tuileries Gardens before 9.30 and it was wonderful!

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