Paris in the summer: a public service announcement

Summer travel can be trying, because the Natives tend to take their vacations and do their travelling in late July/early August also. For every American mom who had hoped that her denim and flipflop wearing children would find inspiration in the streets of Paris, there's a French or Italian family pretending not to notice that they're a bit, um, dressy as they trudge through the streets of New York or Chicago. If you want to observe French people at play, and the Riviera is out of reach, come to New York in August.

Many French, indeed many European, businesses, close for August. This makes getting food problematic in Paris, because even restauranteurs like to get out of the hot city in August. Of recent years, for many Paris restaurants, the August vacation has become 3 weeks, not the whole month, and some enterprising chefs have figured out that if staff takes vacation a week or so early, a business opportunity is created for the rest of the summer. And the lovely people at have summed it all up, which restaurants are open this summer, day by day, at

this link      

which I post out of concern for parents and academics whose travel time is limited to times when school or camp is not in session. Well, summer times. For winter vacay or spring break, you're on your own.

It's a nice assortment of types of restaurant and price range, too. Some are splurges - how often do you get to Paris, after all? and some are just nice places for dinner at the end of a hot day of standing on line and walking on sidewalks.  Who deserves it more than you?


  1. I stopped reading after 3 weeks holiday. I have a few French friends who complain about not having enough time to do all their work because of some national holiday or scheduled city-wide strike for some union or being "forced" to take additional vacation days that have been accrued. I will sit here begrudingly with my use-it-or-lose-it 10 vacation days a year and pout. (But I do adore Paris ...)

    1. Hi, Lisa, I once worked at a firm where the "done thing" was notto take your vacation, or if you had to - family reasons, prepaid gift fare - you needed to complain bitterly ahead of time, and either return early or come in with a limb in a cast. It helped to show pictures proving you had really lousy weather. One young woman came back to the office on a Friday afternoon, right from the airport, luggage and all. Then there was the guy who regularly spent rainy weekends at the Jersey Shore with spouse, kids and in-laws in a 2-bedroom cottage. If you admitted to having enjoyed being somewhere other than the office, your chances for advancement were seriously impaired. Having committed the unforgivable sin of enjoying Paris, Rome and Marrakech, I advanced myself into a job elsewhere.

  2. Thank you wff!

    We head to Paris on aug 21 and this will be great!

  3. Hi, WMM, thank you!

    I just took another look at that list, and a favorite of mine, Le Petit Marguéry, is not on it. Since we always have a good time there, and since it is seriously less of a splurge than most of the restos on PbM's list, may I suggest you take a look at their website? Here's a link to the English side, The English is, um, sincere, the French side of the site communicates more, and you can reserve on the web without worrying about time changes, etc.


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