Monday, 6 August 2012

In Which Paris Transforms into A Beach Town

August is dullsville here in Paris. I am beside myself with angst as every bakery within a half hour walk from me is closed for the next three weeks. I know it's a myth we hear in the states, but yes, everyone here gets a ton of vacation time, and yes, business all shutter for the month of August. Not just one or two, but the majority. I couldn't even imagine that happening in New York- business usually close for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and maybe an odd holiday here and there...but to pick up and leave for weeks?

I'm trying to embrace this. Life isn't over because I had to walk an extra mile for my baguette this morning. It's just less convient.


One nice thing I've found is that despite the metro runs less frequently, it's also much less crowded. Like, instead of being full-body pressed by eight people with my boobs resting on a poor height-challenged grandmother's head, I can waltz in and grab a seat like it's my birthright.


The streets that are normally packed with people in suits are now empty until later in the day when hoards of tourist take over. All the monuments and landmarks are now much busier. Paris goes on vacation elsewhere, the rest of the word vacations in Paris.

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(This is one of my favorite pass times- taking pictures of people touching the tops or pretending to hold up monuments out of context. But, eh. I'm easily amused.)

One interesting thing the city sets up (almost overnight it seemed) is the Paris Plages. A section of Seine-side road is shut down. A boardwalk is built. Sand is trucked in. Chairs and pop-up beach cafes are set up. Suddenly, you can almost smell salt air and start craving clams and lobster rolls.

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Swimming in the Seine is probably akin to drinking cans of botulism or making out with an ebola victim, but they do have sprinklers set up.

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Or, you know, you can just wait a few minutes and the Paris skies will provide you with dewy fresh skin.

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It's amusing to see- Paris is such a proper city where no one would ever dream of leaving the house in flip-flops and shorts. It's the anti-beach town.

On our way back to the metro, we stopped to watch the Olympics in fromt of Hotel de Ville- city hall.


They set up a big screen and bean bag chairs for big sporting events, like the French Open and the Olympics. Watching the Olympics in France is kind of funny. Naturally, they show mostly their home team with a few other notable performances thrown in. We've mostly caught Cycling, Fencing, Handball (which I was ignorant of its existence before now) and the kayaking course thing they do. It's interesting to see the games from a different perspective.

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