ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Paris in August

What? You are not going on holiday?

I have been working in Paris for five years, but still the French habit of taking most, if not all, of August as holiday eludes me. Why would you want to vacation at the most expensive time of the year if you didn't have to? Parents with school age children, of course, are excepted as they have no choice. I am no longer in this group and neither are many French people, and yet, they still disappear from Paris to, mostly, the south of France, all at the same time.

Why? Do they like each other that much that they want to go away together? Isn't the point of a holiday to get away from it all, not take it all with you? I must be missing something in my strange 'so British' ways.

The Paris that is left behind by this exodus is a quiet place, tranquil, and actually quite pleasant, even if the boulangerie is closed and the pavements a hazard of lost tourists one can easily trip over. There is little competition for the terrace and the streets are calm. You can find somewhere pleasant to sit in the park, even a free bench, which is something of a joy compared to the rest of the year.

The only price to pay is being treated as a tour guide by random visitors who try out their two words of French before sighing with relief that they fortuitously picked a local who can speak English so well. Ha. I seldom bother to enlighten them, and sometimes, if I am feeling especially wicked, I am not that helpful. My Gallic shrug is coming along nicely, thanks.

I intend to enjoy this circus paradiso for a few more weeks yet. Salut!

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