Why You Shouldn’t Visit France in August
See that crowd? Take a good, long, hard look at it. That, my friends, is Paris in the second week of August. The most-touristed week in the most-touristed city on earth.
Short of a fully comped press trip, I would never, ever again visit France in August, and I would advise you against it as well. Here is the reality of France, especially Paris, in August:
High prices. Merchants and hostelers crank up their prices because they know they can. It’s a great example of supply and demand and you, as the demand, are not on the winning side of that equation. Say hello to $70 hostel beds and $4 bottles of water.
Crowds. Everywhere. I’m convinced that Paris in August is some giant study in the maximum occupancy of the city. The street pictured above is not typically meant to be a pedestrian-only street but the sheer number of people packed into one place turned it into one. The line to get into Notre Dame rivaled the lines I saw outside Apple stores when the iPhone 4 came out. Restaurants are crowded and noisy, souvenir touts are at their most aggressive, and staff everywhere are so tired of the foreign invaders that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get poor service.
It’s hot as a Finnish sauna. France really only has a few weeks of what I would truly consider “hot” weather, and they are all in early- to mid-August. Combine the hot, steamy temps with a general lack of air conditioning and you will discover what it feels like to feel permanently sweaty and gross in a city of high fashion.
So, take my advice: keep your trips to the land of frog legs and brie to months not named “August”.