Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paris in August

In August the residential areas of Paris look like ghost towns. Many shops and restaurants are closed and the streets relatively deserted. Some only for a week, others for five.



This may be an apocryphal tale, but I've heard that French law mandates that a bakery be open every so many meters. This orange sign lists the nearby bakeries that aren't on vacation. Hmm, but the pharmacy is closed for weeks and there's no indication of where to go for medication. Interesting priorities. As a complete aside, the patient keeps the paper prescription and can take it into any pharmacy to be refilled.


















My husband commented that if you didn't know French and that the locals take their vacations this month you'd think that half of Paris had gone bankrupt.

I had lunch yesterday in Montmartre and it's still hopping, lots of open restaurants and cafes. The tourists are definitely here. I don't know if it's more than usual or they just stand out because there are fewer French.

21 comments:

YankeeQuilter said...

Local customs can sometimes be baffling to outsiders. I remember being amazed that our offices in New Orleans closed for the week of Madi Gras and our plant in western Maryland went to essential staffing only the first week of hunting season! Guess if you know so many folks are going to be out you may as well plan around it!

sewprimitive karen said...

Oh, I love the signs and security gates; thank you for posting them all. The horse with the stars in front, wow, and love the different phrasings.

Clare said...

Is the bottom photo the Italian? If so are you having to go to the Vrai Paris instead? Oh shame - goat's cheese salad instead of anti pesto (VBG).

We heard that no many Parisiens were going en vacance this year as they couldn't afford it - obviously not true!

Heidi said...

and I know exactly where they are :-))
We spend one week at the Cote d'Azur, it's filled with French people making holidays....

Kelli Simone said...

Note to self: Do not visit Paris in August unless you want to see non-Parisiens.

I wish I could take that kind of vacation every year. I'm jealous. ~ksp

Ann J said...

We were advised to visit Paris in August by our (French) neighbours as it would be empty -so off we went and found that what they forgot to mention was that the rest of the world would also be there !!!

jovaliquilts said...

We spent the month of July in Paris several years ago and shortly before we left we saw a sign in the window of our favorite little ice cream shop that they were closing for the entire month of August! Wouldn't that be prime time for ice cream? But I have to say, I rather like the idea that people can have real vacations away from work. Everything's open 24/7, 365 days a year in the US.

Karen said...

Vacation several weeks in August? Sounds like heaven! I think we would all benefit immensely from 2-3 weeks of vacation.

Tonya, I read your blog often...LOVE seeing the pictures of your quilts & kitties and I'm green with envy that you live Paris and I don't.

Cheers!

quiltmom said...

HI Tonya,
I had forgotten about summer vacation in France until I was looking at your pictures. It is a different way of living- everyone goes to the South of France for holidays- We went to France on holiday many years ago and I remember that some places would close in mid day for a lunch break. We had to go and have a car repaired in a little town near Beillot - we had to make sure and time it so we weren't waiting around over lunch time. It was lovely to live at a different pace - you learn to shop and do your business in a new way-
Paris is indeed interesting and beautiful..
I love the picture that catches your reflection in the glass.
Happy Quilting,
Anna

McIrish Annie said...

I think the US could take a big hint from the Parisians. We all need a vacation over here! August seems like a great time for a country wide vacation.

Tanya said...

Very interesting about the bakeries. No great bakeries ANYWHERE in my town and only so-so for pastries and such. Japan uses the same patient holds the prescription system.

KathieB said...

Love that French handwriting.

Carol E. said...

I would find the one with the longest vacation (July 28 - Sept 2) and apply for a job there.

Sharon said...

OK, so I guess the Parisians don't vacation at home, huh? I know the Germans and Swiss also vacation during August. Where do they all go that there's someone left to do the work (waiters, cooks, maids, etc.)?? Probably the US this year, due to the economy! Thanks for the great photo essay! It was fun!

Karol-Ann said...

Wonderful! Reminds me of living in Germany, visiting Italy and France... so European and why not?

Magpie Sue said...

I think there's a free-pieced-letters quilt in this post somewhere!

Julie said...

Wow. So I guess August is not the time to visit Paris! LOL I always enjoy reading your blog.

Mary said...

I like this first gate - I just quilted a wonky grid on a quilt but I kind of like how the *rows* touch on this one - I think I need to try it out.

Kristin L said...

This is such a great essay on closed businesses. Germany is the same way, both with many small businesses closing for the month of August, and that there is a bakery and a butcher within walking distance of just about anywhere. Now that I live in suburban America I am really missing the ability to just take a short walk to the basics. A nice evening stroll to get an ice cream would be great, but the closest place is Wal Mart over a mile away. Not the same ambiance as we had in our German village!

Oh, our town always had the names of the emergency pharmacies printed in an annual info brochure that also had teh trash and recycling schedule.

Maureen and P.D. the Pet Dog said...

Tonya, wonderful post as usual! Enjoyed it very much. Hubby and I own a cottage in Door County Wisconsin. After Christmas many businesses close down until springtime, they go south for the winter. One thing we found interesting is that the shops also close during the Green Bay Packer Football games! Love their priorities!

Lynda said...

This French habit never ceases to baffle me - especially in a tourist town like Paris. It also makes the coastal resorts bulge with Parisians!