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What’s Open in Paris in August

A Quick Guide to Surviving the Annual Exodus

With most of the locals exiting the French capital in August, it can sometimes seem like everything closes. Don't worry though, many businesses remain open all summer long and there are also plenty of fun summertime-only spots that pop up.

August is famous as the month when Paris fills with tourists and empties of all the Parisians. Sadly, that means many shop keepers, restaurant owners, and bakers leave too, leaving some of the more residential neighborhoods rather deserted. 

But fret not, all the main attractions remain open in August, as do all the big shopping streets, department stores, and shopping malls. Most cafés, brasseries, and bistrots in the more touristy areas stay open all summer too, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a place for a drink or a meal in the city center.

As for the boulangeries, there used to be a law mandating that the city coordinated the vacations of the bakers so as not to deprive Parisians of their daily bread. Although the law is no longer in effect and bakeries may now close whenever they like, they generally work together to ensure there’s always somewhere in the neighborhood to pick up a baguette. Out of the six boulangeries within two blocks of my home, at least two are open in August. All leave a note stating their exact holiday dates on the door, just in case you want to wait for your favorite to return from vacances.

Smaller restaurants in the more residential arrondissements tend to close for vacation or take the opportunity to redecorate, so please don’t set your heart on one specific place to eat, just in case. I also recommend calling ahead to check before heading across town for lunch or dinner. With some 40,000 restaurants in Paris, there are still plenty of great dining options in August and you might as well take the opportunity to discover a new favorite place to eat.

As many of the stores, bars, and restaurants close in August, tons of hip, ephemeral spots open up and seasonal events get underway. Temporary rooftop bars and outdoor spaces spring up around the city, sand covers portions of the banks of the Seine and brings a beachy vibe to the capital with the beginning of Paris Plages, and multiple music festivals and open-air film screenings provide even more entertainment. Needless to say, you won’t get bored with all these fun outdoor options.

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