August….Attack!

And I mean that in the best possible way.

It may be against conventional wisdom, but August is an awesome time to be in Paris. Not if you’re visiting tourist sites and hanging around central areas, mind you. That – with the crowds and general hubbub – is pretty hellacious, in my opinion.

You know what else sounds hellacious? Getting into one of these contraptions then spinning around on the water! I'm getting motion sick just thinking about it!

No, I’m talking August of the resident who stays, the neighborhood lounging, the slower pace. The city is emptying out, many places close for the long vacation.

I love being left behind. The city starts to feel more mine.

I just got home from the hammam (Turkish bath). There was practically no one there. I sauntered from sauna to steam room to the pool and had it all to myself. So relaxing!

Afterward, I strolled down to the Canal de L’Ourcq to see what this year’s Paris Plages looked like. Again, not the beach along the Seine, the main artery of Paris Plages. The outpost in the 19th is more subdued – and more my speed.

It was just after 8 PM, gorgeous night. Light still in the sky, warm temperatures (finally!) with a nice breeze. In terms of number of people, it looked like just the normal scene at Canal de L’Ourcq – groups picnicking and playing petanque. The pastel umbrellas, lawn chairs and cafe stands just made it more festive.

There’s a lot scheduled in summer – outdoor movies, music festivals in parks. Until a few days ago this all seemed far-fetched as the towering rain and cold kept us all indoors.

Now (never speak too soon!) there might be a chance to take advantage.

But here’s the other thing about August. I love working this month. (I know, I’m strange.) There’s something about getting stuff done when everyone else is on vacation – or at least taking it easy. I feel as if I’m getting away with something.

And so, first day of August and I’ve already sent out a new short story into the world. I’ve also put down stakes on a few other projects. I’m ready to go on a positive attack. I may not go to many summer city events. I might stay sequestered inside while the sun shines outside. But I figure, use the energy while it’s there. Take the head start before September’s frenzied rentree period begins.

Wow, I sure hope I can keep up steam. It is only day 1.

Any big plans for August?

Pret a Voyager has a good round-up of Paris summer fun here. You know, should you actually want to go out and enjoy!

Kids chilling canal-side

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17 Responses to “August….Attack!”


  1. 1 Barbara Hall August 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Sion,
    Happy August and a good start to your “attack.” I like your characterization of the work energy you are experiencing. Here in Sonoma we have a thriving pétanque club (where I am an avid player), and it’s always fun to hear a mention of the game.
    Barbara

    • 2 paris (im)perfect August 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Oh cool! I’ve never actually played petanque, but it’s such a picturesque visual of life in France for me. Didn’t realize it’s a game played world-wide! Happy August to you. Bet the sun is shining bright in Sonoma.

  2. 3 Lisa | LLWorldTour August 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Nice! When I stayed with Herbert, I ran around that canal (I think! Are there others?) and was happy to know about it! I liked that area too – seemed low key and real. Enjoy August!!
    xx

  3. 5 aidan August 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    i think they’ve all come down here.
    i would love to a) go to a hammam and b) see the paris plages for myself.
    biz,
    aidan

  4. 7 Lee Isbell August 2, 2011 at 12:24 am

    How timely you define hammam. I was reading Bonjour Paris’ description of some small Paris hotels yesterday and a hamman was listed in several as a perk. Self was wondering what the heck is that?

    I also love the off-season in my little town. I’m on a main road into Yosemite and the crowds come through in summers. Not so much in winter. Some of our local residents even flee to warmer climes. Those of us who stay here love the slower pace, the lesser crowds, the laid back atmosphere. I don’t mind the summer crowds … they ensure that we have a grocery store in winter, too.

    • 8 paris (im)perfect August 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Oh wow. I’ve always wanted to visit Yosemite! Must be interesting living there year-round!

      That’s a good attitude about the crowds. I try not to complain about tourists, either – I just try to avoid the crowds if I can :)

  5. 9 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) August 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I love the pics, Sion! Paris Plages in the 19th is one of my favorite sites in Paris summer, too. I’m with you: Paris is really nice in August, as I found out last year during my “stay-cation”. I enjoyed it so much. But, I confess that this year, I am ready to take off. I have not been to North America in two years, nor out of Paris for 11 months, so I am ready to get out of the city for a while, and leave it even more peaceful for you. Do me a favor, though: go spend some time at the Rosa Bonheur for me and have a nice lemonade or something, eh? I have not taken the time to do that yet this summer, and I feel like I am missing out.

    Enjoy your August, Sion, and see you in the frenzy of the rentrée!

    Karin

    • 10 paris (im)perfect August 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Hey Karin. Oh, you definitely deserve a good vacation! Almost a year without leaving Paris could make one go batty! Have a great time in North America. Hope it’s exactly what you want and need!

  6. 11 Sweet Freak August 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I completely agree: summer is the best time to be in the city (Paris, or New York!), when everyone else flees to the countryside, opening up the sidewalks for strolling and al fresco dining. I love all the events and the generally lazier, more indulgent atmosphere that pervades.

  7. 12 Amy Kortuem August 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I love taking vacations at home, holing up with a good book or a project, avoiding the roads and the heat and the crowds. Granted, I’m in Minnesota farm land and NOT Paris, where a “staycation” sounds more like paradise!

    Congrats on your story leaving the nest, and good luck on your other projects. I’ve got a writing deadline (set by my new awesome writing trio) for August, too, so I’ll think of you working away while I’m doing the same.

    Always be sure to have fresh flowers on your desk…

  8. 13 Jennifer Flueckiger August 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I am loving August in Paris, too! The butcher, baker and corner store are all closed, but it’s making me venture a bit further afield and try something new! I also plan to get a lot of writing done in August. Hope it goes well for both of us! My heart does go out to the French in the country who are invaded by Parisians 

  9. 15 lupinssupins August 9, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Sion, your description of Paris in August sort of reminds me of my son’s description of why he almost didn’t mind when our school district was a hold out on snow days. [I tell him we had a lot more snow here in St. Louis "in my day," (whilst, of course, walking 5 miles to school, uphill both ways;-) & yet I went all thru school w/o them calling a single snow day.] He’d report that most parents would keep their kids home anyway [unlike his strict parents, who'd have none o' that], so the halls, normally like Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, “were so empty you could roller skate thru them.” And w/ only about 4 kids per class, the teachers would mostly just show movies, PBS or Discovery Channel. In the later grades, they’d be able to catch up on all their assignments, which no more being piled on.

    Glad you’re on a roll with the writing, but hope you can still get some time in the rare Parisian sun! Summer there this year sounds like the Seattle froideur that my cousins kept kvetching about. They found no sympathy from the Idaho desert dwellers, nor us in the tropical branch of the family, enduring our respective dry & muggy triple digit summers.

    • 16 paris (im)perfect August 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Hey, that sounds like a *great* time at school!

      Yeah, the weather’s just wonky, but it sounds like it is everywhere (climate change!) At least we all know – no one lives here for the weather :)


  1. 1 (Almost) Wordless Wednesday: (Non)-Summer in Paris « paris (im)perfect Trackback on August 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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