I’m going to preface this post by acknowledging that Paris in August often gets plenty of poor (unfair in my opinion) press! The city is too hot. The city is too crowded. Everything in Paris is closed. These are just a few complaints that many visitors and locals alike purportedly make about the French Capital during the High Summer.
However, if you give Paris a chance during the month of August, then you’ll soon discover that there’s still plenty of attractions and things to do that will make your time in the City of Light simply fly by. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best of Paris in August, including insider travel tips, attractions you’ll love, and event’s you can’t miss!
Does Paris really shut down during August?
Before we delve into the best of Paris during August, it’s important to talk a little bit about the most common misconception of the French capital city during the high summer. While it’s true that some of Paris does indeed shut down during August, this is typically smaller family-run businesses and restaurants. Visiting the city for yourself and you’ll soon discover that all of the major attractions and hotels are still open for business and operating as usual!
Paris weather in August
The average temperature for the month of August is from the late teens to the early twenties in Celsius, meaning generally great weather for exploring. While summer showers are always a possibility, August sees some of the most sun of all the year, meaning longer days for exploring.
It’s worth noting, however, that in the past few years, Paris, France, and Europe in general, have seen more and more instances of heatwaves. If there’s a heatwave during your Paris visit, then it’s important to be prepared- keep hydrated and wear cool clothing. I would also consider reserving a hotel that has air-conditioning as this amenity in Europe is not always a given, particularly in older B&Bs and hotels.
What to wear in Paris in August
There is simply one word for the month of August in the French capital: hot! As such, you’ll want to bring plenty of breathable and lightweight clothing, as well as sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of suncream! I personally love light cotton dresses like this one (I wear this one all the time)!
I personally love these sandals as they’re oh-so-comfy, they’re versatile (and will easily take you from day to night), and pretty stylish. In fact, I love them so much that I own them in several colours! Otherwise, these fashion trainers are the most comfortable I’ve ever owned and are much easier to navigate in cobblestones than stilettos!
Finally, Evenings can get a little cool so you may well want to also want to pack a pashmina or light cardigan/ jacket. I always bring a shawl as this can double up as a blanket for travel. If you want to enter any religious buildings, bear in mind that you might need to cover your shoulders and knees.
What to do in Paris in August
Listen to live music at the Festival Rock en Seine
In 2019, the Rock en Seine festival will take place from the 23rd – 25th of August. Held in the ever-so-pretty André le Nôtre designed gardens of Domaine National de Saint-Cloud to the West of Paris, this annual festival sees live performances across several days. Find more details here.
Enjoy the Paris Plages
Originally, the Paris Plages (Paris beaches) were held in just one location. Today, these pop-up sandy stretches can be found across several different locations in the city, including at Parc Villette and along both banks of the River Seine. If you’re looking to escape the heat and want to eat ice cream, be sure to frequent the Paris Plages!
Enjoy a movie outdoors
Thought that grand screenings were a thing of the past? Think again. In Paris, each summertime sees the free screening of plenty of movies, including cult classics and more modern films, the majority of which are shown in Parc de la Villette. Movies tend to be screened in their original language and so, even if you don’t speak French, you may well be able to see an English language film! Find more details here.
Escape the city for a day
For those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds (as well as the summer heat), there is perhaps no better way of doing this than taking a day trip from Paris. After all, unlike in the winter, everything is actually open, including many of the Grand Châteaux of the Loire Valley and the little towns to be found on the fringes of the French capital.
Explore Paris on foot
Thanks to an abundance of sun and long days, there’s perhaps no better time to enjoy the best that the city has to offer on your own two feet. Just be sure to bring along a bottle of water and some confy walking shoes. I also highly recommend bringing along your Here are my best free Paris walking tours.
Enjoy panoramic views of Paris from above
Come summertime, the best way to enjoy the ambience of summer Paris is from above. Thankfully, Paris boasts an abundance of rooftop bars and terraces from which you can enjoy the sunset or simply sip on a cocktail together with friends. Here’s my ultimate guide to the best of Paris rooftops.
Have a French picnic in the park
For those who are looking to enjoy Paris on a budget, soak up some sunshine, and simply enjoy a French-style lunch, be sure to have a picnic in the park! Head to one of the Parisian markets for picnic supplies (baguette, cheese, wine, and the like), and wander to one of the best picnic spots in Paris to enjoy your déjeuner en plein air…
Things to know before visiting Paris in August
You should know before visiting Paris that, while many of the larger attractions and monuments will remain open for the months of August, many smaller shops, boutique, and restaurants close up shop during this time. As a result, have a few options ready when it comes to mealtimes in case your first choice is closed!
Otherwise, while the city is fairly quiet in terms of residents, August is one of the most popular months for tourists, meaning many queues for the top Parisian attractions. Luckily, with a little bit of planning, you can avoid most of the queues by booking attractions in advance online with services like GetYourGuide. For example, book your Louvre tickets here, book your Arc de Triomphe tickets here, and book your Versailles tickets here.
Finally, if you truly want to make the most of your time in the city, then you’ll want to book a Paris hotel close to all of the main attractions and not too far away from the city centre. Check here for my accommodation guides to hotels in Montmartre, here for the best of Le Marais accommodation, and check here for places to stay in the Latin Quarter. Wherever you choose to stay, just be sure to book well in advance (check the best prices for all of Paris here) as the top accommodation fills up fast!