August is when many Parisians head to the family coastal or country home, but in a way Paris feels like a resort itself, because it has a lovely, lazy, slow calmness to it. There’s the heat, too, of course (Cole Porter was surely thinking about August when he penned the lyrics ‘I love Paris when it sizzles…’), which can be so intense all day long (and well into evening) that you need to have a heat-resistant strategy if you’re planning an August Parisian holiday.
Take a hat and sunscreen, for one. And a water bottle, which you should regularly fill from one of the Wallace Fountains that are dotted around town. And for when you need to rest your hot and bothered feet, and treat yourself to a refreshment of a more delicious kind, have the following ideas in mind …
Ice-Cream on Île Saint-Louis
Berthillon is legendary in Paris for its flavour-saturated ice-creams and sorbets. Its tea room closes down for the month of August, but many other outlets on Berthillon’s home island of Île Saint-Louis sell a wide selection of its exquisite flavours, which run the gamut from whimsical to classic. Highly recommend: Fraise des Bois. Enjoy while meandering along the sun-dappled quays of this pretty and peaceful island.
Garden Drinks at the Ritz
Nestled within this legend of a hotel is a quiet fairytale-like garden that often feels like it’s yours alone. The Grand Jardin is the perfect place for late-afternoon drinks; take a seat in an ivy-woven trellis alcove, by the box trees and velvety lawn, and treat yourself to a flower-infused cocktail or mocktail.
In recent years, the banks of the Seine have become a dynamic bar scene, meaning long walks by the water can be nicely fuelled as you go. One of the best is Les Maquereaux, where you can sit on the plane-tree-shaded terrace or in the barge itself, cooling yourself with oysters washed down with crisp rosé.
Another popular river bar is at OFF Paris Seine, the city’s first floating hotel, down by the Gare d’Austerlitz. Open from 5.30pm, the bar offers a wide range of drinks as well as tapas options, and if you need further chilling out, well you can always take a dip in the lap pool.
Tea and Tranquility
La Grande Mosquée de Paris offers a calming and cooling respite in the Parisian heat. Amble around the exotically tiled gardens, inhaling the bouquet of floral aromas …
… then head around to its gorgeous tea room, and sip a reviving glass of sweetened mint tea in the shade of the fig trees.
A Long Leafy Lunch
The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the most charming gardens in town, especially in summer as its shaded nooks offer a variety of leisurely options, such as reading by the Medici Fountain, or watching locals play pétanque. If you’re here in the middle of the day, head to the pretty chalet that houses the restaurant La Terrasse de Madame, ask for a table beneath the canopy of chestnut trees, and settle yourself in for a lovely long lunch; start with a spritz or virgin mojito, then choose from summer-friendly dishes of salads and platters, and enjoy with a side-serving of wonderful people-watching.