No family house in Bretagne? No plans for a few weeks on the Cote d’Azur? Well, if like a filthy peasant you don’t have any plans to escape Paris for the August dead season, you might be forgiven for thinking the city is deserted. After all, restaurants shutter their windows and stores close their doors for literally weeks at a time. It’s tough. But there is hope -- here are a few of the better places to eat/cooler things to do...
Where to eat and what to do during the Paris dead season
While there are plenty of restaurants that are open in August, you don’t just want to go to any restaurant now do you? Here are seven that won’t disappoint, and have absolutely no Summer closures.
If you happen to be dragging along visitors to the Eiffel Tower, you’ll need somewhere to eat that isn’t just serving bad crepes. Head to Thoumieux, where Jean-François Piège does brasserie-style food but with a twist, and you’ll be sure to get a seasonal menu. Plus the Art Deco decor is always a hit.
It’s Summer, shouldn’t you be drinking margaritas and eating tacos? Why yes, yes you should, and fortunately, Candelaria has no Summer closure so you can do just that.
Just want wine and a huge planche of charcuterie? Then find yourself a spot at the standing-room-only wine bar L’Avant Comptoir. Small plates are the specialty here, which is good, because snacking on a few things while you drink wine is pretty much the perfect Summer meal.
It’s Summer. You should be brunching. And nothing says “brunch” more than a plate of eggs. As the name would have you believe, that’s the specialty at Eggs & Co. and you’re more than welcome to brunch on other days besides Sunday. You’ll just have to put up with going to tourist hub Saint-Germain to eat them.
Since the city is empty, why not take advantage and do a picnic on Canal Saint-Martin? All you have to do is swing by Le Verre Volé and grab a bottle to go, which fortunately you can do all Summer long thanks to their Summer hours. You can also stay for dinner, as well, and be sure to get seasonal fare.
Summer calls for lighter dishes, and if it’s noodles you’re after, then head to Le Petit Cambodge. Here it’s all about the bun bo, which you can get in a variety of forms. Good for when you need a breather from French food.
Since everyone is out of town, maybe it’s time to start hitting up all those hard-to-get-into restaurants you always say you’re going to go to. Chateaubriand is definitely on that list, and it’s time to stop feeling bad that everyone else has been and you haven’t. Now is the time to go and check out Iñaki Aizpitarte’s distinct menu. You can try to snag a reservation for the first service, or you can just show up at 9:30pm for the first-come, first-served.
Go to an outdoor film at La Villette
Starting July 23rd, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, you can go and catch a film outdoors at Parc de la Villete. Best part? It’s free. Unless of course you want to rent a lounge chair; or you could just be smart and bring your own. Pack a picnic and a few bottles of rosé while you’re at it. The film screenings go through August 24th. You can get the full schedule here.
Go to an outdoor film at Wanderlust 13th arrondissement
Between now and the beginning of September, every Monday, Wanderlust is hosting Summer Comedy Club, a chance to check out cult classics on the big screen, outdoors. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Napoleon Dynamite, The Big Lebowski, and more.
Go to the beach
Days: Every day
We know, we know, every self-respecting Parisian is going to tell you not to go to Paris-Plages, but then again, they’re on a beach right now and you’re not. Go to Paris-Plages and get a dose of Summer, even if it is in the middle of the city. Because come on, there’s beach volleyball and even a music festival. How bad can a fake beach be? It's all happening between July 19th and August 17th, and here’s a map that shows you where everything is.
Voie Pompidou and Bassin de la Villette
Days: Every day
As part of Paris-Plages, there’s plenty of sand to play pétanque on. Six pétanque courts have been set up on Voie Pompidou, and there are eight up at Bassin de la Villette. Bring your own bottle of pastis, however. See, don’t you feel like you’re in the South now?
Days: Every day
Head up to Canal de l’Ourcq and rent a boat, on which you can picnic, drink bubbles, or just lie in the sun. You can rent the electric boats -- which don’t require a permit to operate -- by the hour or for the full day. And if you’re lazy and can’t get around to preparing your own food and drink, you can snag the apero picnic basket for only 7€.
Go to the end of the RER
Days: Every day
As part of a campaign called Enlarge Your Paris (read that a couple of times before you read it correctly), check out parts of Paris that aren’t in the city center. Until August 17th, anyone with a Navigo pass can ride to any zone on the RER without an extra fee, and there’s plenty to explore outside of the city, from surfing to outdoor theatre.
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1. Thoumieux79 rue Saint-Dominique, Paris
2. Candelaria52 Rue de Saintonge, Paris
3. L'Avant Comptoir3 carrefour de l'Odéon, Paris
4. Eggs & Co.11 rue Bernard Palissy, Paris
5. Le Verre Volé67 Rue de Lancry, Paris
6. Le Petit Cambodge20 rue Alibert, Paris
7. Le Chateaubriand129 Aven Parmentier, Paris
8. Parc de la Villette211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris
9. Wanderlust32 Quai d'Austerlitz, Paris
Located near the Eiffel Tower, this Jean-François Piège resto does brasserie-style food and the menu is always seasonal.
Candelaria, in the 3rd arrondissement, is a practically 24hr taqueria that's got all the Mexican goodness you could want, plus a brunch menu and a ton of cocktails, including more than a few filled with tequila. The coolest part of Candelaria is the spot's well-hidden second half: behind an unmarked white door by the kitchen you'll find a DJ spinning alongside the bar that's now considered among the top four cocktail bars in the world according to Tales of the Cocktail.
Located in the 6th arrondissement, this spot is a solid option for a large selection of wine and huge plates of charcuterie.
Nothing says “brunch” more than a plate of eggs, and as the name would have you believe, that’s the specialty at this Saint-Germain breakfast/brunch spot.
It might not be the biggest resto/wine bar, but it's cozy and is great for dinner and a glass of vino (or just snag a bottle to go!).
If it’s noodles you’re after, then head to this 10th arrondissement Cambodian/Asian resto where it's all about the bun bo, which you can get in a variety of forms.
Head to the 11th to check out Le Chateaubriand, which is serving up a distinctive French menu put together by famed Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte.
Located on the edge of the 19th arrondissement, Parc de la Villette is one of the largest parks in the city and it contains the largest science museum in Europe, as well as three large concert venues.