A stay in Paris in August has many advantages, not least a reasonable certainty of good weather. Paris is also noticeably less crowded, shops and restaurants are open on the whole, and there is certainly plenty happening on the cultural front. From finding outdoor restaurants, to exhibitions, to sunning yourself on the beach, here are a few ideas:
1. Enjoy Paris and its culinary delights by dining outdoors. One of our favourite foodie websites, Paris by Mouth, has produced a guide to ‘outdoor dining’. The choice ranges from Casual Favourites to Posh and Beautiful, to Extraordinary Settings for enjoying Exceptional Views (such as Monsieur Bleu below).
2. Visit the Musée d’art Moderne de la ville de Paris, conveniently located near the Champs Elysées, which is currently hosting a stunning exhibition of the works of French painter, Albert Marquet (1875 – 1947). With over one hundred paintings and drawings, visitors can witness the artist’s evolvement throughout his long career. Marquet was influenced by the current art movements of his time, from Post Impressionism to Fauvism, but also retained his individualistic approach to his work. A longtime friend of Matisse, he spent his life travelling between the shores of the Mediterranean and the banks of the Seine, his works demonstrating his favourite and recurring themes of light, landscape and changing reflections of sky and water.
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116
Métro: Alma/Marceau or Iéna
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm. Late opening Thursday until 10 pm. Until 21 August.
3. A little further afield, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is worth a visit to see the fascinating selection of works by eleven Chinese artists, which have been held back from the very successful “BENTU, Chinese artists in a time of turbulence and transformation” exhibition which finished in May. The current exhibition starts with ‘Tree’ by Ai Weiwei, and includes the ‘Head of Buddha’ by Zhang Huan, as well as monumental works combining Eastern and Western references, and a Pop Art sculpture of a goddess from the Buddhist pantheon by Xu Zhen. There are also animated videos by Cao Fei, among other striking pieces.
Fondation Louis Vuitton, 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16
Métro: Les Sablons.
Open daily 12pm to 7pm, Fridays until 11pm, weekends 11am to 8pm, closed Tuesdays. Until 5 September.
4. For a total contrast, the Grand Halle of La Villette is hosting a James Bond 007exhibition until 4th September. Even if you are not a total Bond aficionado, you cannot fail to be impressed by this collection of 50 years of Bond Style, with more than 500 original objects, and examples of the Bond influence on art, music, lifestyle, automotive design, travel, technology and fashion. The items include an Aston Martin, suits, gadgets, photos and costumes… and even the gold Spectre ring!
Grande Halle de La Villette, Parc de la Villette – 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019
Métro: Porte de Pantin
Until 4 September
5. A wander through the Tuilieries Gardens, dropping by the current exhibition at the Jeu de Paume, Joana Hadjithomas et Khalil Joreige : Se souvenir de la lumière. A thought-provoking exhibition this is about ‘remembering the light’, a reminder of the resolve we have as human beings to just keep going despite external events. Lebanese film-makers and artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige interweave thematic, conceptual and formal links through photographs, video installations, fictional films and documentaries. Self-taught, in the wake of the Lebanese civil wars, their very personal work is entirely based on their various encounters with people, and the exploration of the realm of the visible and absent, leading to a fascinating back-and-forth between life and fiction.
1 place de la Concorde, Paris 8e
Midday – 9 pm Tues, Midday – 7pm Wed – Fri, 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Until 13th September.
6. The Centre Pompidou is hosting a vast exhibition devoted to the culture of the Beat Generation, with principals Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg providing material for an understanding of this literary and artistic movement of the 1950’s. Before the cultural and sexual liberation of the 1960’s, the Beats were seen as subversive rebels in a McCarthyite America. This exhibition traces their nomadic crusade with stories from New York to Paris, and places in between, through music, films, photographs and literature.
Place Georges-Pompidou, Paris 4e
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m, except Tuesday (closed). Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Until 3rd October.
Métro: Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville or Châtelet
7. Go to the Beach! Open every summer since 2002, the ‘Paris Plages’ is a free summer event that transforms several locations along the Seine into full-fledged beaches, each with a distinct theme. Furnished with deckchairs for sunbathing, and offering a variety of activities including kayaking, or swimming in pools suspended over the Seine, or relaxing in the evening at a free concert, Paris Plages offers activities for everyone, and especially ideal if you are visiting Paris with children.
The 2016 beaches will be open daily between July 18th to August 21st, from 9:00 a.m. to midnight. This summer, Paris Plages have three main locations:
Plage 1 is on the right bank of the Seine right in central Paris, and stretches from the Pont Neuf to the Pont de Sully near the Hotel de Ville.
Plage 2 is a sandy beach along the stretch of the right bank known as the Voie Georges Pompidou.
Plage 3 stetches along the picturesque canal, the “Bassin de la Villette” (near metro Jaures/Stalingrad), in northeastern Paris).
Where to Stay?
We still have good availability for many August dates … for example, if you are just a couple,you might like to look at our charming new Rue de Grenelle Studio apartment in St Germain
or our stunning two bedroom apartment, Palais Royal 2, overlooking the Palais Royal gardens.
Or for a larger family, our beautiful three bedroom apartment near La Madeleine.