August is a funny month in Paris. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either the best or the worst month to be here.
Those who hate it point to the city heat (which, at a mere 80 degrees, isn’t THAT oppressive) and the thousands upon thousands of tourists that flock to the world’s most visited city as two very good reasons to get out. The exodus of Parisians hits its peak the last weekend of July (or first of August, depending on how the dates fall) when, on Black Saturday, traffic grinds to a halt over hundreds of miles of roads around the region.
Those who like it enjoy the peacefulness of the city thanks precisely to the mass departures of its regular inhabitants. As no self-respecting Parisian would be anywhere near the Eiffel Tower or the Champs-Élysées, the tourists can be generally avoided.
For those who choose to stay, there is one very real downside though: the wave of annual shop closures.
August is, wherever they choose to take it, the month in which the vast majority of French people, merchants especially, take their summer vacation. Lasting at least two weeks, and sometimes four, they shutter their stores and abandon their stalls in the market. Invariably, our favorite bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and—you guessed it—fromagers take a well-deserved rest, leaving us, their clients a little disappointed and in search of alternatives.
My fromagerie, Libert, closed before I had a chance to visit it after I started cheese blogging. After kicking myself for my poor planning, I set myself in search of alternatives. This is Paris. There must be a cheese store that’s open.