Paris in August
Paris gets quiet in August, when, in a stroke of brilliance, France gives itself the month off. While many restaurants and boutiques shut down for vacances—some for the entire months, others for a week or so to give their staff a break—there’s something nice about visiting during this quiet spell. And best of all, some of our favorite places do stay open. Our Paris-in-August guide has become a goop tradition for this reason. Below, a roundup of our tried-and-true Paris spots, plus a bunch of new-to-us restaurants, bars, and shops whose doors will be open this August. (Of course, the department stores, big-name boutiques—Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.—museums, and hotels, like the reopened Ritz, will be fully functional, too.) Rule of thumb: Bars and restaurants belonging to hotels are always a safe bet this time of year.
Le Bar31 Avenue George V, 8th | +188.8.131.52.70.06
Opulent to the max, Le Bar at the George V is one of our favorite places to tuck into a martini: It’s pricey, but it has atmosphere in spades, along with a well-heeled crowd. It's one of these places that feel like time just stops...or maybe it's just the wine.
La Boîte à Frissons13 Rue au Maire, 3rd | +184.108.40.206.17.78
Inarguably one of the best places to dance in Paris, this aptly named joint (the Thrill Box, en anglais)—tucked away in an alley in the corner of the Marais—offers tango classes until 1 a.m., at which point it morphs into an all-out gay disco.
L’Oiseau Blanc19 Avenue Kléber, 16th | +220.127.116.11.67.30
Gracing the rooftop of one of the Peninsula hotels, L'Oiseau Blanc (the White Bird) is named for a French plane that crashed over the Atlantic in 1927 during a transatlantic flight attempt. The restaurant's décor pays homage to the pilots, complete with a small-scale replica of the biplane that looks like it's flying off the terrace. Even if you're not a history buff, you'll appreciate the sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower and the excellent service.
Hôtel Costes239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st | +18.104.22.168.50.00
With a now-iconic interior that's dripping in red velvet, Hôtel Costes is one of those spots that has perfected its aesthetic—which, of course, extends to the music. It can get dark and smoky inside, so head out to the enclosed terrace (you can still hear whatever the DJ is spinning inside), which is equally great for either an afternoon glass of wine or an after-dinner cocktail. Plus, the people-watching is always fabulous.
Point Éphémère200 Quai de Valmy, 10th | +22.214.171.124.02.48
Besides hosting concerts, art exhibitions, and live performances, this ex-storage space turned squat cultural institution on the Canal Saint-Martin is also home to one of the area's best bars. On busy days, the local art and hipster crowd spills out onto the banks of the canal with beers and affordable cocktails from noon until...whenever.
The Terrace at the Hôtel Amour8 Rue de Navarin, 9th | +126.96.36.199.31.80
Located close to what was once Paris's red-light district, Hôtel Amour takes a deep bow to the neighborhood's tawdry past. Conceived by nightlife visionary André Saraiva (the force behind Le Baron), the black lacquered bar, brasserie, and outdoor terrace are as scene-y as you can get in Paris. Whether for a boozy Saturday brunch or dinner and drinks, the best seats in the house are outdoors, in the leafy courtyard dotted with vintage ’50s cafeteria tables. The brasserie is open late, and you can linger on for hours until it's time to hit the bar or a nightclub in nearby Pigalle.
La Rotonde6-8 Place de la Bataille, 6th | +188.8.131.52.33.40
This restaurant, bar, and nightclub—in an iconic rotunda built by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, the father of Neoclassical architecture—is also smack in the middle of one of the main hipster drags in Paris. Young Parisians flock here for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch under the cupola and drinks all day in the verdant and colorful terrace garden right on the Place Stalingrad. This summer, there are also different pop-in food experiences and a gallery of contemporary art exhibitions. When it gets late, you can always head back indoors to the Mini Club for some French disco.
Rosa BonheurParc des Buttes Chaumont, 2 Allée de la Cascade, 19th | +33.1.42.00.00.45
This spot is named for the nineteenth-century painter Rosa Bonheur, the first woman to become an officer of the Legion of Honour, whose paintings of horses and cows grace the walls of the Louvre and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. While Bonheur used the then-wilds of the Bois de Boulogne to find animals to paint, this Rosa Bonheur is situated in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a beautiful garden in the 19th. The emphasis here is on day-drinking, really, though it gets overly packed as the night wears on. It serves great appetizers, plus it's laid-back, unpretentious, and kid-friendly. Should you stay past 10 p.m., expect to follow the crowd onto the dance floor.
Wanderlust32 Quai d'Austerlitz, 13th | +184.108.40.206.41.74
Situated on the quay of the recently rehabbed Docks en Seine—also home to Paris's fashion institute—Wanderlust is a bit more than just a club/bar/restaurant. Though a small part of the enterprise lives indoors, it primarily resides on the sprawling outdoor terrace which overlooks the Seine. Exposed pipes, neon lights, live music (DJs, generally), and a stylish crowd are all hallmarks of this much-buzzed-about destination.
Au Petit Fer à Cheval30 Rue Vieille du Temple, 4th | +220.127.116.11.47.47
Still sporting its original décor from 1903, the horseshoe-shaped bar beckons for a coffee, a kir (white wine and crème de cassis), or a quick meal. While there's a full restaurant in the back, it lacks the prime people-watching you'll get up front.
Carmen34 Rue Duperré, 9th | +18.104.22.168.50.00
A wildly ornate bas-relief ceiling—moodily lit by Versailles-worthy chandeliers—is actually not the first indication that this isn't your average bar (that would be the gigantic birdcage at the entrance). Occupying the former mansion of composer Georges Bizet (hence the name, Carmen), this Pigalle club gets particularly busy around fashion week, when any number of designers host their after-parties here. While DJs play until 4 a.m. on weekends, the space hosts more-civilized affairs, too: For example, the literary magazine A Tale of Three Cities uses it to hold a monthly book club.
Le Verre Volé67 Rue de Lancry, 10th | +33.1.48.03.17.34
Part wine shop, part bistro, Le Verre Volé draws a reliably large crowd despite its tiny footprint (you'll want to make a reservation unless you're just stopping in to pick up a bottle). There's a wine shop in the 11th (38 rue Oberkampf) as well as a sandwich shop (54 rue de la Folie Méricourt).
Candelaria52 Rue de Saintonge, 3rd | +22.214.171.124.41.28
This is Paris's version of La Esquina, complete with a doorman to hold back the crowds. Up front, you'll find a teeny-tiny tacqueria, with fresh tortillas and a roster of toppings, whipped up under the watchful eye of the Mexico City–born chef. There's a hidden door in the back that opens into a cozy bar, which offers some of the more inventive (and delicious) tequila cocktails in the city.
Le Pigalle9 Rue Frochot, 9th | +126.96.36.199.37.14
Located in the up-and-coming Pigalle neighborhood, Paris’s old red-light district, this hotel offers an all-day café/bar that’s comfily kitted out in overstuffed couches and elegantly mismatched vintage finds, not to mention a dance pole—a clever reference to its roots. With a tapas-style menu and generous cocktails, it’s easy to while the evening away here until the jukebox turns on or the local DJ starts spinning.
Le Perchoir14 Rue Crespin du Gast, 11th | +33.01.48.06.18.48
The young team behind this growing concept came up with the genius idea of opening bars in disused spaces all over Paris—on rooftops, at the old Pavillon at the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and on a houseboat parked on the Seine. The newest locale, right on top of the Gare de l’Est might just be their greatest conquest to date: In addition to an incredible view and the trademark cocktails, you'll find snacks by souped-up kebab joint Grillé.
Dirty Dick10 Rue Frochot, 9th
The name and the pinup poster in the entryway hint at this Pigalle bar’s seedier past as a brothel, but take a closer look and you’ll find yourself in a full-fledged tiki bar, overflowing with pseudo-Polynesian flair. If the excellent rum-based drinks and retro vibe aren’t really your thing, then the other, perfectly balanced proprietary cocktails and extensive beer collection should keep you happy.
Bar Hemingway15 Place Vendôme, 1st | +188.8.131.52.33.74
This moody, leather-accented bar is famous for being an old haunt of so many Paris creatives—in addition to Hemingway himself, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Gary Cooper were all regulars. Legend has it that Marcel Proust ordered a cold beer from here on his deathbed. Today, the watering hole maintains its reputation with a world-class bar program by Colin Peter Field, who's a celebrity in his own right at this point. You're in great hands with Fields no matter your order, but do keep in mind that all the drinks err on the stiff side (just as Hemingway would have wanted it).
Hoxton Hotel Bar30-32 rue du Sentier, 2ème | +184.108.40.206.75.00
Rivié, one of the two bars in the Hoxton, has a wonderful brasserie, a lovely outdoor garden, and scattered here and there, relaxing little nooks with armchairs and nice lighting. But never mind-skip all that. Head straight for the bar. The bar bar. Settle into the velvet barstool, order a glass of Billecart-Salmon (a rosé champagne) or, depending on your day, a dirty martini. The staff is friendly, the vibe is chill, and as evening slips into night, remember only two very important words: truffle fries.