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.
L’Avant Comptoir3 Carrefour de l'Odeon, 6th | +22.214.171.124.07.97
Yves Camdeborde was so busy at his popular Left Bank restaurant, Le Comptoir, that he opted to accommodate the overflow by opening a tiny bar à vin next door. Though it’s standing room only, which is quite common in Paris, the delicious Béarnais-style small plates are worth tempting discomfort. We promise it’s a pleasant experience.
Le Camion Qui Fume+126.96.36.199.33.75
It was only a matter of time before the food truck craze struck Paris; after all, Parisians are already accustomed to street-side crepe vendors. Pioneered by a Californian, Le Camion Qui Fume revolves around burgers of every variety (including veggie and pork) and the corresponding frites. The French are huge fans, so be prepared to wait around forty minutes; the truck's roving location is posted to its website.
Le Bonbon au Palais19 Rue Monge, 5th | +188.8.131.52.15.72
Styled to look like a 1950s classroom, Georges Marques’s shop offers hundreds of candies sourced from all over France. It’s kind of an amazing way to take a geography lesson, really, particularly because Georges is happy to lead willing students on a tour of the country’s various candy-producing zones. Everything—from the candied fruits to pastilles to calissons to chocolate—is arranged in old-fashioned apothecary jars.
Monoprix71 Rue Saint-Antoine, 4th | +184.108.40.206.13.73
This is so much more than a grocery store: In fact, in true French fashion, it does simple clothing—streamlined totes, striped tees—really, really well. And at prices you’d expect from a supermarket. The baby selection is particularly sweet. Other locations: 9th Arrondissement, 6th Arrondissement, plus several others throughout the city.
Breizh Café109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd | +220.127.116.11.13.77
We like to take a detour here while shopping on rue Vieille du Temple. Though the buckwheat crepes are the main draw, there’s a small shop attached to the café that sells jams, ciders, and delicious cheeses.
Marché Avenue du Président WilsonAvenue du Président Wilson, 16th
Located between the 16th and 7th arrondisements, the quiet, well-mannered vibe of this market is well suited to its upscale clientele. (It’s a great option if you’re the kind of shopper who is easily overwhelmed by shouting vendors and pushy customers.) As for the wares, expect fresh bread, flowers, seafood, olives, spices, vegetables, cheese, fruit, and even prepared foods. Friends tell us that farmer Joël Thiébault (who owns a family-run vegetable operation just outside the city) is a standout for his unique, visually stunning heirlooms.
Marché BarbèsBoulevard de la Chapelle, 18th | +18.104.22.168.11
Marché Barbès is underneath a train trestle at the Barbès Metro station, and the rumble of the trains above only adds to the boisterous atmosphere of the place, which is always packed to the brim with shoppers rushing around and haggling with vendors. The goods here can be much less expensive than those in other markets around town, and while you probably won’t find a rare artisanal cheese, you can stock up on necessities for the week without breaking the bank. This neighborhood is also home to a lot of Paris’s immigrants, which means a much more diverse crowd and the added benefit of North and West African spices and peppers for sale. Photo credit: Eric Parker
La Cuisine Paris80 Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville, 4th | +22.214.171.124.78.18
Offering bilingual cooking classes, La Cuisine Paris teaches the basics of French cooking along with master classes in everything from macarons to poultry. If you're booking in August, make sure to ask whether they are taking Mondays off.
Marché d’AligreRue d'Aligre, 12th | +126.96.36.199.34.26
Occupying an old-world, village-like square, this market near the Bastille bustles with locals stocking up on their weekly groceries. When you need to catch your breath, head to Le Baron Rouge, a great wine bar just around the corner.
Marché Saxe-BreteuilAvenue de Saxe, 7th | +33.1.4511.7111
With the Eiffel Tower as a stunning backdrop, this market focuses on produce and fresh seafood. There are also stands for escargots, meat, eggs, and a smattering of home goods. Photo credit: Natalia Lopes
Marché RaspailBoulevard Raspail, between Rue du Cherche-Midi & Rue de Rennes, 6th | +33.6.0843.9023
With more than 150 stalls, this is one of the largest open-air markets in Europe, and one any food lover will not want to miss. Beyond fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, and cheese, there are plenty of vendors who sell premade meals, perfect for an impromptu picnic. It happens three times a week. Photo credit: Neil Conway
Marché MongePlace Monge, 5th | +188.8.131.52.93.30
Complete with cobblestone streets, a bubbling fountain, stands full of fresh flowers, and heaps of fresh bread, cheese, and charcuterie, Marché Monge is pretty much the quintessential Parisian market. Jardin des Plantes is only a few blocks away, so it's a great pit stop before an afternoon of picnicking.
Marché des Enfants Rouges39 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd | +184.108.40.206.20.40
At 400 years old, the Marais-based Marché des Enfants Rouges is worth browsing whether you're hungry or not (you can always stock up on fresh-cut flowers, ephemera, and larder-worthy oils and preserves). But bring an appetite—you'll find a seemingly endless sprawl of food vendors hawking everything from tagines to crepes to hearty sandwiches. Our pick: Chez Taeko's stand, which serves delicious, authentic Japanese fare.
Mariage Frères30 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 4th | +220.127.116.11.28.11
Enlisted by Louis XIV's court to explore the tea trade in the 1600s, Nicolas and Pierre Mariage sailed the globe in search of exotic offerings, passing the mantle down from generation to generation. In 1854, Henri and Edouard Mariage settled on land and launched a tea wholesale business in Paris, catering to the city's finest hotels and restaurants. They didn't open their doors to the public until the 1980s—and business has been brisk, to say the least, ever since. Outfitted with colonial furnishings from the original Mariage Frères office (oversize tea canisters, heavy cabinetry, wicker furniture, potted palms), the Marais outpost offers a literal world of teas—along with small eats and a smattering of home goods, like teapots and gorgeously scented candles (Darjeeling is our favorite). There are outposts all over the city.
La Crêperie du Comptoir St-Germain9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th | +18.104.22.168.07.97
Weather permitting, there’s nothing better than grabbing a crepe from a street vendor to eat while wandering through the Luxembourg Gardens—and chef Yves Camdeborde’s takeaway stand is the place to do it. If a more substantial meal is in order, his celebrated brasserie, Le Comptoir du Relais Saint-Germain, is right next door.
Sébastien Gaudard22 Rue des Martyrs, 9th | +33.01.71.18.24.70
Both the original in the 9th and the new Tea Room are the kinds of Parisian pastry shops you might dream of, with pretty tiled floors, powder-blue walls, old-world display cases, and dainty packaging. Both spots are great for stocking up on everything from molded chocolates to macarons, as well as traditional sweets, jams, and marmalades to take home as gifts—you’ll also want to grab a cream-filled pastry for the ride.
Angelina226 Rue de Rivoli, 1st Arrondissement | +33.142.608.200
Paris is one of those special cities that enthusiastically clings on to the more traditional, elegant remnants of the past—Angelina is an embodiment of this (delightful) policy. A classic tearoom that first opened in 1903, the over-the-top Belle Epoque interiors create the ambiance for a truly decadent hour (or two) of sweet indulgence. The sculptural cakes and classic patisserie that line the glass cases are the perfect accompaniment to the main event: Angelina's world-renowned hot chocolate. Choosing from the extensive chocolat chaud menu is no easy feat—we recommend the African hot chocolate, made from a blend of cocoa from Niger, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast whipped into hot milk and cream for the smoothest, slightly sweet, slightly bitter cup. Aside from sweet treats, Angelina serves up well-executed classic French dishes like croque-madame and quiche Lorraine but really it's the chocolate—and the people-watching—that makes this Paris institution a favorite with locals and tourists alike.
Maisie Café32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 1st | +33140.399.916
Maisie Café brings a taste of LA juice culture to Paris. The brainchild of former luxury exec turned wellness enthusiast Isabella Capece, Maisie Café has an all-vegan, organic menu that reflects the more health-conscious direction many new Parisian spots are heading in. Breakfast is light, with acai bowls, matcha granola, juices, and shakes, while lunch is pure West Coast in the sense that most of the dishes are bowl-based: brown rice or soba noodles topped with the freshest veggies, nuts, and seeds. The fashion pack who hit Paris for the shows are big fans of Maisie's cures—hot and cold soups, elixirs, and broths for every ailment, all available for delivery. If you do choose to sit in, the interior feels like a balmy escape to Miami with tropical-print walls and pastel seating.
Les Deux Magots6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 7th | +33.145.485.525
Café culture is one of the many institutions that make Paris such a pleasure to visit. An hour spent sitting outside with a café au lait and a croissant watching the Parisians pass by is time well spent. Les Deux Magots in the heart of Saint-Germain has been one of the preferred literary and creative spots forever, with regulars including Picasso and Hemingway. The menu touches the greatest hits; the croque-madame is especially good, but honestly, a coffee or—hell, you’re on vacation—a glass of champagne outside under the canopy is the way to go.
Stohrer51 Rue Montorgueil, 2nd | +22.214.171.124.38.20
First, a disclaimer: Stohrer is closed the first two weeks of August, however, that last hot-as-soup fortnight is ripe for sugar-loading. Proof that treat trends are pretty consistent, the shop was founded in 1730 as the official pâtissier for Louis XV. The same cream-stuffed éclairs, delicate crème Anglaise tarts studded with berries, and rose macarons have been devoured by the French for the last 300 years. The bakery is theatrically beautiful, with glass-paneled walls (giving patrons near 360-degree views of all the sweets), chandeliers, and a full frescoed ceiling—an especially delightful experience for little ones.
À la Mère de Famille35 Rue du Faubourg, 9th | +126.96.36.199.83.69
The exterior of À la Mère de Famille—an emerald-green storefront with more windows than walls—looks like a jewelry box, or rather, a chocolate box; you can see the cakes and chocolates and towers of beautifully packaged bars from down the block. Open since 1761, one of the many pleasures of this particular confectioner is the breadth of old-world caramels, nougat, boiled sweets, and marshmallows. And nothing much has changed inside, either. Taking in the old tile floor, the floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with preserves and syrups, and the elaborate table displays as you make your way to the ice cream counter (go for the chocolate) is an exercise in both nostalgic pleasure and calorie control.