HiP Paris Blog tells the story of la rentrée when everyone is back from the summer holidays and Paris cafe terraces are jam-packed once again.
Julien Hausherr

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful city called Paris. Paris was the fairest city in the land. Her buildings were the grandest, her citizens were the chicest, and her parks were the most symmetrical. Her people loved her. Even tourists adored her, seduced by her beauty and baguettes. Some tried to emulate her in both style and manner, but some just admired her from a discreet emotional distance, knowing that their Crocs and cargo shorts rendered them Other.

Paris in summer is quiet and it's possible to have its corners to yourself, like these two people reading quietly on the banks of the River Seine.
Viktor Kiryanov

Paris worked hard to for her citoyens. Through the long cold winter, she provided cozy cafés and scintillating museum exhibits, warm concert halls and lively bars. Her chocolat chaud caused some to forget their wet shoes and her steak frites soothed weary souls.. Les fumeurs and the Vitamin-D deprived were the bravest, huddling at tiny sidewalk tables with thimble-sized coffee cups, seeking open air and sunshine. She rewarded them with periodic watery rays of light, and they adored her for it.

Parisian summers are all about its quiet streets, meaning you can have its terraces and squares all to yourself.
Julien Hausherr

In the spring, she let the sun remain a little longer each day, and Parisians rushed to meet it. They threw themselves on the grass in parks, removing their clothing as much as common decency would allow. More tables appeared in front of cafés, and were quickly filled by non-smokers and dogs. Rosé, strawberries, and peas graced the tables.

HiP Paris Blog tells the story of la rentree, when Parisians return to the city after summers of aperitifs of hams and wine (left). Paris is quietest in the summer and it's possible to have the city to yourself (right).

A bowl of ripe hand-picked strawberries on a table.
Top: John Canelis / Robin Benzrihem. Bottom: Hans Vivek

Summertime came, and Paris pulled out all the stops. Schools closed, children disappeared to grand-mère’s, and the remaining adults celebrated long into the night with Gay Pride, la Fête de la Musique, Bastille Day, and many, many World Cup celebrations. Parisians were drunk on sunlight and pastis, sleeping little and partying much.

HiP Paris Blog tells the story of la rentrée, before which Paris summer is all about outdoor events like Bastille Day and Gay Pride.
Pierre Herman

Even when this year’s ever-present, strikes grew tiresome, Paris indifferently claimed, If you don’t love me with my strikes, you don’t deserve me with my macarons. And even when the lines at the construction-clogged Eiffel Tower stretched around the block, Paris tossed her hair and dared tourists not to come. They came.

It was too much. It was too long.

A colorful display of French macarons at a bakery counter.
Wes Hicks

One day in late July, Paris grew sleepy. The soldes were winding down; it hadn’t rained in weeks. No one had slept enough in months. The long, hot days and short nights had taken their toll. She briefly wondered, is that all there is? Then murmured get out to her people and quickly fell into a deep sleep. Many of her people did as she said, fleeing to the south, where they worked on their tasteful tans (nothing as extreme as their leathery neighbors; more of a sun-kissed bronze) or à la campagne, where they lounged under trees, sipped even more rosé, and ate sturdy bread with crushed tomatoes and olive oil.

Before everyone is back in the city after the summer holidays, Paris empties, leaving you to enjoy the quiet streets of Montmartre like this lone man walking towards the Sacré Coeur (left). A bike with a basket parked on a cobblestone square in Montmartre (right).

A delicious French saucisson and camembert baguette sandwich is perfect for a Paris summer picnic.
Top: Giuseppe Mondi / John Towner. Bottom: Jez Timms

Some Parisians chose to remain and uphold the dignity and elegance of Paris as she snoozed, and they cycled through the silent streets, a crusty tradition or a Jack Russell terrier in their basket. They visited out-of-the-way museums, free from crowds. They pique-niqued at Paris Plage and went to music and film festivals. They shopped at different bakeries and butchers and markets, because their usual ones were closed. They sipped even more rosé on rooftops and terraces and explored new restaurants. They found themselves in an uncrowded, secret Paris known only to locals (as long as they avoided the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees, where Crocs and cargo shorts still reigned supreme).

HiP Paris Blog tells the story of la rentrée, the time before everyone is back from the summer holidays, and the streets are empty of people, like outside this university with a guard standing outside.
Robin Benzrihem

Near the end of August, Paris awoke, refreshed and renewed. She thought of the coming autumn: crisp navy blue school uniforms, exquisitely complicated scarf knots, trim suits with bindingly white shirts and no tie. She thought of golden leaves, cool breezes, chilly walks along the Seine and vin chaud. She thought of posters in the metro hallways advertising new events to come.

HiP Paris Blog tells the story of la rentrée before Parisians return from the summer holidays, which is when the city is at its quietest, including this Montmartre neighborhood.
John Towner

Paris stretched. It was time to get back to work, and she was ready. Some people need springtime to feel reborn, but Paris just needs La Rentrée.

A blue bowl filled with red juicy strawberries, the perfect snack for summer in Paris (left). The Arc de Triomphe in Paris (right).
Anna Ogiienko / Anthony Intraversato

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Written by Yvonne Shao for HiP Paris. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, Tuscany, Umbria or Liguria? Check out our trusted partner Haven In.


Yvonne Hazelton

Yvonne is an American writer living in Paris. She blogs at Escaping the Empty Nest.


  1. Thank you Yvonne for a wonderful ‘fairy tale’ that reminds those of us living in Paris of what we have on our doorstep, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Your romantic, yet crystal clear, and true words are reminiscent of Hemingway’s ‘Moveable Feast’. As a Parisian long timer, I’m sometimes guilty of succumbing to the ‘Metro, Boulot, Dodo’ syndrome but your article makes me want to toss my hair, (like Paris), and get back out there. Thanks again for the inspiration! The spectacular photos, as a backdrop to your descriptions of Paris, metamorphose your tale into a film that could be seen again and again. .. Patricia Killeen

  2. Bravo Yvonne,
    What a wonderful fairy tale!
    Your discerning eye and romantic, but crystal clear pen, reminds us people living in Paris what we have, winter, spring, summer and fall and helps us shake off our ‘rentrée’ blues. Keep the magic coming! Your article brings to mind ‘A Moveable Feast’ which also always rekindles my love of Paris, when I’m worn out and in the humdrum of ‘metro, boulot, dodo’. I also loved the spectacular choice of photos of our city of adoption, the city so sure of her beauty she could, in your words ‘toss her hair and dare tourists not to come’.
    Patricia Killeen Paris

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