Paris has been on vacation and offers no apologies for it. Starting in July, but more commonly in August, the city’s permanent residents empty out. Shops and restaurants close for consecutive weeks at a time. Little handwritten notes appear in the windows letting customers know the dates of closure and when the shop will open again. As frustrating as this can be, it’s also charming.
The city transforms to a different place. It’s easy to get around, the sidewalks, roadways and metros are less populated. It’s almost like you can take a deep breath and think (possible on the days without sweltering heat). It’s easy to find a great table at an open cafe – the selection is abundant!
On the other hand, my local Sunday market has become unexciting. The regular vendors have taken the month off and in their place rickety-rack vendors pedaling citrus peelers, jewelry creations, nightgowns and socks. It’s like a late-night cable shopping show took over. I miss my pistachio, herb/vegetable and brilliant flower sellers. These people have become my friends…well, I am still working on the herb guy. He is unimpressed with my French.
It’s ironic to an extent because this time of year local fruits and vegetables are abundant and delicious. I have recently discovered Reine Claude plums as well as teeny-tiny Mirabelles that look like yellow grapes.
I have renewed my passion for watermelon and manage to have a flavor-packed slice every time. I believe this is my location, France, but I also believe this is my Grama, Bernice Staudinger St. Clair. We enjoyed a good watermelon together. She is looking out for me.
The quiet lull of Paris will change come September, it’s called la rentrée. Parisians emerge from their holiday with bronzed skins and delightfully relaxed demeanors. Schools start up, businesses re-open and the post office (la poste) decides it’s time to deliver mail.
The happy mood abruptly ends in mid-September as my friend, Mimi @belleinspirationparis, mentioned the other day. In the middle of the month tax bills are sent out and Parisians get quite serious (re: moody) again.
I happen to be looking forward to la rentrée. September is always a start of a “new year” for me. A time to refresh and re-prioritize. I will have a tremendous amount of travel and visitors to Paris in September and I will be in in the final stretch of my sabbatical. I do worry the year will close out faster than I would like, how does time pass so quickly?
Great things are on the horizon…just wait.