There are two kinds of people in France: Juilletistes and Aoûtiens. Juilletistes are people who take their big summer vacation in July (juillet,) and Aoûtiens are those who go away during August (août.) My friend Frédéric was the first person to ask me which party I belonged to, and when I couldn’t answer, he laughed. “You freelancers! You’re either always on vacation, or always at work… Centrist!”
Declaring your tribal affiliation is not as insignificant as it might at first seem, for Juilletistes and Aoûtiens have completely different values, and preconceptions about both groups run deep. Juilletistes are thought to be idlers because they take off when many of their colleagues are still at work, returning when offices are empty and expectations of productivity are low. (Juilletistes, naturally, think they are smarter for vacationing when everything is cheaper and less crowded.) Aoûtiens are considered unoriginal; they go on holiday when everyone else does, get stuck in traffic and then spend most of their vacation in a competitive land grab for smaller and smaller parcels of beach. (Aoûtiens are quick to point out, however, that they are still tan when La Rentrée comes around.)
All of this to say that as far as Paris goes, it is a city dominated by aoûtiens. In August, things slow to a crawl: good boulangeries direct patrons to the neighboring less good juilletiste ones, restaurants shutter, events dwindle, and the city loses a bit of its twinkling energy. At the same time, the slower pace has its own allure, a way of shining up the familiar and turning it into a fresh discovery. Almost overnight, café terrasses open up and you find a seat in the ideal spot for people-watching. You learn that the “less good” boulangerie actually makes decent chouquettes, and that La Villette’s Cinéma en Plein Air is the perfect setting for a sunset picnic. You also have some opinions validated: Le Montana is as annoying in August as it is the other eleven months of the year. This is simply universal.
While some yoga studios will be closed in August, many will remain open, albeit with abbreviated schedules. You can definitely practice in Paris! You will just have to check timetables online and by phone. Below are some ideas to help you sustain your yoga during the August slowdown.
• From 6 August through 2 September, Centre Anjaliom has three evening Iyengar yoga classes, as well as two weekend ones.
• Laurence and Fabrice are at the helm at Trini Yoga in August with a schedule of classes that includes 10€ Prana Flow classes with Laurence who has a cool, new site!