Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The exodus is about to begin. Paris only seems half a city during the summer months; even in early July the population seems to be elsewhere. The streets seem to be peopled only by tourists. Bastille Day will give the place a bit of a fillip this week but it will soon die down again and by the time the fourth of August comes along, all the vibrancy of the city will have been smothered.
I know people that prefer Paris in August; there's nobody around, very little traffic, the weather is not quite as stifling as it is in early summer. But I miss the life, the weaving through traffic on my bike and being deafened by the squadron of unmuffled Vespas whining their way up rue du Faubourg St-Antoine on either side of me.
To compound all this, many of the internationals I know have left or are in the process of leaving. There is nothing unusual in this as an expat, I have left before myself (and my friend Jonathan, a more seasoned expat, but who has since left, only to be returning again next month, said at the time that "another backpacker bites the dust"). Then there are others that are on holiday. Sometimes very long holidays. And when you are stuck in the city, this half of a city, for those six dead weeks until the end of August and the return of all the stress, the madness and the Parisians, you feel like you are a security guard on an exceptionally boring night shift. Thank God I will get away for a week next month, to destinations further south, where the locals probably complain in much the same way as I do now.