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is this august or have I died and gone to hell?

beach antibes august

August is the month where everyone flocks to holiday on the glamorous French Riviera.   Who can blame them?  It’s oppressively hot.  It’s crowded.   Huge vicious mosquitoes are on the prowl and basically an air of rudeness permeates the entire Cote d’Azur.

For example, as I was waiting for an appointment in Juan Les Pins the other day, instead of French muzak, I heard honking horns.   Continually.   I’m not saying the horns were worse than the muzak, mind you, but it it was insistent, repetitive and brain piercing — more like really bad techno (is that redundant?).

Virginie, the assistant told me it happens every August when the people on vacation invade.   She said that it’s just non-stop honking in August.   Even in the middle of the night.  She wondered why they would become more impatient while on holiday “relaxing.”

A lot of people blame the Parisians (the only French people who don’t hate Parisians are Parisians) but the truth is, I’m not sure who to blame for this sorry state of affairs, I’d like to blame Americans, but in all honesty, I can’t.   There just aren’t enough of them in Antibes.   To hate Americans I’d have to go to Cannes or Monaco.    Perish the thought.

Recently, a friend who lives in Paris complained about how the entire city shuts down in August.  So maybe it is the Parisians.  I mean, you’d have to be from a major city to think that lying greased up and semi-naked on a small patch of beach crushed up amongst other people lying on a small patch of beach is vacation material (now that I think about it, it sounds more like the beginning of a porn flick or some harrowing Heironymous Bosch painting).   I insist on a clear two mile person-free zone when I’m wearing a bathing suit.   Three miles, when the visibility is particularly good.

Hell-Bosch

Getting around the rest of the year is a breeze but in August it’s unbearable.   The roads become like rush hour in California all day long (which pretty much is rush hour in California, come to think of it).   Additionally, the trains are ALWAYS late in August.  I assume it’s because they’re waiting for a group of sweaty, luggage-laden tourists to drag their asses aboard the train.    The stations are hot, muggy and packed with confused people of various nationalities lugging three times their bulk (and getting in MY way).  They are usually wearing too little and their skin is covered in large red oozing welts.  While my rational self assumes it must be mosquito bites, my paranoid, germaphobic self fears it’s something highly contagious.   Maybe that’s why the Asians are all wearing masks.

Here’s some advice if you happen to be here during the month of August: Don’t take public transportation.  Don’t drive.   Don’t go outside.  Bring a gun to protect yourself against the mosquitoes.

If you must go to the beach for a little sun, go after 9:00PM (21:00).

And if you’re considering a trip to the Riviera next August, I don’t recommend it.   Unless you’d like to rent my apartment.   I’ll be in Paris.

2 Responses

  1. Found the same phenomenon in Arcachon on the Atlantic Coast. Who knew there was the religious holiday in France ( and we all know how religious the French are) in the middle of the week called Assumption Day. We decided to visit the huge dunes on the coast when all of Bordeaux fled to the beach- just because Mary made it to heaven. A traffic jam befitting Laguna Beach in August. Mon Dieu.

    St Louise

    • Hi Louise,
      Rumor has it, France is on the verge of designating yet another public holiday. This time to honor St. Louise’s epic assumption to the sand dunes.

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