August is upon us here in Paris. A majority of the residents have fled for the coast, the mountains, or the countryside.
Parisians who still remain–healthcare workers and those in hospitality–ask my wife and I where we’re going for vacation. When we reply that we’re staying in Paris, they look at us as if we had horns growing out of our heads.
What they can’t comprehend is that each August for the past 5 years, we get Paris to ourselves. A few tourists wander the streets, to be sure, but the majority of the city is eerily but delightfully vacant.
Waiters and baristas have time to chat. Chefs take a moment and make up a side dish for regulars to sample and comment on.
Hoteliers take a moment on the sidewalk to pause, letting their thoughts drift with the cigarette smoke as they exhale, appreciating the momentary lull.
Expat physicians who opt to take their vacations in October or December have office visits available. Usually, it’s 3 weeks to a month wait for a non-emergency appointment.
Good luck getting a haircut. I desperately need one, but I think my darling Cecile has already flown the coup for her family home in Normandy. Come September, I may be mistaken for a character straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie.
Our foreign correspondent David has been generously provided news and views from around the globe. His findings include the following…
Dress codes for lawmakers, or the lack thereof, are quickly becoming a bone of contention here in France. Shocking for a country that prides itself on elegance and decorum. You can read all about that HERE.
The fabulous Hotel Lambert, a private residence of serious cultural and historical significance here in the city, has a new owner. Its important furnishings will be auctioned off as the most recent owner, a middle Eastern prince, departs, and a just plain rich guy moves in. Read all about it HERE.
Lifestyle creep, that evil tendency to spend more as you make more, seems to be always with us. Luckily, if we remain vigilant, we can keep it at arm’s length and save more. You can read about that HERE.
The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!…and the Scottish are staying put in their castles. Just a couple of the interesting topics covered in this 1 hour documentary, which follows the journalists at Tatler who track these sorts of things. Curl up with a beverage and snacks and watch it HERE.
David also took this incredible photograph from Capetown, just to make us all jealous. Lovely sunset.
So, thank you, David. I hope everyone is staying well and safe. Until next time…
11 thoughts on “A Few Updates from Paris and Elsewhere”
Good morning Mr.Tully,
Just a quick note to express how much I appreciate your books and blog. I have purchased your original book for both of my sons who are in college. We are not old money by birth but I’d like to think we are by practice.
Paris in August sounds great to me! We live in Newport, RI and September is our blissful quiet time. (I have to say I also love the busy tourist season. It’s festive!)
I’m sorry to hear about the Hotel Lambert. I have never been to France, but I believe strongly in historic preservation. (We are actually quite serious about historic preservation here in Newport.) It always saddens me to hear of the rash disposal of culturally significant pieces.
Thank you again for being a silk scarf among all the polyester.
Thank you so much for the gorgeous photo, David! It brightened my day.
And thanks to both of you for the links and to Byron for the update — I’ll have lots of reading material and food for thought this weekend. “Eerily but delightfully vacant” is my favorite way to enjoy any city!
Hope everyone is well and safe and having a lovely summer. Mine’s been busy — sorry I’ve been so scarce.
Every time I click on the link to the story about the elegance of the French, I get the Hotel Lambert story . . . . When I click on the link for the Lambert story, I get the Hotel Lambert story. Am I missing something? Thanks!
Thanks for the update and the interesting links, Byron! I hope everyone is doing well and staying cool.
The lifestyle creep article reminds me of another concept I was reading about on a financial independence/retire early blog: instead of allowing for “lifestyle inflation,” the author suggested intentional “lifestyle stagnation” to allow for a greater savings rate, deliberate frugality, and the creation of a lifestyle that is comfortable and enjoyable, but steadily maintained instead of constantly upgraded. I thought it sounded like a nice addition to the Old Money dictionary. Would love to hear how other readers are implementing this idea.
Those same blogs would advocate to prolong the student lifestyle (the budget, if not also the prep style) for a few years post graduation, and I’d agree with that. There’s a certain benefit to not constantly trading up, chasing the latest fashionable status signals, and “OMG!! You’ve GOT to have this” fads.
I’ve been fond of 2nd hand bookstores, which around here tend to spot vastly better selection of science fiction, espionage novels, and classics from a variety of European countries, and 2nd hand furniture stores full of discounted real wood furniture disposed of by people upgrading to the latest IKEA analog at retail prices 😉
In general, what helps is, as an acquaintance quipped, to “develop your interests, don’t spend for status, do work you are intrinsically motivated by, work on long-shot high upside projects” — I might also add, ” and save half”
Enjoy your Sunday!
Thanks for your reply, Johannes! Your first point reminds me of the “we just decided to stay preppy…” cartoon from The New Yorker, which I know has been cited here before. I’m pleased to hear about your strategies for lifestyle stagnation – they’re some of my favorites, too! Standing in solidarity with you, watching the consumer carousel go ’round and ’round from the sidelines…
Parisians who still remain ask my wife and me where we’re going for vacation. Not “my wife and I”. Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Amy, I hear people use “myself” rather than the correct “me” so often in the last few years, and I am unable to focus on anything else that is said!
For example: “Who is attending?” “Richard, Julia, and myself”
or “Myself and the team will have a meeting.”
I think it is a misguided attempt to sound impressive.
Elle, I think that people know that “me and him went to the store” is incorrect and “he and I went to the store” is correct, so they try to always use “I” or “myself” instead of “me” even when “me” is correct. I don’t think they’re trying to sound impressive, I think they’re trying to be correct, and they assume “my wife and I” is always right and “my wife and me” is always wrong.
Agreed that the use of ‘myself’ in those instances is an attempt to sound impressive or elevated. Imagine at the end of a lecture, hearing the prof say, “If you have any questions, please see myself.”
My husband and I love to do this as well. We often plan our trips, outings, and other fun things specifically when it will be sparsely frequented. The “off days.” As you’ve put it, we love having “the place to ourselves!” Enjoy your quiet Paris.