Going on a summer holiday?

Holidays. For those of us who unfortunately haven’t (yet) managed to find ourselves a career we feel passionate about, they are often the thing that keeps us going. No sooner have we arrived back from one holiday, we find ourselves already looking forward to the next. A few weeks ago, TheRationalOptimist explored the various pros and cons of using your valuable annual leave days for short vs long holidays. Today, my attention turns to timing…

As we speak, Paris is basically deserted. With the exception of the main tourist areas, which are still buzzing along as usual, most streets are almost completely devoid of life. Last weekend I wanted to buy a gift in my local area. No luck. All of the shops were shut. This morning I wanted to buy myself some breakfast at the bakery near my work. Nope. Closed. Even though it’s mere 700m from the Arc de Triomphe. In other words, relatively central.

Summer holiday

Why is this? Because the whole city shuts down in August as Parisians by their thousands make a bee-line for the coast. Or the mountains. Anywhere but Paris. The office also becomes a shell of its former self. I am the only person left in my area where 10 people would usually sit. People often spend 3-4 weeks away, using up the majority of their annual leave allowance. I get the concept in some ways, especially if you have kids (as August is school holiday time). But…

Paris is beautiful in summer. Riding to work is a joy in the heat and sunshine. There’s hardly anybody at the office meaning you can get stuck into that list of jobs you’ve been meaning to do for ages. And when you get home you still have hours of daylight to enjoy before heading off to bed. It’s the most enjoyable time of year to be at work.

Meanwhile, elsewhere… holiday resorts across Europe are crowded and prices are exorbitant. That tranquil beach holiday suddenly became slightly frustrating when you couldn’t even find a patch of beach big enough to lay your towel down!

By contrast, winter in Paris is cold and miserable. Daylight hasn’t yet started by the time you get up to go to work and is well and truly over by the time you get home. What better time to take a holiday? There is always the obvious option of skiing to break up the monotony of winter or heading closer to the equator to soak up some sun. Or why not take a trip to the other hemisphere where temperatures are almost guaranteed to be more pleasant?

As far as Paris is concerned right now, “We’re all going on a summer holiday” couldn’t be more accurate. But not me. I’m enjoying the Parisian summer and planning to take my vacation when the climate is less agreeable and the lack of sunshine I’m getting in my day is driving me towards a state of abject misery.

How about you? Are you all about the summer holiday? Or do you prefer to take off at a different time of year?


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