But as my brother and I kept each other up to date on our progress, I quickly realised how much busier they were than us: exhibitions, plays, bars and new restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If Paris was half asleep, then a finally-sunny London was absolutely wired.
“I have been living in Paris for more than six years now, but as a Londoner I always find the way the city pauses in August slightly unnerving,” agrees writer Hannah Meltzer, who thinks that a similar exodus could never happen across the Channel.
“For me, London is a city that is about activity, both social and economic, and I just don’t think it would make sense to put the buzz of it all on pause for a few weeks. We Londoners wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.”
Parisians, however, wouldn’t have it any other way. “There’s nothing better than going on holiday when your own city is shut down,” says local restaurant critic Christina Meyer. “You’re never missing out on anything because nothing is going on, so you can properly relax and stop checking your emails. You know how in Covid you could watch a film on a Friday night without worrying you were being boring? It’s like that, but for a whole month.”