You know it’s August when you find yourself walking down a deserted street in your normally bustling neighbourhood. Shops, offices and apartments are shuttered tight. You know it’s August when you walk a quarter of a mile in search of a boulangerie that’s open. And when you swear that you’re the only person in your entire apartment building. There is an upside to this – it’s quiet.
Example – I’ve been trying to mail a letter for a week now. The café-tabac on my corner, where I usually buy stamps, is closed for the entire month and my local post office has reduced its hours to “August hours” which are completely incompatible with my work schedule. So yesterday I walked to the post office at La Défense where there were no tellers but 4 long queues at the automated machines. I joined a queue only to find that the machine doesn’t accept a 10 euro note, so I had to walk away, stampless.
Well, let’s see. My concièrge is in Morocco and my neighbour is in Dinard, Brittany. My Lille friends are in Jordan and other friends are touring the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. Another friend is also in Brittany (a wonderful summer destination). An office colleague was in France’s Basque country (Biarritz, Bayonne). One of my bosses is in Spain, the other in Holland. And I’m here because I took a week’s vacation in July (London) and will be taking another 10 days starting this weekend. Like every year, I’ll be attending the annual giant flea market (La Grande Braderie) in Lille.