The sound of summer in Paris

When I lived in Paris, people would come visit in the summer and tell me that the city was crowded, impossible to manage with all these people every where. And I remember thinking: “Absolutely not! Listen to that! The city is empty, or, at least, running low on people.”

It is because during the summers, all Parisians, or a great number of them, go away on vacations. The streets are much more deserted and calm than during the busy months of the winter. And the sound of the town changes.

First, it is not as loud. The big ones, like the busses, are on minimum services and their roar doesn’t punctuate the rumor on such a frequent basis. Second, even if there are some road work and such being done, it is muffled by the heat, something almost sleepy in the way the hammer strikes, the saw cuts. And third, the diversity of the sounds is not as great. The catalog displayed is much more sparse. Babies are asleep in their strollers. When the temperature climbs really high, people stay indoors, something the cold doesn’t do because people are forced to work, no matter the conditions in the winter (very rarely does Paris shuts down because of a snow storm).

I didn’t really enjoy the lack of sounds in the summer. I agreed with my step father: a silent city is very disturbing.

Chicago has that, a bit. But there are so many trees and so many parks that the sound of people is replaced by the ones of birds and squirrels frolicking about, the rustling of the trees.