“The mood in August is entirely different than the rest of the year. Given over to the mercy of happy, badly dressed tourists, the city becomes gentler, freer, less imperious. Kids from the suburbs, somehow kept at bay by the Parisians for the rest of the year, feel permitted to spill over onto her elegant streets on August nights; the footbridges are alive with bad bongo players, amateur jugglers and other unabashedly uncool samples of French youth [lol]. Those Parisians who do stay behind in August revel in the luxe calme et volupté of the slacking city, and the place becomes more erotically charged than ever. I recently learnt of the existence of August brothels. Open Monday to Friday from 1 to 21 August, they cater specifically to husbands whose wives and children have left for the country or seaside. These husbands stay and work in Paris in the week and then take the train to join their families on Friday nights. To even things out, the Friday-night trains are called Les Trains des Cocus (the cuckolds’ trains), packed as they are with men whose wives have been having it away all week with their children’s tennis instructors.”
I'm reading Lucy Wadham's The Secret Life of France, which I found up at Daunt Books in London. It's alternately making me feel relieved that, it's not just me, but there are many French practices and rituals that are foreign and mysterious to me and this is just the way it and they are, and it's freaking me out.
They are gross generalizations, of course, but quite valid, coming from a smart woman who has lived in France for 25 years. I'm reading it as a replacement to Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong in terms of a cultural immersion. What do you think about those August brothels??