Tourism: Affected by the Weather, Traders are Suffering but Looking to the Future

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Paris traders affected by the bad weather

BUSINESS: Record rains for a month are sinking tourist consumption in Paris

  • For nearly a month, capricious weather has been beating down on Paris as on the entire northern part of the country, somewhat spoiling the holidays of the many tourists in the capital.
  • This situation that does not help the business of traders who are suffering despite the high tourist numbers this summer. If the tourists are present, they are not encouraged to stroll and consume by the rain and the grey sky which harass Paris.
  • Fortunately, there are grounds for hope with sunshine set to return in the middle of next week and the Rugby World Cup in early September which could help traders make up for a difficult summer.

“Our friends will think we came in February!” ” If Mark and Denise, two Americans on vacation in Paris with their two little girls, still manage to laugh about it, they cannot hide a hint of disappointment: “The city is very beautiful, but it’s difficult to enjoy it background with this weather. Under a light show, they only last a few minutes in front of the Sacré-Coeur basilica before resuming their walk, towards the Opéra Garnier.

Like them, many of them do not linger in the district, because of the black clouds which overhang the capital this Thursday evening, as often for a month. A must, but stealthy as evidenced by the almost empty terraces of the Montmartre district.

Tourists visit without stopping

“Normally, tourists stroll or stop for a drink, explains Brice Moyse, president of the Lepic-Abbesses merchants association, but with the rain, there is a real change, they take a guide, visit, but leave immediately afterwards. »

This district, very dependent on tourism, has suffered from the weather like the whole northern part of France since the beginning of July. “Many of the shops, which are in the adjacent streets, make a living from these walks off the beaten track. But there… Even the pancake stand on the Place des Abbesses told me that it had put away its ice cream machine”, insists Brice Moyse.

Like Montmartre, it is all the merchants of the capital who suffer from the capricious sky according to Franck Delvau, president of the Union of trades and industries of the hotel industry of Île -de-France (Umih): “Some haven’t even set up their summer terrace as they don’t “work”. With such weather, people don’t want to eat outside. »

Attendance yet at the top

A sentence for catering professionals, especially since the attendance figures in the capital are good, even excellent. According to the Paris tourist office, the number of tourists in July was 10.6% higher than in 2022. Data confirmed by Umih: “The hotel occupancy rate is 80 %, explains Franck Delvau, but with this weather, tourists do not consume. »

Hugo, a server in the restaurant l’Abstinence, rue de la Motte-Piquet (15th arrondissement) a stone’s throw from the Champ-de-Mars, confirms: “In normal times, tourists represent 40% of our clientele. In July, it was more like 15 to 20%. “Several shopkeepers interviewed recount an impression of “empty streets” faced with the absence of tourists combined with that of Parisians on vacation.

Fortunately, Paris remains Paris and all is not as black as the sky of the last days. Sylvie, employed in a “tour” company in Paris confirms that tourists are present: “We are asked more for sheltered activities than usual. Museums, covered buses, amusement parks, etc. But tourists have booked their stay and are not going to cancel it, so they refer to museums for example. »

Solid foundations

Contacted, several museums in the city confirm the influx of visitors. The Louvre, for example, is full until mid-August: “Tourists have been numerous since Easter, and this summer, attendance is excellent. “Same story on the side of the monuments.

“Rain or blue sky, the Eiffel Tower remains unmissable, confides to us the manager of the restaurant Le Dôme, located rue Saint-Dominique (7th arrondissement) a few tens of meters from the Champ de Mars. A situation that ensures him a certain attendance. She even claims to prefer this situation to a heat wave: “When it’s too hot, people go to museums, air-conditioned department stores or stay in the shade in parks. At 40 degrees, they desert the terraces even more. »

Sun, back to school and World Cup: Reasons for hope

Émilien, a waiter in a café in the Saint-Michel district, also remains positive: “The terrace is not always full as it should be. But people want it, it shows. As soon as a ray of sunshine breaks through, in a few minutes the crowds return. It’s just that they don’t stay long. A reason for hope, especially as the weather should improve from the middle of next week.

All traders scan the sky carefully to “recover”. “As with the Covid-19, we never make up for what is lost. But we are counting on the shortage to see customers come back,” explains Brice Moyse, who hopes for two or three good weeks at the end of August and the beginning of September.

Better still, traders are impatiently awaiting the Rugby World Cup. Émilien, still at Saint-Michel: “The supporters traditionally consume a lot. With a bit of luck, we could fill a good part of the hole we’ve known for a month. And then the Parisians will come back from vacation, it’s always a time when they find colleagues, friends. Time to go to a restaurant or have a drink to tell each other about the holidays. »

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