EUROPE: The Naked and the Med

ALL of Paris seemed to be en vacances, and the city belonged to the tourists; Rome was closed down for ferragósto, Italy's best-loved annual holiday; Bonn seemed a smaller town in Germany than ever. Where had all the Europeans gone? They had taken to the roads and beaches, turning the Riviera into an ever more delirious nightmare of traffic jams and suntan oil.

August, in short, is Europe's most grueling month, when by custom almost everyone on the Continent goes on vacation at the same time. If official estimates are to be believed,...

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