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Summer in Paris is a lot of fun. There is always so much going on and so much to see and explore! Here are ten of my favorite things to do in Paris in the summer.
1. Spend the day at the Fête des Tuileries
The elegant Tuileries Garden close by the Louvre turns into a giant outdoor carnival every July and August. There are rides, games, and of course delicious treats like sweet crêpes and cotton candy!
Don’t miss the giant Ferris Wheel or the swings that take you for a ride high above the Parisian rooftops. Entry to the carnival is free, and you pay by individual attraction.
For more information on the Fête des Tuileries, click here.
2. Go to the beach!
Every summer, long stretches of the Seine transform into a sandy beach lined with beach chairs and umbrellas for the Paris Plages. There’s no better way to spend a day than lounging in the sun along the beach or taking advantage of one of the free exercise or dance classes offered.
There are even private cabanas for changing into your swimsuit, and three enormous swimming pools in one of the canals. Click here for more information about the Paris Plages.
3. Picnic on the canal
Starting in the late afternoon and well into the night, the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris are crowded with groups of friends hanging out, eating, and drinking along the water.
Pack yourself a picnic and stake out a spot under the leafy green trees lining the Canal Saint-Martin for a guaranteed lovely afternoon or evening!
4. Lounge at Luxembourg Garden
Luxembourg Garden in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is by far my favorite park in Paris. Something about it is so chic, yet laid-back at the same time. Grab a spot in one of the famous green chairs and enjoy some people-watching in the park. Or stop at one of the nearby English-language bookstores like San Francisco Book Company or Berkeley Books and bring a book with you to read at the park!
5. Watch a movie en plein air
Every summer, the Cinema en Plein Air festival comes to the Parc de la Villette in Paris. Admission is free, and blankets are available to rent for 7 euros. Movies start at nightfall, but get there early to secure a good spot!
There are many English-language movies shown every summer at the festival – click here for details.
6. Go for a bike ride
Paris has an awesome bike rental program called Velib’. You will find Velib’ stations all around the city and you can pick up a bike and go for just 1 euro per half hour you use the bike.
When you’re done, just return it to any Velib’ station. (There are over 1,200 in the city.)
The Culture Trip has a great list of cycling routes in Paris.
7. Explore a Parisian park
Some of the most famous Parisian parks are the Jardin du Luxembourg (my personal favorite) and the Jardin des Tuileries. However, these parks can get packed in the summer.
For a park more popular with the locals, head to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement. This sprawling park is less formal than the more popular Parisian parks and is the perfect place to spend a relaxing summer day. Don’t forget to pack a picnic!
8. Shop les soldes
Every summer, giant signs announcing “SOLDES” fill the windows of nearly every store in Paris. The semi-annual soldes (sales) are the best time to go shopping in Paris. The sales usually start in late June and go into late July.
For the steepest discounts, go shopping towards the end of the sale period. You can easily find clothes, shoes, and handbags for 60-70% off retail price.
9. Watch the sunset at a rooftop bar
What better way to finish off a summer day in Paris than relaxing at a rooftop bar as the sun sets and the lights of the city come on? Trendy rooftop bars pop up in Paris all the time. Here are a few of the best:
- Le Georges (at the Centre Pompidou)
- Le Perchoir (chic spot in Le Marais)
- Le Zyriab (at the Institut du Monde Arabe)
- La Terrasse (at the Galeries Lafayette)
10. Celebrate Bastille Day
July 14th is Bastille Day, the French national day. There is no better place to spend the day than in Paris, where festivities occur all day long. Don’t miss the grand military parade on the Champs-Elysées in the morning, or the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower once it gets dark!
Looking for other Paris posts? Here are some of my favorites!
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Paris
- Top 10 Best Day Trips from Paris
- 12 Things to Do in Paris When It Rains
- 10 Most Common Tourist Scams in Paris and How to Avoid Them
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