Paris in the Summer: The Perfect Season to Explore the City of Light.
Summer in Paris is a lot of fun. There is always so much going on and so much to see and explore!
The summer is a busy time to visit Paris, and the city streets get filled with people enjoying the weather. You’ll see cafe tables taking over the sidewalks and flowers in the parks and gardens in full bloom.
Yes, the warm weather makes it perfect for you to explore the various Paris neighborhoods, visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, or any of the several attractions the city has to offer. But to really enjoy the Paris Summer, you should take a break from the crowds and tourist attractions and experience the city itself.
In the Summer, Paris comes alive with outdoor activities, festivals, culture, and beauty. Based on the time I spent in Paris, I created this list of the most fun things to do in Paris in the Summer.
Best things to do in Paris in the Summer
Here are ten of my favorite things to do in Paris in the summer:
1. Spend the day at the Fête des Tuileries
During the summer in Paris, the elegant Tuileries Garden near the Louvre Museum turns into a giant outdoor carnival. Every July and August, you can enjoy 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 from July to August, long stretches of the Seine transform into a sandy beach lined with chairs and umbrellas for the Paris Plages (Paris Beaches), an event organized by the city.
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.
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
There’s nothing that screams summertime louder than an open-air cinema! Every summer in Paris, the Cinema en Plein Air festival comes to the Parc de la Villette.
Admission is free, and you can rent a blanket or chair if you’d like. Movies start at nightfall but get there early to secure a good spot! And if you don’t speak French, don’t worry—they do show many English-language movies at the festival.
6. Go for a bike ride
Paris has an awesome bike rental program called Vélib’ Métropole. You will find Vélib’ stations all around the city, and you can pick up a regular bike or an electric bike.
You can rent a bike for a single 45-minute ride, 24 hours or buy a 3-day pass. When you’re done, just return it to any Velib’ station.
Riding a bike is one of the most fun activities in Paris in the summer. The Culture Trip has a great list of cycling routes in Paris.
🚲 If you don’t feel comfortable biking around the city on your own, book this Paris bike tour with over 2,000 reviews and a 4.9 rating.
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. Just don’t forget to pack a picnic and a stylish sun hat!
8. Get your shopping on during les soldes
Start saving now because summer is sale time! Every summer in Paris, giant signs announcing “SOLDES” (sales) fill the windows of nearly every store.
The semi-annual soldes 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, a 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 and one of the biggest celebrations in the country. 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!
How is Paris in the summer?
Whether you’re exploring the sights and attractions or just soaking up the city’s vibe and atmosphere, summer is the perfect time to discover all that Paris has to offer.
Here’s what to expect in Paris in the summer:
Sunny weather: Paris weather is usually a bit of a dread with gray skies and frequent rain. But the sun comes out during the summer months so you can enjoy outdoor activities. There’s so much to see and do that you won’t want to go inside!
Summer festivals and events: Summer is the peak festival season in Paris and you’ll see events popping up all over the city. Bastille Day is the biggest but Paris Jazz Festival and Paris Plages are also popular. But one of my favorites is the Fête de la Musique (Day of Music), which promotes free concerts all over Paris.
Longer days: Starting with the summer solstice falls in June, you can enjoy longer days in Paris. This means you have a lot more time to explore the city before it gets dark.
More people, lighter crowds: While Paris is popular among tourists in the summer, many locals go on vacation during the month of August. So you’ll see more tourists out and about but places like the Louvre Museum and Notre Dame might have shorter lines.
Outdoor dining: In the summer, many Paris cafés and restaurants offer outdoor seating. And there’s nothing like sitting outside a Parisian cafe to grab a bite and people-watch on the Champs-Élysées!
Summer in Paris: Where to Next?
And there you have it: my top 10 things to do in Paris during the summer!
From laid-back outdoor activities like picnicking in the park to watching a movie en plein air to splurging on a new outfit during les soldes, I think the summer is a truly magical time to be in Paris.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find myself a croissant and relive my memories of Paris in the summer!
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Looking for other Paris posts? Here are some of my favorites!
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- 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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