Paris might not be the first place you think of if you’re looking for somewhere to bask in the summer sun, but the city of love does have numerous opportunities for al fresco fun even though it’s nowhere near a beach. Whether you’re an active globetrotter, a coffee loving people watcher, or looking for family fun in the sun, Paris has something to please every kind of traveler. Here’s our Top Things to do in Paris this Summer.
Enjoy the parks and gardens
There’s nothing quite like lounging in a park on a summers day, picnic spread out in front of you and fresh air filling your lungs. Paris has a dozens of parks where you can do this but Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a popular choice with both locals and tourists as it has a lake and rocky island that makes for a great view. Alternatively head to Jardin des Plantes, the main botanical garden in Paris which also has a zoo to keep both kids and adults amused for an entire day.
Hire a Vespa
If you fancy a spot of shopping and want to go wizzing round the city in the sunshine, hire a Vespa from Left Bank Scooters to do it in style. You can also go on a Vespa tour with this company if you want to see the city using an alternative form of transport.
Watch a movie at the open air cinema
For one month each summer Parc de la Villette puts up a free open air cinema which has different films on most nights and several of which are in English. This is the perfect way to enjoy a summer evening, and be sure to take a blanket or chairs along with a bottle of wine and French delicacies to nibble.
Take a day trip
Paris itself is of course exquisite, but there are a number of spots just outside the city that make for a great day trip. Hop over the Versailles to check out the Château de Versailles and stunning gardens, or take the train to Giverny, the home of impressionism and where Monet lived and worked.
Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
A simple yet effective suggestion – going to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a must-do in Paris, but the view on a summer’s day is the best there can be. Avoid peak times to not be swamped by tourists, and make sure to take a camera for those iconic panoramic views. I had a very emotional experience the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower in person. There is nothing quite like seeing it for the first time!
Go to Disneyland Paris
The sun is shining, the kids are happy, and the smell of cotton candy is in the air – you must be at Disneyland Paris. This is the ultimate family-friendly experience in the area, located just 20 miles outside the city center. It will amuse you and your children for an entire day, giving you a nice break from the sometimes tiring aspects of the big city.
Have a picnic on Ponts des Arts
Just outside the Louvre there is a pedestrian bridge named Pont des Arts, and on summer nights you will find it filled with Parisians drinking wine and eating cheese. It’s an exceptionally romantic spot, so much so that a tradition has developed whereby lovers attach a padlock with their name on to the railings of the bridge and throw the key into the River Seine below. The bridge is known to be popular amongst the artistic folk of Paris, and often holds al fresco exhibitions.
Go to a festival
As with any European cities, there are a number of festivals going on in Paris during the summer. La Fête de la Musique or ‘street music festival’ is a popular summer event as the city celebrates its buskers and al fresco music scene. July 14th marks Bastille Day, France’s national day of celebration with a military parade down the Champs-Élysées, and fireworks in the evening.
Hang out in cafes
Paris has thousands of cafes that have outside seating spilling onto the streets. In the summer these are always filled with locals and tourists, and if you fancy a simple couple of hours or afternoon, why not join them and watch the world go by. It helps that some of their food is to die for!
Go to the beach
So there might not be any natural beaches in Paris, but that doesn’t stop the citizens making their own. For a month every year, usually from the end of July, the government create ‘Paris-Plages’, three artificial beaches that pop up along the River Seine, complete with sand, deck chairs and giant umbrellas. Swimming in the Seine is not permitted of course, but sometimes the city also adds a floating swimming pool where visitors can take a dip.
What Top Things to do in Paris this Summer have we missed?