Summer in Paris: Our Checklist

Summer in Paris: Our Checklist

There’s no bad time to visit La Ville-Lumière, but summer is particularly enchanting, with a programme of events that’s downright festive. Though some restaurants and boulangeries close for annual congé, the residential neighbourhoods are quiet and calm as urbanites depart for a month-long vacation in the provinces. From the riverside quays to the parks on the city’s fringes, Paris shows off her summer glow with joie de vivre. Here are some of our top picks.

Terrace Toasts. Nothing says summer like a sunny terrasse, particularly if there’s a panoramic view involved. Some of the loveliest are at Parisian museums. We love the Zyriad on the 9th floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe for mint tea overlooking the Seine, and Monsieur Bleu at the Palais de Tokyo. Inside the Petit Palais, a garden oasis provides a scenic spot for an afternoon pick-me-up in the shade of towering palms.

Pique-Niquer sur l’herbe. Choosing the perfect place is one thing (see our top 5 picks), but what really counts is assembling the right provisions—an art form and source of pride for Parisians who pack baskets full of gourmet delicacies.

Movies under the Stars. Every summer Parisians flock to the Cinema en Plein Air held at the Parc de la Villette. On Wednesday- Sunday evenings, you can catch a flick like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and Éric Rohmer’s Pauline à la plage (as listed on our Top 5 French Films for Summer). Until August 24, at dusk. Free entry. Note that it’s possible to rent a chair.

Sun, Sand, and… Seine. Paris Plages is back! The city imports 5,000 tonnes of sand by barge to create the artificial beach on the river and along the Bassin de la Villette.

Refresh with a Sparkling Beverage. The city of Paris has set up a number of water fountains, five of which serve sparkling water. The latest of these fountains, called La Pétillante, was inaugurated in July on the Berges de Seine (4, quai Anatole France – rive Gauche).

Berges de Seine. While strolling the popular pedestrian promenade, don’t miss En attendant Rosa, the outdoor terrasse/barge that’s docked at the Port des Invalides.

Parc André Citroën. Next to the Seine in the 15th arrondissement, this park is located on the site of the ancient Citroën factory and has recently unveiled an extension with top-notch children’s games. This is where you can buy a ticket to ascend in the (tethered) hot-air balloon for views over Paris.

Art Attack. On a rainy day, explore one of Paris’s marvelous museums: go off-the-beaten-path at the Louvre; try a lesser-known, specialised museum; buy tickets in advance for one of the season’s hot events (check our calendar for comprehensive exhibition listings).

Piscine. The Josephine Baker pool, floating on the Seine in the 13th arrondissement, is an excellent spot for sun-bathing. Another one of our favourite pools is the piscine in the charming Butte aux Cailles neighborhood, which just reopened its doors after a years-long renovation project. Designed in an Art Nouveau style, the Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles has an outdoor solarium for catching some rays.

Music in the Park. Through October, more than 400 free concerts take place in garden kiosks (try the Jardin du Luxembourg). There’s also the fabulous Jazz Festival in the Parc Floral.

Open-Air Theatre. In the Bois de Boulogne, the Théâtre de verdure du jardin Shakespeare stages outdoor performances in the summer months.  For the full programme, see the website Que faire à Paris ?

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Based in Paris, Nicklin served as the digital editor of France Today from 2013-mid 2022. Currently she is the editor of Bonjour Paris, the site's sister publication. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to publications like The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, CNN Travel, Vinepair, Travel Agent Magazine, and Luxury Travel Advisor.

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