Paris is renowned for its magnificent culture and rich history. Its summers, brimming with people basking in the sun-kissed Seine and charming terrace cafes, are extraordinarily beautiful. The French are known for having vacation periods extending over a month. As Parisians depart the city in summer, it is an ideal time to appreciate the unusually deserted streets and delightful outdoor cafes while observing the surrounding scenery. The weather is moderate and the days are long, allowing you to relish the numerous summer events and festivals held in the city's various parks and outdoor spaces from early morning until late at night. So, what's the best itinerary for traveling to Paris in the summer? In this article, we have compiled ten activities that are uniquely enjoyable in summer.
Summer is the height of tourist season in Paris, and it is accompanied by matching high temperatures: temperatures can soar into the upper to 38°C and above, especially in August. In the meantime, thunderstorms can be frequent too, so it is always better to have an umbrella around. For the hot weather, you can, of course, prepare light clothes. Parisiennes wear lots of pretty, loose-fitting, lightweight summer dresses in bright colors and patterns. However, keep in mind that Paris is not a seaside town so you cannot walk topless! Avoid shorts for visiting Churches and certain museums.
Don't forget to bring along a strong sunscreen (SPF50) to protect your skin. You can also easily find in Pharmacies Thermal spring water sprays, which are very pleasant to use when there are high temperatures. Last but not least, with climate change, there are more and more mosquitoes in France in Summer. So it is always better to put on a mosquito repellent. You can find all these, and much more at Parapharmacie Monge (click here for details).
Did you know that in summer you can unwind on a beach right in the heart of Paris? Organized by the Paris City Hall from July to August annually, Paris Plage is an event held along the banks of the Seine. Beyond the Parc Rives de Seine in front of City Hall, you can also savor the pop-up beaches of Paris at Quai de Loire, Quai de Seine, and Bassin de la Villette in northeast Paris. Paris Plages, with its sand, sun loungers, parasols, and palm trees lining the riverbanks, provides sporting activities like canoeing and snack and drink stalls. You can also indulge in outdoor swimming at the Josephine Baker swimming pool floating on the Seine - a perfect escape from the heat without leaving the city.
The Seine River in summer is not only beautiful but also an excellent place to evade the heat. Many pop-up bars open along the river during this period. You'll often see young Parisians buying beer or wine and lounging by the river, instead of heading to a bar. Hotel OFF is a unique place to capture stunning photos for Instagram while enjoying the Seine River view. This hotel floats on the Seine River, providing an unusual experience. Even if you don't stay here, you can visit the bar located inside - it's a hidden gem in Paris.
Paris transforms into a festival hub in summer. From mid-June to the end of August, large-scale outdoor music festivals attract many music enthusiasts to Paris. If you're interested in music festivals, this is the time to pay attention. Starting from the Fête de la Musique on June 21 this year, through the Paris Jazz Festival, Rock en Seine rock festival, France's biggest electronic music event The Peacock Society, and the world-famous Lollapalooza festival, Paris in summer is all about music. Galeries Lafayette also hosts a music festival on its rooftop with a view of the Eiffel Tower in early July as part of the French Touch event.
France, being the home of the Lumiere brothers who made the first commercial film, adores films. The open-air film festival in La Villette, held in summer, is a highly anticipated cultural event among Parisians. Every summer, more than 20 films are screened outdoors. You can enjoy movies of various genres, from comedy to romance to suspense, while sitting on the grass or in an outdoor chair with the starry sky as your backdrop.
Summer presents the prime shopping season in Paris, the world's fashion epicenter. The French summer sales, known as "Les Soldes," typically span five weeks or more, running from late June to late August. Shoppers can avail discounts ranging from 30-70% off the standard prices. This is the time when fast fashion favorites, renowned Parisian brands, and even luxury labels roll out their most substantial sales of the year - a shopping extravaganza you can't afford to miss. What's even more interesting is the progressive nature of the discounts throughout the summer sales, starting with approximately 30% off in the first week, rising to around 60% midway, and peaking at up to 80% by the end of August. If contemporary or luxury brands are your shopping targets, large department stores like Galeries Lafayette and outlets such as La Vallee Village are must-visit destinations.
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The National Day of the French Revolution marks the significant event of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. This pivotal moment in history played a significant role in the development of France into the democratic republic it is today. Every year on July 14, a national holiday, Parisians gather to watch Europe's oldest military parade on the Champs-Élysées. This grand parade, attended by the President of France, commences at the Arc de Triomphe and concludes at Place de la Concorde. The parade allows spectators to witness France's military prowess, with participating soldiers and military hardware such as tanks and fighter jets. Notably, the evening culminates in a spectacular fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower at midnight - arguably the highlight of the French Revolution anniversary celebrations.
Paris comes alive in summer, and the reopening of rooftops, generally closed during winter, adds to its vibrancy. In a city where tall structures are uncommon, rooftops are rare and thus, highly coveted spots among young Parisians. Among these, "Créatures," located atop Galeries Lafayette, is worth recommending. With a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower, dining here is an experience that enhances the flavor of your meal. As a trendy vegetarian restaurant, "Créatures" offers dishes crafted from fresh French ingredients, promising a taste of Parisian wellness. With delectable cocktails and reasonable food prices, it's a must-visit when in Paris.
There are a lot of places to discover for nice day trips around Paris. But in other seasons, it can be harder to enjoy these countryside places since the weather can change a lot, and rain be more likely to happen. Fortunately, in Summer you will have much more opportunities to enjoy these places without having to worry about the weather. In summer you can enjoy Giverny and Monet's garden, with many flowers blooming, especially in June and July. If you are into parks, it can be the occasion to discover the "Grandes eaux musicales", fountain shows and musical gardens that occur only from April to October. During the summer period, the Musical Fountains show are scheduled every weekend, the Musical Gardens from Tuesday to Friday, and the Fountains Night Show every Saturday night, plus Friday, July 14th and Tuesday, August 15th. If you miss the fresh air, you can escape for a day or two to the seaside! Places like Etretat, Honfleur, or Deauville a relatively easy day trips to enjoy swimming and sunset. If you want to know more about places to visit not far from Paris, check our article here.
Even though Paris is not the native region of Pétanque (which was invented in Provence), in summer you will see many people playing Pétanque in some Parisian parks, such as Arènes de Lutèce. Pétanque is an outdoor game played by two opposing teams trying to throw boules (metallic spheres the size of an orange) as close as possible to a cochonnet (a little wooden sphere the size of a ping-pong ball). It's quite easy to play it (but hard to master it!), and it's also a kind of social gathering, which all generations can participate. Feel free to watch people playing, and they might invite you to join in the game!
France has long been a global agricultural powerhouse. France has established a regional agricultural system based on its climate-friendly agriculture and vast territory since long ago and has supplied a large amount of agricultural products to Europe. Therefore, France's seasonal fruits are very cheap and delicious. How about stopping by a nearby market or fruit shop and tasting some summer fruits? There are many summer fruits, but if I had to pick one, I would recommend peaches, especially flat peaches. It's a variety that's hard to find in Asia and America, and its sweetness and texture are outstanding. Melons are also recommended to try in France in the summer. Buying some Jambon (ham) to accompany the melon. It is a popular wine accompaniment that the French often enjoy in the summer.
France, the land of desserts, boasts a wide variety of ice creams that are incredibly delicious. Instead of settling for ice cream sold in supermarkets, it's preferable to explore the flavors from specialized ice cream shops. If you're curious about ice cream that can only be tasted in Paris, click on this article. We have compiled an exclusive list of ice cream shops that Parisians rate as the best.
Cruises on the Seine remain a favorite among locals and tourists alike throughout the year, but they hold a special charm in the summer. With temperatures in Paris hovering between 16-25 degrees in July and August, guests can enjoy iconic Parisian landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, and Louvre Museum from the open upper deck of the Bateau Monsieur. The unique view from the water, especially against the backdrop of a sunset sky, paints Paris, the 'City of Light,' in an unforgettable romantic hue. If you want to know how to use a cruise ship in Paris more cheaply, click this article.