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Paris in May [2021] Quick Guide by a Local

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12/30/20

May in Paris [2021]

All you need to know to visit Paris in May 2021.

May is a wonderful month to visit Paris. If you are looking to find a balance between good weather and crowds, you will not find it any better than Paris in May. In May, spring is in full flow, days are longer, and you will find plenty to do in and out.

May in Paris is a great time to stroll through the city, enjoy the numerous parks’ colors, and have a drink on a sunny cafe.  

Overall, Paris in May is a combination of city perfection & good weather with busy crowds (but not like in the summer). If you plan to visit Paris in May, here’s the guide to May in Paris 2021 for a wonderful trip to the City of Lights.

Place Concorde - Paris

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PARIS TRIP PLANNER

Practical Info

» Basics: Language is French but English is widely spoken; Currency is Euro

» Paris Travel Guide

» Plan: Paris Travel Planner; check out when is the Best Time to Visit Paris;

» Flying to Paris: find the best prices and book your flight tickets with CheapoAir.com

» Paris by Train: find the best prices and book your train tickets with Trainline

» Where to Stay: Best Districts to Stay in Paris

» Find your Bearings in Paris: Districts of Paris Quick Guide

» Getting around: Metro of Paris Quick GuideParis by Bike Guide

» Top-Rated Paris Tours & Tickets:

Want skip-the-line access and awesome discounts at museums & attractions in Paris? Get your hands on a Paris Museum Pass!

» Food & Drinks: Paris Food Guide

» Side Trips: Versailles Quick Guide, check out the Best Day Trips from Paris

Is Paris in May Busy? Crowds Forecast

May in Paris is high season, so it is a busy month. May also comes with many public holidays (there are 4 holidays in France in May), and the city becomes especially appealing for weekend getaways.

If you visit Paris in May, the crowds are still moderate, but booking accommodation and tickets to the main attractions in advance is paramount, especially during the long weekends.

Weather in Paris in May

Le Marais - Cafe

How is the weather in Paris in May? In May, spring is well underway in the city. In Paris in early May, you might have occasional showers but in general, expect blue sky and mild weather with occasional hot temperatures at the end of the month.

Overall, the Paris weather in May is good. The average temperature in Paris in May is 19C maximum and 10C minimum, and there are 14% chances of rain.

What to Wear in Paris in May 2021

What to wear in Paris in Summer and Spring

May in Paris is usually warm and overall dry. You may still need a slight scarf in the evening or early morning, but you will be fine without a jacket during the day.

Over the month, the temperature changes significantly, and it can be hot in Paris in late May, but it is not an unpleasant heat for walking or sightseeing.

Don’t miss your sunglasses! May in Paris is sunny, and you are going to need your sunglasses for sightseeing.

You will then need good walking shoes (sneakers are perfect, it is still too early for sandals), socks, and long trousers. Finally, pack long sleeve tops, a light sweater, and perhaps a mid-season jacket if you visit Paris in early May.

Before leaving home for Paris, we recommend checking the weather forecast to understand the temperatures and review your packing list.

If you need more ideas for packing for Paris in May, check out our Spring /Summer packing lists.

Best Tips for Visiting Paris in May

May is a month with many public holidays, and Paris is an attractive destination for a European getaway whilst Parisians like to travel somewhere else. Therefore, expect higher prices for train and flight tickets and less availability for last-minute bookings.

Paris in May is a great cultural destination. If you visit Paris in May, skip the line tickets for Paris’s main attractions may be interesting.

Below I list the Paris main attractions you will need advance tickets for and have added links to my favorite trusty providers for your convenience.

If you plan on visiting many tourist sights, the purchase of a Paris tourist pass might save you lots of money. Check out this Paris Tourist Pass Comparison with all the options and do the math.

LIST OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE IN MAY

I always say that France’s GDP must drop a lot in May because with all these holidays and parents taking some extra holidays to take care of kids during school holidays, France’s offices look pretty empty. Here’s why:

17th April to 3rd May 2021 is school holidays in Paris, and, commonly, parents take one week off for a family cultural trip somewhere else in France or Europe. If you decide to come during this period, book things in advance, especially train and flight tickets from /to Paris.

1st May 2021 is Labor Day and one of the most expected dates for a European getaway. However, on May 1st, you should expect many shops and businesses to close, and it may also affect some tourist attractions’ opening hours.

8 May 2021 is the Armistice Day, the commemoration of the end of WW2.

13 May 2021 is the Ascension Day.

24 May 2021 Pentecost Day.

A week before the departure, check out this Transportation Strikes in Paris post, which is always updated with the latest information. You never know with the French . . .

Need insurance for France? Be sure to check France travel insurance rates and coverage with our recommended provider, SafetyWing.

Best Things to Do in Paris in May 2021

If this is your first time in Paris, perhaps you wish to visit some of the main tourist sights? The itineraries below are great for the first time in Paris, and they are planned around the main neighborhoods in Paris and top tourist attractions:

Combine these itineraries with some seasonal things to do in Paris in May for a wonderful trip to Paris. Here’s the list of the best things to do in Paris in May 2021. Some of the events (or the dates of certain events) are not confirmed yet, so keep clicking for the latest updates.

CLIMB UP TO THE EIFFEL TOWER

View from Eiffel Tower

When the sun shines, and the sky is blue, climb up to the top of the Eiffel Tower for one of the best views of Paris. See the Seine River from above and admire Paris’ iconic landmarks like the Invalides, the Sacre Coeur, or Notre Dame. It is amazing!

On the west, you can see the business neighborhood of La Défense and the already iconic building of Louis Vuitton Foundation.

A visit to the Eiffel Tower is also excellent to know more about one of Paris’s symbols. Learn its history and some quirky facts related to its design and construction.

And there’s always something going on up in the tower: from a sunset toast with champagne to performances or treasure hunts; the Eiffel Tower is always full of surprises!

TIP: The Eiffel Tower sells tickets only 3 months in advance. With Get Your Guide, you can purchase your tickets even earlier and secure your favorite date and time slot. Click here to buy your Eiffel Tower tickets with Get Your Guide.

ENJOY YOUR FAVORITE DRINK IN A SUNNY TERRACE

Parisian Cafes - Terraces

In Paris in late May, the first summer terraces pop up, and it is great to stop by and enjoy your favorite drink under the sun. After the cold winter months and the early spring showers, summer terraces are idyllic spots for enjoying the sunny outdoors in Paris.

EASTER IN PARIS

Easter Eggs in Paris

Easter in France is all about church services, meals with family, and spectacular chocolate creations.

During Easter in Paris, all the pâtisseries and chocolate shops throughout the city decorate their shop windows with awesome Easter goodies and colorful cakes. Shop displays by Pierre Hermé, Patrick Roger, or Jean-Paul Hévin are well known by everybody and wonderful to see.

To get the most of the season, take this Chocolate, Pastries & Macaron Walking Tour of Saint-Germain, a picturesque neighborhood well known for its chocolate and cake shops.

CELEBRATE THE MUSEUMS AT NIGHT

Louvre at night

On the third Saturday in May, many museums in France open their doors for a special cultural night. Apart from the usual exhibitions, expect side activities such as performances, readings, or concerts.

This is a great opportunity, for example, to visit the Louvre Museum for free but also to discover some lesser-known gems which usually come with shorter o no lines.

Some museums require advance booking for these activities, with limited spots, and you really need to be very fast when they open the bookings. However, there’s always something fun to do on the go.

TIME FOR MUSIC FESTIVALS

Music Festivals in Paris

In May, Paris kicks off the Music Festivals season with some very cool proposals of all genres. Locals’ favorites are the Jazz Festival in Saint Germain-des-Prés in Paris 6 or the Villette Sonique festival at Park de la Villette in Paris 19.

TAKE A (SELF-GUIDED) STREET ART TOUR

Paris 13 - Street Art

In Paris, May is a great month for walking tours to explore a particular neighborhood or around a specific topic.

If you are interested in Street Art, a street art walking tour in Paris 13 is fun and perfect for a leisurely day in Paris off the beaten path. Big murals by famous street artists from all over the world invade Paris 13’s main avenues with plenty of colorful photo opportunities

Head here for our self-guided Street Art Walking Tour in Paris 13 and have fun exploring one of Paris’ lesser-known arrondissements through this colorful itinerary.

TREAT YOUR TASTE BUDS AT TASTE OF PARIS

Cakes in Paris

Taste of Paris is one of France’s most famous food festivals, proposing the best food in Paris through ephemeral cuisines, gastronomic meetings with professionals and amateurs, and plenty of recipes and cuisine secrets.

Organized by Taste FestivalsTaste of Paris is part of a worldwide network of more than 20 food events in top cities like London, Sydney, Toronto, or Hong Kong.

Taste of Paris is held at the magnificent Grand Palais, so expect an incredible foodie experience in an even more incredible place.

CELEBRATE THE FRENCH BREAD AT THE FÊTE DU PAIN

In May, Paris celebrates La Fête du Pain, the bread festival, to honor one of France’s most precious food.

For this food festival, Paris invites bakers to show their know-how and best pains through outdoor events around this theme, always in a festive atmosphere.

During this event, the city also chooses the Best Baguette in Paris, and it is a fun and at the same time important contest. Indeed, the winner has the honor to serve his baguettes to the Presidential Palace for a year!

CHECK OUT THE TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS IN MAY IN PARIS 2021

Create your Louvre Guide

If you visit Paris in May for a cultural weekend, you may want to check the list of temporary exhibitions, especially if you have seen the main museums in Paris in the past.

Here’s the list of some top exhibitions planned (so far) for Paris in May 2021:

Peintres femmes, 1780-1830. Naissance d’un combat (Female Painters, Birth of a Combat) at the Musée du Luxembourg, from 3 March 2021 to 4 July 2021.

Divas Arabes. D’Oum Kalthoum à Dalida at the Institut du Monde Arabe, from 27 January 2021 to 27 July 2021.

Louis de Funès, at La Cinémathèque de Paris, from 15 July 2020 to 30 May 2021.

Pierres Précieuses (gemstones) at Grande Galérie de l’Evolution, from 16 September 2020 to 14 June 2021.

Dalí, l’Énigme Sans Fin (Dalí, the endless enigma) at Atelier des Lumières, from 12 February 2021 to 2 January 2022.

NEED MORE IDEAS ON WHAT TO DO IN PARIS IN MAY?

The proposed things to do in Paris in May are just a glimpse of what Paris offers. For more activities, check out our articles April in Paris or Paris in June. Some of the activities suggested in these pieces are also great for May in Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris in May

We recommend Booking.com for booking your hotel in Paris. They have a wide variety of accommodation of all kinds and good rates. In addition, they propose the option to cancel for free, most of the time up to 24 hours.


SLEEP WITH EIFFEL TOWER VIEWS

If you have the budget, why not treating yourself with the pleasure of waking up with an amazing Eiffel Tower balcony view?

Some of the best hotels in Paris also come with awesome views of Eiffel Tower, especially beautiful during its night show!

Check out the best hotels with Eiffel Tower Views

The good news is that a cozy room with Eiffel Tower views is not exclusive to the best hotels in Paris. If you are looking for a more local experience, there are also beautiful, fully equipped apartments to rent with amazing Eiffel Tower views

Check out the best apartments with view of Eiffel Tower


HOTELS AT LE MARAIS IN PARIS 4

Le Marais is a central neighborhood in the Seine’s Right Bank perfect to set your base in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is beautiful, well connected by the metro, and with many beautiful cafes and restaurant options.

Click here for the best hotels in Le Marais in Paris 4

HOTEL DE JOSEPHINE DE BONAPARTE, Paris 4, $$$$

Located in a former convent, this charming hotel is inspired by Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Bonaparte. Its unique decorated rooms are elegant and romantic and its cozy saloons are the perfect place for a last glass of wine.

Click here for the Latest Prices


HOTEL FRANCE LOUVRE, Paris 4, $$$

Hotel France Louvre is a typical Haussmaniann-style hotel located in Le Marais. The rooms are small but cozy, all elegantly furnished in Louis XIV style. Some of them have lovely views over Hôtel de Ville and Tour Saint Jacques.

Click here for the Latest Prices


HOTELS AT SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS

The neighborhood of Saint-Germain, in the Left Bank, is a great place to put your luggage down in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is picturesque, central, with many entertainments, beautiful cafes and restaurant options.

Click here for the best hotels in Saint-Germain

XRELAIS CHRISTINE; Paris 6, $$$$

This hotel is set in a 16th-century private mansion in the heart of Saint Germain-des-Prés. Its rooms are unique, designed in different styles. Guests can enjoy elegant common spaces, a garden, a spa, and a fitness center.

Click here for the Latest Prices


HOTEL CHAPLAIN PARIS RIVE GAUCHE: Paris 6, $$$

This chic and modern hotel is located only a few meters from Luxembourg Gardens is one of the best mid-range hotels in Saint-Germain. The rooms are fancy and colorful. We especially like its chic dining area and floral courtyard, where you can take your breakfast or a drink.

Click here for the Latest Prices

And there you have it, the best things to do in Paris in May 2021 guide for a unique May in Paris. Bon voyage!

Click here to read more Paris travel tips

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