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May in Paris 
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 in 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.
Heads Up! We are working hard to be accurate but these are unusual times so please always check before heading out.
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.
GOOD TO KNOW: This is a particular year, and the country is gradually opening to foreign travelers. If you can make it to Paris in May 2021, you will have almost the whole city to yourself!
Weather in Paris in May
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
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:
- Paris in one day
- Paris in two days
- Paris in three days
- Paris in four days
- Paris in five days
- Paris in six days
- Paris in 7 days
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.
LOCKDOWN EASING IN FRANCE 2021
- The terraces of cafés and restaurants will open on 19 May.
- Cafés and restaurants (inside) will open on 9 June.
- Museums, cultural spaces, theaters, cinemas, and cabarets will open on 19 May.
- Non-essential shops will open on 19 May.
- Fairs, exhibition halls will open on 9 June.
- Foreign tourists will be able to travel to France from 9 June. Click here for the list of countries allowed to travel to France and the requirements to enter.
- Curfew in all the French territory from 7 pm to 6 am. Then from 9 pm to 6 am (19 May to 8 June), from 11 pm to 6 am (9 to 30 June).
CLIMB UP TO THE EIFFEL TOWER
– Museums and other cultural spaces will open on 19 May –
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 the 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
– Outdoor terraces will open on 19 May –
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.
CELEBRATE THE MUSEUMS AT NIGHT
– To be confirmed –
On the third Saturday in May (this year, 15 May 2021), 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
– To be confirmed –
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
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
– This year 2021, the event is postponed to 16-19 September 2021 –
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 Festivals, Taste 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
– Date to be confirmed –
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
– Museums and other cultural spaces will open on 19 May –
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:
Le Chat de Philippe Geluck at the Champs Elysées (outdoors), from 26 March 2021 to 9 June 2021.
Napoléon, l’Exposition at the Grande Halle de la Villette, from 14 April 2021 to 19 September 2021.
Louis de Funès, at La Cinémathèque de Paris, from 15 July 2020 to 1 August 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
As you make your bed, so you lie. Find the right accommodation in Paris – whether it’s a hotel or guesthouse, holiday apartment, or private apartment. We have them all! Book your accommodation by using the map below.
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!
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
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.
HOTEL DE JOSEPHINE DE BONAPARTE, Paris 4, $$$$
Located in a former convent, this charming hotel is inspired by Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Bonaparte. Its unique decorated rooms are elegant and romantic and its cozy saloons are the perfect place for a last glass of wine.
HOTEL FRANCE LOUVRE, Paris 4, $$$
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.
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.
XRELAIS CHRISTINE; Paris 6, $$$$
This hotel is set in a 16th-century private mansion in the heart of Saint Germain-des-Prés. Its rooms are unique, designed in different styles. Guests can enjoy elegant common spaces, a garden, a spa, and a fitness center.
HOTEL CHAPLAIN PARIS RIVE GAUCHE: Paris 6, $$$
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.
And there you have it, the best things to do in Paris in May 2021 guide for a unique May in Paris. Bon voyage!