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12 Ways to Make the Most of Summer in Paris [2020]

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11/12/20

Summers in Paris

For some, summer is the best time to visit Paris. Paris in the summer becomes even more vibrant than it usually is – from pop-up terraces and bar-péniches to street festivals, you can see it all.

Parisians might flee the city in the warm summer months, but there are many things to do in Paris in the summer and plenty of reasons to stick around. Follow our guide to avoid the crowds, beat the heat, and get the most out of summers in Paris.

Summer in Paris

Summer in Paris corresponds to the months of June, July, and August. Check out our specific quick guides for these months.

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1.BOOK IN ADVANCE

In Paris, summer months are high season so be sure to book in advance train tickets, flight tickets, and accommodation in Paris.

Hotels, especially good ones with a pool, sell out fast or charge ridiculous prices for last-minute bookings.

Same for the top attractions in Paris: tickets to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, or the Moulin Rouge in summer might be booked out months in advance.

Once you get the green light from your boss, book transportation and accommodation as soon as possible but also the tickets for the main tourist sights. Then, you can decide to plan or improvise the rest of your time around these booked tickets.

2.USEFUL ITEMS

What to wear in Paris in Summer and Spring

First things first: check out what to wear in Paris in the summer with our Summer Packing List for Women and Summer Packing List for Men and make sure you have packed properly and sensibly.

Once you have read about Paris summer fashion and chosen the perfect summer in Paris outfits, you don’t want to forget sunglasses and sun cream. As you’ll be on your feet all day, make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and you carry plenty of water to avoid getting a sunstroke or dehydrated. Finally, make time for plenty of rest stops during the day, especially if the sun is hitting hard.

3. WALK INSTEAD OF METRO

Romantic Paris Getaway

Replace the metro of Paris by walks to avoid getting hot and stressed. Some trains don’t have air conditioning inside so they are real ovens in the summertime.

As you can see in the picture below, walking times between distant points within Paris are not than long. If we haven’t convinced you yet, check out this metro map, with the walking distances between metro stations, in many cases, it’s less than a 10-minute walk!

The red circle is equal to 1-hour walk from Châtelet in central Paris

For longer trips, check out our best tips for surviving the metro of Paris in summer

4. LEARN HOW TO AVOID CROWDS IN PARIS

From the best days and time slots for visiting the main tourist sights to our best tips, we tell you everything in this post.

5. TAKE IN THE PARISIAN CANALS

Paris 10 - Canal Saint-Martin

One of the most pleasant things to do in Paris during the summers in Paris is a stroll down the Parisian canals. Canal Saint-Martin is a cultural hub and one of the most popular places in Paris whilst Bassin de La VilletteCanal de l’Ourcq have a more local feeling, and they a great place to go for a break from sightseeing.

Why not try a Canal Cruise too? Navigate along the canal locks and through mysterious tunnels whilst learning more about this picturesque area of Paris.

A fun alternative is to sail an electric boat along Canal de l’Ourcq (no license required), perhaps with a bottle of rosé wine onboard.

6. ENJOY THE LONGER EVENINGS (AND PARIS BY NIGHT)

In summer the sun is out in Paris up to 9 pm – and sometimes even later. Make the most of the longer evenings and enjoy the sights of Paris – most of the attractions and parks have longer opening hours during the summer season so you can plan your itinerary right into nightfall. Then, it is time to head to one of the best rooftop bars in Paris for an aperitif or two, before enjoying Paris at night.

7. CATCH MUSIC, THEATER, OR CINEMA OUTSIDE

Music Festivals in Paris

If siestas are the only thing getting you through the hottest part of the day, don’t worry: you can catch up on culture in the evenings, too. 

This year [2020], many Paris music festivals will be postponed or canceled but not all is lost!

Summer in Paris kicks off with the Music Festival (21 June) with many street performances and small concerts in bars. This summer there will be a lighter version but we are sure it will be also fun!

Set in the beautiful Parc Floral, Paris Jazz Festival (3-26 July) blends great jazz with nature whilst Chopin lovers will head to Parc de Bagatelle for his annual festival (20 June to 14 July).

When the dusk falls, one of the favorite outdoor activities in Paris is to watch a movie under the stars at Parc de la Villette, in Paris 19. Le Cinéma en Plein Air (Open Air Cinema) is a cultural festival proposing new releases and cult films from France and all around the world, with a different theme each year.

8. BAR HOP BY THE SEINE

In the summer months, temporary bars and cafes pop up like mushrooms along the banks of the Seine River, and on its barges especially in Paris 7 and Paris 8 but also on the east in Paris 13. They contain delights from cocktails to world cuisine to live music to table football. You can sample it all without so much as going downstairs to the river banks.

9. CHECK OUT AN EXHIBITION

Even if you’re not a culture buff the rest of the year, the idea of a couple of hours in a well air-conditioned room should be enough to tempt anyone into Paris’s excellent museums and galleries.

In Paris, summer comes with many exhibitions so skip the lines for the permanent collections and look for interesting temporary exhibitions or visit the lesser-known museums in Paris.

10. DRINK AND DINE AL FRESCO

Summer terrace - Paris

Summer terraces are the place to be in Paris in the summer when drinking and eating indoors feels like a crime.

Although Paris is a busy and bustling city there are still beer gardens and pop-up terraces tucked away behind the back of old buildings and tables that spill on to the street for a drink or two.

For dinner, you will find some addresses of restaurants with terrace in our Paris restaurant series but of course, there are many more!

Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar Paris
Photo courtesy: Hotel Mama Shelter Paris ©

For a DIY version, opt for a picnic to one of Paris’ parks  – try Buttes Chaumont, or Bois de Vincennes – and don’t forget musts like baguette, cheese, and a bottle of French wine for the perfect picnic in Paris.

TIP: these wine tote bags are perfect for carrying your bottles of rosé and keep them safe and fresh!

11. TAKE A DAY TRIP

Apollo Fountain - Versailles

Summer in Paris is interesting, some would say exciting, but it is also an excellent base to explore other places around for a weekend or just a day.

Of course, there’s Versailles Palace & Gardens and places like Monet’s Garden or Mont Saint-Michel are popular summer day trips from Paris but there’s more! For more travel ideas check out the cutest small towns near Paris or super easy weekend getaways by train. History fans will be happy to learn that there are many exciting castles near Paris easy to reach by public transportation.

12. BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS IN PARIS

Last but not least, summer is also the high season of pickpockets in Paris and they are especially active in tourist sights, metro, or in the outside terraces. It would be a pity that they spoil your summer in Paris!

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We recommend using an anti-theft travel bag or, if you feel more comfortable, an anti-theft travel backpack for your trip to Paris. These travel bags are stylish and usually can be attached to chairs or tables when you are on a summer terrace.

Click here to read about other Seasons in Paris

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