Paris in Summer
For some, the best time to visit Paris is summer. 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 summer and plenty of reasons to stick around.
What to do in Paris this summer? Follow our Summer in Paris guide to avoid the crowds, beat the heat, and get the most out of Paris summer 2023.
Tips for Enjoying Paris in Summer (and Paris Summer Activities)
PARIS SUMMER MONTHS
When is summer in Paris? Summer in Paris corresponds to the months of June, July, and August. Check out our specific guides for these months, continually updated with seasonal activities and the best temporary exhibitions.
1. BOOK IN ADVANCE
Paris in summer is the high season, so be sure to book as much as you can in advance, from train tickets or flight tickets to accommodation in Paris.
Hotels, especially good ones and the hotels 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 can be booked out months in advance.
Below I list the main Paris attractions you will need advance tickets for and have added links to my favorite trusty providers for your convenience.
2. USEFUL ITEMS
Once you have chosen the perfect Paris summer outfit, you don’t want to forget sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen.
If you like to tick off lists, here are our packing lists for Paris in the summer:
- What to Pack for Paris in June
- What to Pack for Paris in July
- What to Pack for Paris in August
As you’ll be on your feet all day, make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and carry plenty of water to avoid getting sunstroke or dehydration.
3. WALK INSTEAD OF METRO
Replace the Paris metro with walks to avoid the heat and sweating. 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 that 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!
For longer trips, check out our best tips for surviving the metro of Paris in the summer.
4. LEARN HOW TO AVOID CROWDS IN PARIS
Summers in Paris come with crowds, and they are even more annoying with the higher temperatures. Check out this post on how to skip the longest lines in Paris. We tell you everything from the best days and time slots for visiting the main tourist sights to our best tips.
If you want to avoid the biggest crowds in Paris, then check out this post.
5. TAKE IN THE PARISIAN CANALS
One of the most pleasant things to do in Paris in the summer is strolling down the Parisian canals. Canal Saint-Martin is a cultural hub and one of the most popular places in Paris, while Bassin de La Villette – Canal de l’Ourcq has a more local feeling. They both are great places to go for a break from sightseeing.
Why not try a Canal Cruise? Navigate through the canal locks and mysterious tunnels while learning more about this picturesque area of Paris.
GOOD TO KNOW: from mid-July to mid-August, the Bassin de la Villette – Canal de l’Ourcq hosts Paris Plages, one of the top events of summer in Paris for kids and adults.
6. ENJOY THE LONGER EVENINGS (AND PARIS BY NIGHT)
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 evening.
In summer, the sun is out in Paris up to 9 pm, and sometimes even later. Also, most of the attractions and parks in Paris have longer opening hours during the summer season, so you can plan your itinerary right into nightfall.
7. CATCH MUSIC, THEATER, OR CINEMA OUTSIDE
Summer in Paris kicks off with the Fête de la Musique or Music Festival (always on 21 June), with many street performances and small concerts in bars.
What to do in Paris this summer? Set in the beautiful Parc Floral, Paris Jazz Festival (28 June to 6 September 2023) blends great jazz with nature, while Chopin lovers will head to Parc de Bagatelle for his annual festival (7 June to 14 July 2023).
When 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, 19 July to 20 August 2023) is a cultural festival proposing new releases and cult films from France and worldwide, with a different theme each year.
And there’s much more! Check out our quick guides to Paris in June, July, and August with the best seasonal events.
8. BAR HOP BY THE SEINE
In the summer months many temporary bars and cafés pop up 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.
These summer bars and péniches are a fun place to be, and they offer everything from cocktails and tapas to world cuisine, from 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 an air-conditioned room should be enough to tempt anyone into Paris’s excellent museums and galleries.
Summers in Paris usually come with many interesting proposals, so skip the permanent collections and look for your favorite temporary exhibitions or visit the lesser-known museums in Paris.
For the list of best temporary exhibitions in Paris this summer, check out our quick guides to June, July, or August in Paris.
10. DRINK AND DINE AL FRESCO
Outdoor terraces are the place to be in Paris in summer, when drinking and eating indoors feels like a crime.
Although Paris is a busy and bustling city, there are still beer gardens, pop-up terraces tucked away behind the back of old buildings, and tables that spill onto the street for a drink or two.
For dinner, you will find some of our favorite addresses of restaurants with a terrace in our Paris restaurant series, but of course, there are many more!
There are also cool picnic spots in Paris – try park Buttes Chaumont or Bois de Vincennes for a more local feeling. For the perfect Parisian picnic, don’t forget musts like baguette, cheese, and a bottle of French wine.
TIP: these wine tote bags are perfect for carrying your bottles of rosé and keeping them safe and fresh!
11. TAKE A DAY TRIP
There are many fun things to do in Paris in the summer, but the Paris summer months are also an excellent time to explore other places around for a weekend or just a day.
Finally, history passionates 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
Generally speaking, it is safe to travel to Paris – as safe as a big European capital can be, that is. But there are some things you should know about safety in Paris. In summer, Paris is also a pickpockets’ playground, and they are especially active in tourist sights, the metro, or outside terraces. It would be a pity if they spoiled your summer in Paris!
We recommend using an anti-theft crossbody bag or, if you feel more comfortable, an anti-theft backpack for your trip to Paris. These travel bags are stylish and can usually be attached to chairs or tables when you are on a summer terrace.
And there you have it, our summer in Paris quick guide with our best tips and top summer activities in Paris. Bon voyage!