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12 Ways to Make the Most of Summer in Paris [2021]


2021 France Travel Update


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07/02/21

Summers in Paris

Summer in Paris

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. Follow our guide to avoid the crowds, beat the heat, and get the most out of summers in Paris.

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Tips for Enjoying Summer in Paris

PARIS SUMMER MONTHS

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

1.BOOK IN ADVANCE

In Paris, summer months are high season, so be sure to book as much as you can in advance, from train tickets, flight tickets to 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 can be booked out months in advance.

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.

2.USEFUL ITEMS

What to wear in Paris in Summer and Spring

Check out what to wear in Paris in the summer here in 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 Paris summer outfits, you don’t want to forget sunglasses and sunscreen.

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.

3. WALK INSTEAD OF METRO

Romantic Paris Getaway

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!

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

Skip the line Louvre

Summer in Paris comes with the crowds, and they are even more annoying with the higher temperatures. 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 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 VilletteCanal de l’Ourcq have a more local feeling. They both are great places to go for a break from sightseeing.

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

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

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 evenings, too. 

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.

Then, it is time to head to one of the best rooftop bars in Paris for an aperitif or two before enjoying the nightlife in Paris.

7. CATCH MUSIC, THEATER, OR CINEMA OUTSIDE

Music Festivals in Paris

Summer in Paris kicks off with the Fête de la Musique or Music Festival (21 June), with many street performances and small concerts in bars. This year’s festival (2021) is already confirmed, and there will be no need to have a health pass.

Set in the beautiful Parc Floral, Paris Jazz Festival (30 June to 8 September 2021) blends great jazz with nature while Chopin lovers will head to Parc de Bagatelle for his annual festival (TBD June to TBD July).

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) is a cultural festival proposing new releases and cult films from France and worldwide, with a different theme each year.

8. BAR HOP BY THE SEINE

In the summer months, temporary bars and cafes 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 bars and péniches are a fun place to be, and they offer everything from cocktails 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 a well air-conditioned room should be enough to tempt anyone into Paris’s excellent museums and galleries.

Summers in Paris comes 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 full exhibitions list, check out our quick guides to June, July, or August in Paris.

10. DRINK AND DINE AL FRESCO

Summer terrace - Paris

Outdoor 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 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!

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

There are also cool picnic spots in Paris  – try park Buttes Chaumont or Bois de Vincennes. 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 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 time 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 other travel ideas, check out the cutest small towns near Paris or these easy weekend getaways from Paris by train.

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

In Paris, summer is also the high season of pickpockets, 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!

Check our anti-theft backpack review and choose the best anti-theft backpacks for safe travels, best theft proof backpacks, travel safe, anti-theft travel backpack, secure backpacks
Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags, Safe Travels, Secure Travel Bags, Best anti theft cross body travel bag, anti theft crossbody travel bag, Best theft proof travel bags, Best anti theft shoulder bag #travelgifts

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.

Have you spent any summer in Paris? What are your favorite things to do in Paris in summer?

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