This is how to enjoy Paris in the summer

This is how to enjoy Paris in the summer

Many people will tell you to avoid Paris at all costs during the summer but we think this is a mistake! There are plenty of ways to enjoy Paris in the summer

Cool off by the river

There’s no denying that Paris in the height of summer can be stifling so if you need to cool off then head down to the River Seine and enjoy the new pedestrianised right bank, the Parc Rives de Seine. You can now wander along the river from the Place de la Bastille all the way to the Eiffel Tower and stop at one of the many bars and restaurants, let your kids play at one of the play areas, enjoy a picnic or just soak up the sun.

Head to the beach…

From 8 July till 3 September the Parc Rives de Seine is transformed into a city beach for the annual Paris Plages event. As well as deckchairs and beach bars there are plenty of sporting activities. If you fancy a dip then head over to the Bassin de la Villette which is open to swimmers.


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If the banks of the River Seine are too touristy for you then try the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin. You’ll recognise the tree-lined quays and green iron footbridges from the film Amélie but the area has been extensively gentrified in recent years and is now a magnet for trendy Parisians. The bars and bistros are the perfect place to enjoy a summer’s evening.

While away a morning at a Parisian café

Start your day right with a long and lazy brunch, preferably al fresco. Is there a more enjoyable way to spend a sunny morning than with a newspaper, several cups of French coffee and a choice of croissants and pastries? Here is our pick of 10 of the best places to go for brunch in Paris


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Watch a film under the stars

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The warm summer evenings are the perfect excuse to stay out late so why not pay a visit to the Parc de la Villette for the Cinema Plein Air event? From 20 July till 20 August some of your favourite foodie films will be screened in the park including Disney’s Ratatouille and Sabrina starring Audrey Hepburn. Rent a deckchair or just take a picnic blanket and enjoy a film under the stars.

Celebrate the revolution!

If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris for the Fête Nationale (better known to English-speakers as Bastille Day) then you are in for a treat. The celebrations of France’s national day begin with a military parade down the Champs-Élysées and end with a spectacular fireworks display centred on the Eiffel Tower.


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Watch the end of the Tour de France

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Tour de France fever grips the country during July and Parisians get to watch the end of the epic race on 23 July. Although the winner has usually been decided by the time the peloton gets to Paris it is still exhilarating to watch the cyclists sprint down the Champs-Élysées and cross the finish line.

Head out of the city centre

If the city centre is too stifling for you then head east for a stroll along the tree-lined Coulée Verte. This delightful 5km-promenade has been created along the disused railway tracks of the Petite Ceinture and is made up of tree-lined cycling and walking paths, elevated gardens and the Jardin de Reuilly. If you stop for a picnic at the Jardin de Reuilly then you will be able to try out Paris’s first public sparkling water fountain.


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Go underground

If you really need to escape the heat then go underground and explore the Paris catacombs. Found 20m below ground the catacombs hold the remains of around 6 million people and offer a fascinating escape from the city above. Don’t wander off though, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the labyrinthine passageways!

Enjoy an ice cream

There is no better way to cool off in summer than with an ice cream and if you’re in Paris then it has to be a Berthillon ice cream. This glacier produces what many people consider to be the best ice cream in France with a wide range of flavours – expect to queue though!


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Enjoy a picnic in one of Paris’s many parks

There are plenty of parks in Paris where you can sunbathe and enjoy a picnic. Some of our favourites include Paris’s two largest parks, the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vicennes, both of which have lakes where you can hire a boat for an afternoon’s punting. Some lesser-known parks include the Jardins Flottants des Berges de Seine and the Parc de Bercy.

Sip a cool drink with amazing views at a rooftop bar

Enjoy a cool glass of white or a cocktail with spectacular views of Paris at one of the city’s rooftop bars. The sophisticated rooftop bar of the Hôtel Raphael offers views of the Eiffel Tower (although the drinks are pretty pricey) or head up to Le Georges on the roof of the Centre Pompidou. Alternatively, head towards Montmartre and Le Perchoir rooftop bar with stunning views of the Sacre Coeur.

Enjoy some live music

Summer in the UK means festival season and Paris isn’t to be left out with the annual Rock ne Seine festival taking place in the Parc de Saint-Cloud on the banks of the River Seine just outside Paris from 25-27 August. Festival-goers can camp on-site and listen to some big name acts including Franz Ferdinand and George Ezra. For those who prefer jazz music there are free jazz concerts in the Parc Floral de Vincennes from 17 June till 31 July for the Paris Jazz Festival or from 31 August til 31 September the Jazz à la Villette takes over the Parc de la Villette.

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