paris view by the seine

The Best Things to do in Paris in Summer

Visiting Paris in summer gives you the opportunity to make the city yours. Many Parisians are on holiday elsewhere so it’s generally less congested and more relaxed. Clement temperatures allow you to fully enjoy the city’s many parks and outdoor areas from early morning until late at night, and you will be surprised by the many events and festivals organised between June and September in the “City of Lights”.

Related: More posts on France

Take off your winter clothes and embark with us on a tour of the best reasons to visit Paris in summer. From lazing on the beach to going on a shopping spree, you’ll have many quirky and cool opportunities to have fun during summertime in the French capital.

Laze on the beach at Paris-Plage

Did you know that you can laze on the beach in the heart of Paris in summer? Organised by Paris City Hall every year from July to August, Paris-Plage (Paris Beach) is an event held on the banks of the Seine River. You can get your feet in the sand at Parc Rives de Seine, in front of the City Hall, as well as at La Villette Canal Basin in the northeast of the city. The river embankments are converted into beaches by the addition of sand, sun-loungers, umbrellas and palm trees. Snacks and drinks stalls as well as sporting activities such as canoeing are at hand.

Attend music and cinema festivals

Paris is undeniably a festive city during summer. From mid-June to end of August, the city attracts a great deal of music lovers to a series of large outdoor music festivals. From the Fête de la Musique (Paris Street Music Festival) in June, to the Paris Jazz Festival, Lollapalooza Paris, and Rock en Seine, Paris simply rocks in summer. Cinema fans will enjoy the Open-Air Cinema held on the lawn of the Parc de La Villette. You can watch a selection of featured movies for free throughout the festival.

Paris is at the same time busier and quieter in summer

It sounds strange, we know, but Paris seems to be at the same time busier and quieter in summer. Due to the long summer holidays, many Parisians leave the city to spend their vacations somewhere else, making public transportation and downtown streets quieter. However, due to the flock of tourists who come to visit the capital city of France in summer, the most iconic landmarks (the Eiffel Tower and Le Louvre Museum for instance) host long waiting queues. Buying tickets online beforehand, going early morning, picking the best day to visit, and checking out lesser-known attractions are just a few of the tricks at hand to avoid the tourist crowds in Paris.

Summer Sale Season

Known as les soldes in French, summer sales are held between early July and the end of August. They offer you savings of between 30% and 70% on usual prices. Research ahead of time to find the store that offers the largest choice of articles you’re interested in. Be there early on the first day of the sales and get ready for some pushing and crushing. An interesting fact is that the discounts increase during the summer sales: around 30% on the first weeks, then around 60% mid-summer and eventually up to 80% at the end of August. This means you don’t need to rush and can still make excellent deals even at the end of the summer sales.

Picnic at the foot of the Eiffel Tower

The Parc du Champs de Mars (Field of Mars Park) is a 300,000 sq m public greenspace surrounding the Eiffel Tower. In summer, it offers one of the quirkiest places to enjoy a picnic and for lazing on the lawn at the foot of “the Iron Lady”. Grab a sandwich and a bottle of wine respectively at Le Champ des Délices and at Le Repaire de Bacchus on Rue Saint-Dominique, 300 metres away from the Champs de Mars. Then, find a spot on the grass to enjoy your meal in an unforgettable setting.

Best time for a Seine River cruise

It’s stating the obvious but the always popular Seine River cruises are even more enjoyable in summer. With temperatures ranging between 16°C and 25°C in July and August, the open-air upper deck of the bateaux mouches offers the perfect place to get a tan while sightseeing a great number of the most iconic landmarks of Paris, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, just to name a few.

People watch from a Parisian Terrace

Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy a drink on the terrace of a café in the centre of Paris. Simply sit back, sip your coffee and watch the world go by. Paris doesn’t lack of iconic cafés, but here is a short selection of 3 venues that I think you shouldn’t miss. 

  • Café de Flore, opened since 1880 on Boulevard Saint-Germain, is famous for having Pablo Picasso among its frequent patrons during the 1940s. 
  • Le Fouquet’s is a posh venue on the posh Avenue des Champs-Élysées. It’s a remarkable place to have a drink, but get ready for a steep bill at the end of it.
  • Café Beaubourg faces the Pompidou Centre on Rue Saint-Merri. The terrace is a great people watching spot in summer.

Explore Paris by Night

Paris by night takes another dimension due to the splendid lights that dress up most of its monuments and buildings. Its nickname, “the City of Lights”, is well earned. Summer and its warm temperatures allow you to comfortably explore the city after dark. Take a stroll along the Seine River between the Pont Neuf and the Pont de Sully. You’ll get some stunning views of the illuminated Notre-Dame Cathedral and of the vintage buildings that line the river banks. In case you do not fancy walking, note that Seine River cruises run until 10.30pm from April to September. 

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