Summer in Paris
Our guide to falling in love with 'The City of Light' in the sunshine
Make the most of summer in Paris
Summer is always a great time to visit Paris, the weather is usually pretty good and, unlike many big cities, there are lots of things to do outdoors in and around the city center.
If you're a sun-worshipper, head down to Paris Plages, beaches set up on the banks of the Seine every summer with sand, deckchairs, palm trees and bikini-clad locals soaking up the rays.
There are also lots of leafy parks sprinkled across the different districts, perfect for walks, sport, picnics or just lying in the shade enjoying a good book. You can easily pick up the makings of a picnic in one of the many food markets dotted across the city then head for the nearest green space to relax or get active.
If shopping is more your thing, there are plenty of bargains to be had browsing the flea markets around Paris, they're a lot less busy during the summer and they stay open in August.
When you're all shopped out, make your way to the river and enjoy those long summer evenings over an apéro on one of the many boat bars moored along the Seine and watch the sun go down over one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Best parks in Paris
Best for romantic picnics
Park des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris 75019
Sprawling, craggy Buttes-Chaumont is in the north-east of the city – off the tourist trail, but well worth the detour. Set in an old quarry, it’s dotted with grottoes, cliffs and twisting paths, making it the perfect place to escape the crowds. Great for a lovers picnic by the lake with tiny, romantic Temple de la Sibylle perched above you.
The terrace of the bar at the Pavillon du Lac is the perfect place for une coupe de Champagne on a long summer's evening, or stop for a sundowner at Rosa Bonheur, a friendly guinguette on the other side of the park that’s open Thursday to Sunday.
Best for sport and activities
A former royal hunting ground on the eastern edge of the city, Bois de Vincennes is Paris’s largest park. It takes in four lakes, a Buddhist temple, a zoo and an arboretum, along with the fragrant gardens of the Parc Floral – so there’s something for everyone.
There are plenty of chances to relax, have fun or play sports. The Parc Floral is a family paradise with its play areas, including 18-hole mini golf, slides and ping-pong tables. The Parc Floral also offers many free events, especially in the summer, including the Paris Jazz Festival. For the more active there’s boating on one of the lakes, several Velib bike hire stations, walking trails, bike paths and horse racing at the Hippodrome.
Best for coffee outside
Petit-Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
Within throwing distance of the wonderfully symmetrical yet undeniably touristy Jardin des Tuileries, lies the Petit Palais and its courtyard cafe-garden. Shaded between the towering plinths of the building, the garden’s tables and chairs face a mix of palm and banana trees that bring a rather tropical feel to this tiny Parisian jungle.
Take time out from visiting exhibitions and stop off in this haven of peace and tranquillity to boost your caffeine levels and catch up with the news.