The most popular time to visit Paris is in the summer. Terraces are open, the gardens are in full bloom, and the sun is shining. While it’s one of my favorite times of the year, it can also be unbearably hot and overcrowded with tourists. So, what’s the best way to visit Paris in the summer? After having lived in Paris for several years, I know how to beat the heat, escape the crowds, and truly enjoy this magnificent city. And, to help you plan your trip, I’ve put together my favorite things to see and do in Paris this summer.
Best Things to Do in Paris in Summer Guide
1. Enjoy the Views at the Montparnasse Tower
The best 360 panoramic view of Paris is, without a doubt, from the observation deck at the Montparnasse Tower. From here you can clearly see the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur, and the Cathedral de Notre Dame. Tickets start at 15€ for adults, and while it might seem expensive, you won’t get views like this anywhere else.
Address: 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris
Closest Metro Station: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe (Lines 4, 6, 12, and 13)
2. Enjoy the Open-air Street Art Gallery on Boulevard 13
Since its debut in 2009, the Boulevard Paris 13 open-air street art gallery has been attracting major urban artists from around the world. In fact, it offers one of the most impressive collections of street art in the city. And, as the name suggests, you can find this free open-air gallery in the 13th arrondissement. It’s not only a great outdoor activity to do in Paris, but it’s also away from the crowds. For a map detailing the location and description of each piece of artwork, click here.
Closest Metro Station: Nationale (Line 6)
3. Eat Aligot at L’Auberge Aveyronnaise
Aligot is a fondue-like dish that hails from the Aveyron department of France. It consists of cheese blended into mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic. It’s a mouthwatering indulgence that is an absolute must. And the best place to find this delicious dish in Paris is at L’Auberge Aveyronnaise. Not only is the food delicious here, but the ambiance in the restaurant is welcoming and friendly. It’s like you’re eating with friends and family. If you are hanging out near Bercy, you should stop by for lunch or dinner. You won’t regret it!
Address: 40 Rue Gabriel Lamé, 75012 Paris
Closest Metro Station: Bercy (Lines 6 and 14)
4. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Located in the heart of the highest district in Paris is the second most visited monument, the Sacré-Cœur. While it might seem like an average basilica, the Sacré-Cœur has both political and cultural significance. In 1870, after Napoleon’s army was defeated, the capital was overtaken. These unfortunate events were seen as punishment from God. So, to save the city, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica was constructed.
Entrance to the church is free, but there is a small fee to visit the dome and the crypt. I, personally, would recommend going at night. It’s less crowded and the views are spectacular.
Closest Metro Station: Anvers (Line 2)
5. Walk around Bercy Village
Looking for a break from the chaos? Then, Bercy Village is for you! It’s located in the 12th arrondissement, far from the main tourist attractions. Here you will find gardens, parks, and a fantastic outdoor shopping space with a range of boutiques and cafés. And, if you looking to escape the heat, it has a great movie theater.
Closest Metro Station: Bercy (Lines 6 and 14) or Cour Saint-Émilion (Line 14)
6. Visit the Louvre
It’s true that there is no shortage of museums in Paris. They are all spectacular and full of magnificent works of art. And, while it might be cliché, my favorite is the Louvre. Yes, it’s crowded and, yes, the lines are long. But it’s worth it! The Louvre is not only the largest art museum in the world, but it also houses one of the most iconic paintings – the Mona Lisa. Tickets cost 17€ and can be purchased online here.
- There are a lot of websites like GetYourGuide that claim to have deals for attractions like the Louvre. This is not an official ticket, use the museum website.
- The Louvre, along with many other museums in Paris, is free on the first Sunday of the month. For more information, check out free museums and monuments in Paris.
Closest Metro Station: There are several entry points depending on your ticket type. For detailed directions, visit the Louvre’s website: here.
7. Go Swimming at Aquaboulevard
Summers in Paris can be stifling! And what better way to escape the heat than by going for a swim? Aquaboulevard is an indoor-outdoor water park full of water slides, waterfalls, and wave pools. There’s even a separate adult section for those who want something quieter.
Useful Tip: They have strict rules on attire. Carefully read their website so you are not forced to buy an overpriced swimsuit at the door!
Closest Metro Station: Balad (Line 8)
8. Picnic at Bois de Vincennes
When I need a breath of fresh air and want to escape the city, I go picnicking in Bois de Vincennes. This park is my personal sanctuary. It’s full of walking paths, biking trails, and gardens. Bois de Vincennes is also home to Parc Floral de Paris, Château Vincennes, the largest Buddha in Europe! If you are looking to spend a day away from the city center, then this is the place for you.
Closest Metro Stations:
Bois de Vincennes: Porte Dorée (Line 8)
Parc Floral de Paris and Château Vincennes: Château Vincennes (Line 1)
9. Enjoy Music and Drinks at Le Glaz’art
Le Glaz’art is a bar and concert venue in the 19th arrondissement. In the summer, the outdoor area is transformed into a sandy beach with lounge chairs. It’s the perfect place to relax, have a drink, and enjoy some good music. Friday and Saturday night are the busiest times, while Sunday afternoon is the quietest.
Closest Metro Station: Porte de la Villette (Line 7, Exit 4)
10. Visit the Eiffel Tower at Sunrise
Since its debut in 1889 at the World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower has become a cultural icon of France. It’s even the most-visited paid monument in the world. So, it’s safe to say that the Eiffel Tower is a must-see in Paris.
The next question is: where is the best place to see the Iron Lady? My favorite spot to see the Eiffel Tower is at Trocadero at sunrise. Here you will have a perfect view and the entire place yourself.
Closest Metro Station: Trocadero (Line 6)
11. Take a Stroll in Parc de la Villette
Parc de la Villette was created to be a social environment. So, this is not your typical park. And, because its design focuses on enhancing the social experience, there is a mix of everything. From gardens and playgrounds to modern architecture and theaters, Parc de la Villette has it all!
There are also a variety of events that are held here throughout the year. For a complete list of activities visit La Villette.
Closest Metro Station: La Courneuve (Line 7)
12. Visit the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is a historic monument honoring all those who died for France in the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary Wars. And, beneath its vault, lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War 1. For an unencumbered view of this magnificent structure, visit early in the morning. The afternoon crowds from the Champs-Elysees can be suffocating.
Closest Metro Station: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (RER A) or George V (Line 1)
13. Dine at Il Capriccio
Saying that there are a lot of restaurants in Paris is an understatement. The streets are lined with so many options, it’s impossible to know which one to choose. And they all claim to be the ‘best.’ But, after living in Paris for 3 years, there’s only one restaurant that can claim this title – Il Capriccio. This Italian eatery is divine. The food bursts with flavor and, when paired with a glass of red wine, it’s to die for. Given how good this place is, you would expect to pay a lot, but that’s not the case. You won’t pay more than 15€ for a three-course meal!
Address: 116 Boulevard de Charonne, 75020 Paris
Closest Metro Station: Alexandre Dumas (Line 2)
14. Walk along La Coulée Verte
If you are looking for an escape from the busy and overcrowded streets, then check out La Coulée Verte. This 4.5-kilometer walkway was constructed from an old railway line that was decommissioned in 1969. It, now, sits above the 12th arrondissement offering beautiful views of the streets below. Even more impressive is the lush green gardens full of colorful flowers. It’s like an escape from the city without ever leaving!
Closest Metro Station: Gare de Lyon (Lines 1 and 14)
15. Go Zip-Lining at Accrocamp Adventure Park
If you are looking for the ultimate adventure, then Accrocamp Adventure Park is for you. There are rope bridges, climbing walls, and zip lines intertwined among the treetops. There is even a mini-bungee jump! On a hot summer day, it’s the perfect way to escape the heat while pretending to be Tarzan.
Even though Accrocamp Adventure Park is on the edge of Paris, it’s easily accessible. And I can’t recommend it enough!
Address: Parc Forestier de la Mare Adam – Route des Huit Bouteilles, 92370 Chaville
Closest Metro Station: Chaville – Vélizy (RER C)
16. Stroll Down the Most Beautiful Streets in Paris
I’m always on the lookout for undiscovered gems, especially in well-known cities like Paris. And, after years of exploring, I’ve found some of the most beautiful streets in Paris. Here you will find hanging gardens, colorful doorways, and solitude. If you are looking to get off-the-beaten-path, these streets are for you!
So, here are the most beautiful streets in Paris:
- Rue des Thermopyles
- Cité Bauer
- Villa Seurat
- Villa d’Alésai
- Rue du Moulin Vert
Closest Metro Station: Alésia (Line 4)
How to Get Around Paris in the Summer
The best way to get around Paris in the summer is to walk. It’s a great way to see the city and explore streets off-the-beaten-path. And when it’s sizzling hot with 100% humidity, you don’t want to be stuck on a non-air-conditioned bus or train. Believe me!
If you prefer to use public transportation, then the metro is the best option. It’s cheap, easy, and efficient. There are 16 metro lines in Paris, and the entrance is indicated by a large letter ‘M’. Tickets can be bought from inside the station at a kiosk and cost €1.90 each (€14.50 for 10 (‘un carnet’)).
Here is a complete map of the trains, buses, and metros in Paris.
Useful Tip: In general, the metro is very hot in the summer. Lines 1, 5, and 14 are the only ones with air conditioning.
Why I Love Paris in Summer
Paris holds a special place in my heart. It’s the place where I learned French, found my home away from home, and fell in love with France. In summer, Paris is full of life. Terraces are open, it’s the perfect time to have a picnic in one of the many parks, and the sun is almost always shining. Even though I live in Strasbourg, I go back to Paris as often as I can. So, this list is made from my favorite things to see and do in Paris during the summer. Some are cliché and some are off-the-beaten-path, but, either way, I can guarantee you will have fun. Hopefully, this guide will inspire you and help you plan your next trip to the City of Lights!
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Read More Travel Articles on France
I hope you enjoyed my list of things to do in Paris this summer and found it useful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.
- How I Got My Long-Stay Visa (Spouse of a French Citizen)
- The Best Things to Do in Colmar
- 14 Things to See and Do in Alsace (France)
Have questions about visiting Paris this summer? Send me a message in the comments below!
Interested in more travel tips and tricks? Check out my other posts for more travel tips!