Summer in Paris is a magical time. The landscapes of Paris in summer look they were pulled straight out of a desktop wallpaper. The sky glows with brilliant blue hues, the lawns and gardens verdant, and the city is awash with golden sunlight. The city is at its picturesque best in the summer and every turn offers a photo opportunity. In other words, summers in Paris are always a good idea.
The summer month of August is a peculiar month to visit Paris. While there’s no shortage of visitors to Paris in August, most of the locals disappear for les grandes vacances, a month-long vacation.
This is also a time when the world descends on the romantic city of Paris to explore and enjoy its many offerings. The city plays host to summer music festivals, national holiday parades and food festivals. Here is our guide on what to expect in Paris in summer, the best places to visit France’s most romantic city, and how to make the most of your holiday.
Summer in Paris: Reason to Visit
Enjoy long sightseeing days
Summer is one of the best seasons to travel to Paris; it is a haven for those craving sunshine and balmy weather. The gardens and parks are verdant with blooming flowers and sprightly trees, making for great picnic spots.
Even a beach springs up in Paris during the Paris Plages, when the banks of the Seine River, one of Paris’s must-see destinations, turn into sandy beaches. You can find open-air movie screenings like the one at Parc de La Villette. The days are also long with sun rising at around 6:30 AM and setting only around 9:00 PM leaving ample time for sightseeing and making the most of outdoor activities.
Summer festivities and events galore
Paris in summer is packed with special events and festivals. In June you can participate in the Paris Pride Parade, French Open, Fete de la Musique and We Love Green music festival. In July, there is Bastille Day when you will see Parisians out with their national flags.
In August, the city hosts the Rock En Seine Festival (open air rock music festival) and French national holidays like Assumption Day and Liberation Day when parades float through the city.
Summer markets and shopping sales
Paris has two primary sale seasons: summer and winter. During the summer — between late July and August — most retail stores including high-fashion boutiques offer massive discounts. Amidst the shopping, stop by local markets like Marche d’Aligre, Marche Bastille, and Marche Bourse for some fresh produce, handmade goods and souvenirs.
Paris summer day trips
Summer promises long days, which are convenient for taking some lovely day trips from Paris. The green landscapes are fertile and offer scenic views, ideal for photography. Some of the best destinations are Loire Valley Castles of Chambord, Chenonceau, Amboise, Monet’s estate in Giverny, Palace of Versailles, Normandy and D-Day beaches, Reims Champagne region and the abbey of Mont St. Michel.
Paris in August: the upside
There are some major benefits to visiting Paris in the summertime.
- First, the city empties of locals, meaning that you’re far more likely to be able to find a furnished apartment for rent. Staying in an apartment rather than a hotel makes Paris feel much more like home, and you can even visit its markets and cook up a Parisian dinner.
- Since many of Paris’ locals disappear, the metro is far less crowded than it would be at other points in the year, making it far more pleasant to get out and visit your favorite spots.
- You’ll also be able to take full advantage of Paris’ parks, given the good weather. Paris has over 400 parks, each of which has different offerings, from puppet shows to people watching to picnicking locales.
And parks aren’t the only outdoor activities to enjoy in Paris. Sidewalk cafés or even just wandering through Paris’ streets (with an ice cream cone in hand, if you like!) are the perfect places to benefit from Paris’ August weather.
Summers in Paris: Wine tourism activities & more
If you’re spending one – or multiple – summers in Paris, why not make some time for some world-renowned wine tourism in Paris, too? There are very nice domaines to visit not far from the capital! For example, we advise you to say hi to the Domaine de la Bouche du Roi, only 30 minutes away from the city.
Paris in August, the Downside
Let’s finish with the bad news, which is not so bad with a little planning:
- On the downside, visitors who arrive in Paris in August will note that many things are closed for summers in Paris.
- Larger museums will remain open. But many restaurants, cafés, grocery stores, and bakeries close for the entire month of August.
- This means that planning is even more important when you visit Paris in August. To avoid disappointment be sure to call the restaurants you want to eat at well in advance to make a reservation.
But that’s not the only downside to a Paris summer. For example, most years, Paris is quite warm in summertime. During this season, tourists, particularly Americans, will notice that the city is missing something that seems essential to warm-weather survival in other parts of the world: air conditioning.
You won’t find it most places in Paris, even in many hotels and restaurants. Even when places have it, temperatures are usually kept much warmer than you’re used to back home.
FAQs & useful resources
How do I get around Paris in summer?
As one of the largest cities in Europe, commuting within Paris can seem overwhelming. Luckily, the city’s public transport system is extensive, well-connected, and affordable. Your most economical option would be to purchase a Paris Pass; it offers travelers easy access to popular attractions and free transport between two to six days.
A single one way t+ ticket starts at €1.90 and can be used across Metro, RER, Bus, Trams and Montmartre funicular. You can purchase it at the Metro station, the official Parisinfo website or RATP authorized sellers.
Here are the best public transportation options:
– Metro: With over 300 stations and 16 connectivity lines, the Paris metro system is ideal for first time travelers. The frequency is high and trains are punctual. The Metro operates from 6:00 AM to 12:45 AM (Sunday to Thursday) and till 1:45 AM on Friday and Saturday. The popular Metro stations are Gare du Nord (Lines – 4, 5), Châtelet (Metro Lines – 1, 4, 7,11, 14), Montparnasse – Bienvenüe (4, 6,12, 13), République(3, 5, 8,9, 11) and Saint-Lazare (3, 12,13, 14) which can be used to change lines.
-RER: The RER is a regional express train and goes into suburbs as far as Versailles and Disneyland Paris. It has fewer stations within the city unlike the Metro and is meant for long distance travel; you can interchange between Metro and RER using the same ticket/pass. It has about 250 stations across five lines.
– Bus: There are over 64 bus lines across day and night routes. The buses run daily from 7:00 AM to 12:30 AM and then the night bus takes over from 12:30 AM to 7:00 AM, ideal to get around after a late partying. One of the biggest bus stations is Paris-Gallieni International Bus Station, from where you can take local as well as inter-city buses.
– Bicycle: Velib is the bike sharing service started by the city and is quite perfect for summer. You can pick and drop a bicycle from one of the 1,400 bicycle stations in the city. Prices start from €1 for 30 minutes for a manual cycle and €2 for 30 minutes for an electric cycle. You can also purchase passes which start at €5 for one day.
You can also use trams and taxis if you are staying in the suburbs.
Where to stay in Paris in Summer?
To accommodate the millions of tourists every year, Paris offers a host of stay options, catering to every budget and taste. Whether you’re looking for backpacker-friendly hostels, luxury accommodations or just cosy homestays, Paris will not disappoint.
Here are some choices for staying in Paris:
– Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower Hotel: The hotel is just 50m away from the Eiffel and its rooms offer spectacular balcony views of the tower. The hotel is walking distance to Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel RER Station and close to upscale restaurants. Customers love the breakfast service and sleek, modern rooms.
– Novotel Paris Les Halles: A part of the international hotel chain, Novotel Paris Les Halles has a stellar reputation in customer service. The hotel is just 650m away from Pont Neuf and Sainte Chappelle, with easy access to public transport. Novotel has arty decor and the rooms are well-equipped with state-of-the-art amenities.
– Hotel Mercure Paris Notre Dame Saint Germain des Prés: The hotel is in the Latin Quarter which is known for its quaint cafes, bookshops and great architecture. It is within walking distance of Notre Dame and Le Jardin du Luxembourg. Visitors love the modern rooms and the 24×7 lounge bar.
– Hotel de Londres Eiffel: This is a pretty boutique hotel right across the gardens of Champ de Mars, about 1 km away from the Eiffel Tower. The building was constructed to host the works of Eiffel itself! Guests love the typical French ambience of the rooms along with modern interiors.
– La Maison Favart: The hotel is fashioned in old French mansion-style and has elegant room designed with 18th Century decor. It is within walking distance of Galeries Lafayette and Opera Garnier and is in the middle of the entertainment district.
– Hotel Muguet: Guests love the hospitality of Hotel Muguet and its access to famous landmarks in Paris. It is within walking distance to Champ de Mars, Musee D’Orsay and Latin Quarter. The classic rooms are warm and decorated with a contemporary style.
– Hotel de L’Union: One of the best budget hotels in the city, Hotel de L’Union is located in the 20th Arrondissement. It is just 400m from Buzenval Metro that can take you directly to all the landmarks in the city. The hotel is ideal for families and also has studios with kitchenettes.
– Les Piaules: This hostel is located just 160m away from Couronnes Metro station and within 5 km of Louvre and Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The hostel has dorm beds and private rooms with options for shared and private washrooms. Guests love the rooftop terrace views!
– St Christopher’s Inn Gare du Nord: One of the best hostels in Paris, travellers prefer this hostel due to its location since it’s situated right opposite the Gare Du Nord transport hub. The hostel has dorm rooms as well private rooms and is located within 2.5 km of Moulin Rouge and Centre Pompidou.
Traveling essentials for Paris in summer
– Flat shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking so pack comfortable sneakers or street shoes. Ideally, also carry rain-proof shoes for days when it’s overcast and raining.
– Clothing: Summer clothing like dresses, shorts and t-shirts are best for the day. You can also pack in a raincoat or windcheater for rainy days. Also, carry full-length shirts/tops and pants for visiting places of worship and dress clothes for a night out on the town at the opera or cabaret.
– Day pack: Carry a small backpack with just essentials like travel documents, tickets, wallet and a water bottle. You will not be able to check in large baggage at most tourist attractions.
– Sun protection: Make sure you carry sunscreen as it can get quite hot during mid-July and August. Carry an umbrella; it will be good for both the sun and rain. Sunglasses, hats and scarves will come handy during outdoor activities like cruises and walking tours.
Seasonal delicacies in Paris
Indulge in local French delicacies during your stay in Paris. With fresh produce coming in every summer, Parisian food is flavoured with crisp, delicious ingredients.
Here are a few dishes you must try during your trip:
– Escargot: Snails are considered a local favorite in Paris. Escargot, made with fresh snails cooked in butter and bourguignonne sauce, is a delight for the soul.
– Bouillabaisse: A summer favorite of the French, this stew-like dish is made with fish and the choicest of summer vegetables like leeks, celery, tomatoes and potatoes.
– Madeleines: This shell-shaped sponge cake is a delicate pastry that is popular in summer. They are made with orange or lemon zests and are often served with cherry glaze and desiccated coconut.
– Salad Nicoise: This salad feels like summer in a bowl! It is an assortment of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives and anchovies, drizzled with lots of olive oil.
– Clafoutis: Essentially a pie, this dessert is made with the season’s best fruits like cherries, plums, prunes, apples, cranberries and pears. It is served warm with a topping of cream.
– Pain au chocolat: Literally translated to ‘chocolate pastry’, this is a puff pastry filled with dark chocolate. They make for a great snack on the go and can be found in any boulangerie or bakery.
– Gelato: A delightfully chill cone of gelato will leave you refreshed on a summer afternoon. Gelato is an Italian dessert but is commonly found in the streets of Paris as well. Choose original flavors like pistachio, espresso and chocolate.
– Falafel: Falafels are small spiced chickpea balls, fried to perfection. You can eat these directly with sauce or get them wrapped in a sandwich or pita for a filling on-the-go snack.