The Best Things to Do in Paris in the Summer

The 10 Best Things to Do in Paris in the Summer

I usually recommend avoiding European cities in summer because temperatures can skyrocket over 37°C (100°F). But Paris is different. Between the middle of June and the end of August, the City of Light enjoys wonderfully warm temperatures that rarely peak over 77°F.

There are around 14 hours of daylight each day, and although there’s a 25% chance of rainfall, you’ll rarely experience anything more than a quick, light shower. It’s generally the perfect weather for sightseeing! 

If you want to avoid the crowds, I suggest visiting in June or the beginning of July. The city can get packed as the season progresses. Not only that, but some places in Paris shut down for the entire month of August, as many locals go on vacation at this time of year, giving you more limited options when it comes to restaurants and attractions.

There’s only so much online research you can do and it never compares to being in the location yourself – but that’s not always possible. So I’ve wandered through Paris’ cobblestone streets on your behalf, seeking out the top activities for the sunniest months of the year. 

Follow my recommendations for the best things to do in Paris in the summer, and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing vacation you’ll be telling people about for years to come! 

The 10 Best Things to Do in Paris in the Summer

1. Watch the Sunrise Behind the Eiffel Tower

Paris during Summer: Eiffel Tower

One of my favorite things to do in Paris in the summer is to watch the sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower. The sun rises around 5:50 am at this time of year, so you’ve got to get out of bed incredibly early, but it’s worth it for the spectacular scene that will be laid out before you.

The Trocadéro is my favorite spot to watch the sunrise. Although it’s pretty far from the Eiffel Tower, you can see all the gardens and ponds shimmer in front of it as the sun comes up from behind. It’s definitely the best spot for photos, and at that time in the morning, you’ll likely have the place all to yourself with the exception of a few photographers. 

2. Have a Lazy Beach Day

Things to do in Paris during Summer: Lazy Beach Day

A golden sandy beach is unlikely to be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Paris in the summertime, but just wait until you hear about Paris Plages. Between July and September each year, sections of the river banks along the Seine are transformed into beaches, complete with sun loungers, umbrellas, palm trees, and food kiosks.

Parc Rives de Seine lays out sun loungers on golden sand and lush grass, while La Villette Canal Basin opens up three pools in the river where you can take a dip. Pedalos, kayaks, and small boats are also available to rent. The best thing is that these spots are completely free to enjoy! 

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3. Go Shopping on Marché sur l’Eau

If you’re planning on cooking your own meals while on vacation in Paris in the summer, you’ve absolutely got to visit Marché sur l’Eau. This floating market appears at Place Stalingrad each Saturday between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm and each Tuesday between 6 pm and 8 pm. It’s onboard a huge barge laden with goodies you’ll definitely want to get your hands on.

One of my favorite spots to grab fresh, seasonal, and organic produce, Marché sur l’Eau is brimming with local fruits and vegetables that are excellent quality and available for reasonable prices. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything yourself, the floating market is still a cool thing to see. 

4. Watch the Fireworks on Bastille Day

Places to Visit in Paris during Summer: Bastille Day

Bastille Day is one of the biggest and best events that takes place in Paris in summer. Held on July 14th each year, this countrywide event is made up of a huge program that covers everything from serious military parades to street parties and phenomenal fireworks displays.

Locals traditionally pack a picnic and enjoy a lazy afternoon on this day at the Champ de Mars. If you’re planning on joining them, get there early because the park gets remarkably busy and alcohol consumption in most public areas is banned after 4 pm. Here you’ll be in the perfect position to watch the free open-air concerts in the early evening, followed by a spellbinding fireworks display at the base of the Eiffel Tower at night. 

5. Embrace Summer Nostalgia at La Fête Foraine des Tuileries

Parid during Summer: La Fete Foraine des Tuileries

Another one of my favorite things to do in summer in Paris is to spend a day at La Fête Foraine des Tuileries. This dreamy fair takes over the Jardin des Tuileries each year between the beginning of July and the end of August with nostalgia-inspired rides, fun-filled attractions, and delicious fair food.

If you’re brave enough, I definitely recommend going on the pendulum-style ride. Not only are you guaranteed sky-high thrills, but it also gives you a spectacular view over the city. If that’s too much for you, there’s also a vintage carousel that’s over 100 years old. Although you have to pay for the food and rides, entry into La Fête Foraine des Tuileries is free. 

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6. Enjoy a Picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg

Things to do in Paris during Summer: Jardin du Luxembourg

When you need a break from sightseeing, why not pack a picnic and spend the whole day lounging around the Jardin du Luxembourg? Stop by some small shops on your way to pick up local cheeses, some cured meats, a freshly baked baguette, a bottle of wine, and some paper cups, and you’ll be set for the day!

Not only is this park an excellent spot for people-watching, but it’s packed with things to do, too. There’s an orchard filled with fruit trees, an apiary where you can learn about beekeeping, and greenhouses home to hundreds of exotic orchids and beautiful roses. 

7. Be Left Speechless by La Nuit aux Invalides

Places to Visit in Paris during Summer: La Nuit Aux Invalides

There are loads of incredible things to do in Paris in summer after dark and La Nuit aux Invalides is one of the best. This immersive sound and light show takes place in the evenings throughout July and August outside the Hôtel des Invalides and is so remarkable that you’ll be left speechless for the rest of the night.

This immersive experience envelops you in light and sound, with cutting-edge technology used to create a phenomenal show. Each year, the display follows a different theme and tells a fascinating story about a complex part of French history. Dates and times vary, so check the official website before making concrete plans.

8. Watch an Outdoor Movie

The weather in Paris in the summer is perfect for watching a movie outdoors. My favorite spot to cuddle up under a blanket at an open-air movie theater is La Villette, but the event has been canceled in years past, so be sure to double-check. Fortunately, there are plenty of other places where you can catch a film outdoors.  

Chaise et l’Écran is an outdoor movie event that takes place each year in the 11th arrondissement. Although most movies are in French, they’ve all got English subtitles and entry is free. 

Festival Silhouette is another great one. It takes place toward the end of August in the Parc de la Butte du Chapeau-Rouge and is exclusively for short films. As an added bonus, there’s a concert before each movie screening! 

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9. Spend a Day at the Parc Nautique de l’Île de Monsieur

When the temperature spikes in Paris in summer, the Parc Nautique de l’Île de Monsieur is one of my favorite places to spend the day. Hidden far away from the center of the city, this laid-back ecological park is the perfect place to cool off and relax.

There’s a huge lake that’s perfect for sailing, kayaking, and other water sports. If you’d rather stay dry, it’s also home to plenty of friendly ducks, always on the lookout for corn, oats, or peas. 

Here you’ll also find a dedicated sunbathing area, beautiful gardens to explore, and many walking trails that lead you to all sorts of secret spots. There’s even a cute cafe that sells sandwiches, waffles, soft drinks, and wine, so you don’t have to worry about bringing a picnic. 

10. Dance All Night at the World’s Biggest Street Party

Paris During Summer: Fete de La Musique

If you’re planning on visiting Paris toward the end of June, you’ve got to check out Fête de la Musique. One of the most incredible festivals that takes place in Paris in the summertime, this music extravaganza began in Paris in 1982 and has since spread around the world!

Every year on June 21st, Paris completely transforms into the party capital of Europe. Take a walk around the city and you’ll stumble upon live music gigs practically everywhere, from parks, theaters, and bars to street corners and even balconies. 

The most impressive performances take place at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Petit Palais, Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries, Place Denfert Rochereau, the Louvre, and along the banks of the Seine. 

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There you have it! The 10 best things to do in Paris in the summer. What’s your favorite summer activity in the City of Light?

About the Author:

  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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