12 Fantastic Ways to Enjoy Summer in Paris

12 Fantastic Ways to Enjoy Summer in Paris

summer in Paris
Paris Plages © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

We absolutely love summer in Paris! There’s less traffic, it’s buzzing with smiling people (mostly), and the city looks dazzling under the sun. It’s the best time of year to enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities. So, grab your sunglasses, slap on some sunscreen, and double-check the most current opening times and dates for each attraction before heading out.

Note: Some links lead to French websites; here’s how you can translate websites into English.

1. Kickoff the Paris Summer Olympics Now! 

The countdown begins with one year to go to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to be held July 26 to September 8. This will be the 6th time France has hosted, and each time, the French have broken barriers with innovative planning.

But you don’t have to wait to feel the excitement and emotion of the world’s largest sporting event. The Formes Olympiques Festival, organized by the City of Paris, offers a stimulating summer with over 50 free artistic and sporting events, held outdoors or in municipal facilities from June to September 2023. The festival aims to promote popular culture by establishing a dialogue between the artistic and sporting worlds.

The highlights of the Cultural Olympiad program are concentrated over three weekends: June 23 to 25, the second half of August and the Heritage Days on September 16 and 17. One of the most anticipated events is an innovative opera where apneists and artistic swimmers will perform in the pool and a “Concerto Marathon” where classical music soloists in sportswear will perform pieces. Exhibitions, sports initiations and film screenings are also must-sees. To see the full list and dates, click HERE.

Testing of Olympic sites begin this summer. Keep your eye out for golf, tennis and breakdancing in and around the French capital. And if you’re in Marseille, enjoy the International Sailing Competition July 9-16, where Olympic organizers are observing and testing the Mediterranean’s beautiful waters.

Watch out for big announcements over three days on July 24, 25 and 26 when the Paris 2024 organizing committee celebrates the official one-year-in kickoff!

Outdoor swimming in Paris at the Bassin Villette east of Paris. © AnaESilva

2. Hit the Beach… in Paris

A summer rendez-vous not to miss, Paris Plages will be back this year from July 8 to August 27, 2023, when the banks of the Seine River, the La Villette canal basin and Trocadero gardens are transformed into a waterfront resort for two months. Get ready to enjoy plenty of FREE outdoor entertainment, cultural activities, sports-related events and refreshments for the whole family! Prefer to just chill out? Bring a bottle of cold rosé, grab a deck chair and watch the sunset along the water.

Some highlights this year:

Along the banks of the Seine (between Pont Neuf and Pont au Change):

  • Tai-Chi classes from 10am to 12pm daily at the foot of Pont-Neuf.
  • Babyfoot (Foosball/Table Soccer) daily from 1pm to 7pm under the bridge of Notre-Dame.
  • Pétanque games at the foot of the Pont Louis-Philippe (4th arr.) daily from 10am to 10pm.
  • Coaching for runners on Sundays from 10am to 12pm at the foot of Pont Louis-Philippe (4th arr.).
  • Giant board games from 11am to 6pm daily in front of the Hôtel de Ville.

In the La Villette canal basin (19th arrondissement):

  • Need to cool off? Plunge into one of several swimming pools or enjoy water sports including canoeing, kayak polo, stand-up paddle, pedal boats, and more…
  • For younger kids, there’ll also be climbing, trampolines, a toy library, an open-air library, and lots of other fun entertainment.

Pools in Paris
Le Molitor Pool in Paris. © Agence Nuel Gilles Trillard

3. Swim in the Sun

In Paris

Want to work on your tan while swimming under the sun? You might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of open-air swimming pools in Paris! The fabulous floating Piscine Josephine Baker (13th arr.) with a riverside view and ozone-filtered Piscine Keller (15th arr.) are affordable public pools with sliding roofs that open up on warm, sunny days. The historic Piscine de la Butte-aux-Cailles (13th arr.) also has an outdoor pool open all year round

Looking for a Parisian hotel with an open-air pool? Book a staycation at the Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel which opens its pool’s rooftop on warm days. You can also book a Clarins Spa treatment or a stay at the Hotel Molitor to gain access to the hotel’s iconic outdoor pool, which was featured in the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris.

Or check out the Aquaboulevard waterpark (15th arr.) with a wave pool, wakeboarding simulator and an outdoor beach

In the suburbs of Paris

On the outskirts of Paris, the Piscine Boulogne-Billancourt and the Piscine des Murs à Pêches in Montreuil are amongst those which have large outdoor pools with water slides for the kiddos and areas for sunbathing. 

For more ideas about where to take a dip, check out our post: The Coolest Paris Pools on a Budget

© Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

4. Eat, Drink and Dance Along the Seine River!

Do you like to tango, twist or salsa? Perhaps you’re more into rock ‘n roll, electro or techno. On summer evenings, you’ll catch local dancers strutting their stuff or just swinging to music across the city. And there’s plenty of variety for all tastes.

Serious dancers head to the Jardin Tino Rossi along the banks of Port Saint-Bernard (5th arr.), where hundreds of dancers show up spontaneously to dance the night away.

For laid-back family fun

To drink, eat, listen to music or dance in a festive, laid-back outdoor atmosphere, you’ll love guingettes (open-air cafés/dance halls) like Rosa Bonheur sur Seine along Quai d’Orsay (7th arr.), sister to the original Rosa Bonheur in the Parc Buttes-Chaumont (19th arr.).

For a more bohemian feel, don’t miss the outdoor arts and culture hangout, Javelle Tavern (12th arr.), which serves drinks and food al fresco while you enjoy musical concerts, dancing, yoga classes, or even get a haircut! 

For the trendier set

Looking for something a bit hipper? Chill out aboard Off Paris Seine, Paris’ first floating hotel and bar, moored at the foot of the Austerlitz train station. Enjoy panoramic views over the Seine River while sipping on cocktails and partying all night at Café Oz Rooftop, an expansive Australian bar and nightclub, or Wanderlust on the rooftop of the contemporary Cité de la Mode et du Design (City of Fashion and Design) on Quai d’Austerlitz in the 13th arrondissement.  

Peniche eau et reves
Photo: l’Eau et les Rêves

5. Discover Paris’ Canal Culture

L’été du Canal (19th arr.)
July 8 to August 13, 2023

Discover the city’s canalside culture through this trendier sister to Paris Plages along the banks of the Canal l’Ourcq! Enjoy a host of sports and cultural activities, from beaches to watersports and eclectic musical concerts to street-art, music and food-themed cruises, and outdoor cinema all along the waterfront.

Peniche Antipode 

Along the Quai de Seine, discover the péniche (houseboat) run by the Abracadabra theatre company, which presents entertaining shows for kids during the day. Its bar, café and restaurant serve up only artisanal and fair-trade products. And when night falls, adults come for drinks on their deck, events and concerts – which run the musical gamut from jazz to rock, reggae, blues and funk – and party down to DJ music late into the night.

Peniche Librairie L’eau et les rêves  

Kids and nautical lovers adore this marine-themed bookshop on water with quaint furniture, theater workshops and a dedicated kids’ area. You’ll find this floating library docked along Quai de l’Oise in the 19th arrondissement. Check their website for author signings!

Bar Ourcq  

For a truly chilled-out French experience, slip on your flip-flops and shorts and head out for a boozy round of pétanque at the Bar Ourcq on the banks of the canal in the 19th. This popular bar welcomes guests on its summer terrace with lounge chairs, music, cheap beer and tapas, wi-fi, and pétanque balls. The best part is you get to refuel with beer or wine in between matches!

Summer Activities in Paris
Photo: LPLT/ Wikimedia Commons

6. Book a Private Boat Trip

Pilot Your Own Electric Boat on a Canal (19th arr.)

Discover a new side of Paris by renting an electric, self-drive boat from Marin d’eau Douce at the Bassin de la Villette, the Canal Saint Martin or the Canal de l’Ourcq. These boats don’t require a permit, and allow you to follow a set itinerary, which lasts from one hour to a whole day. You can even order hampers for picnics or aperitifs in advance, moor at a pier and take a break on the grass to eat and play pétanque, badminton or mölkki (skittles). Boats accommodate from 5-11 people, so you can make it a family or corporate outing.

Enjoy Sunset Apéro on a Lovely Lake in the Woods (16th arr.)

For a unique evening book a private boat ride on a lake for drinks and a typical French apéro as you discover the secrets of the lovely Bois de Boulogne, while serenaded by music. The Chalet des Îles will even prepare a picnic basket with bread, sausage, Camembert and goat cheese, artisanal chips and a bottle of wine.
Departures from 7pm, and it costs 70€ per head for 2 to 6 people. Book through Chalet des Îles by email: [email protected], or telephone: 01 42 88 04 69.

Summer Activities in Paris
© Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

7. Stroll Along the Seine

Take a leisurely stroll, jog, bike, or rollerblade along the 2.3 km pedestrian-friendly left bank of the Seine River. Stretching from the Musée D’Orsay to Pont d’Alma, the Parc Rives de Seine has nature, sport and leisure activities and restaurants open all year round. But it’s during the warmer summer months that you can really take advantage of all that this UNESCO World Heritage site has to offer. From kid-friendly activities to floating gardens to specially-designated sports zones, there’s enough to keep the whole family entertained.

Summer activities in Paris
Open air cinema festival at La Villette. Photo: LaVillette.com

8. Catch a Film Al Fresco

How romantic! Catch a flick on a big screen while enjoying apéritifs in the grass at one of the outdoor cinema festivals around the Paris region.

Cinéma en Plein Air (Open Air Cinema) at Parc de la Villette
July 20 to August 20, 2023

One of the most popular local outdoor film festivals, the Cinema en Plein Air (Open-air cinema) at Parc de la Villette kicks off every evening when night falls. Movies are screened in their original language, with French subtitles. For details and program, visit the WEBSITE.

Cinéma Paradiso Louvre
July 6 to 9, 2023

For four evenings in July, the courtyard of the Louvre museum becomes the magnificent setting of international film screenings, concerts, and DJ sets, plus a gourmet food court. Tickets are by lottery, so try your luck by registering on the WEBSITE

Chamarande Outdoor Cinema
Saturdays July 29 to August 19, 2023

About an hour south of Paris, the beautiful Chateau de Chamarande screens family-friendly films on Saturday evenings after sundownPick a spot on the grass and enjoy. All movies are free and shown in French. Make the visit a full day trip and enjoy the chateau’s summer activities that include circus, dance, street arts and music. For details and programming, visit the WEBSITE.

9. Revel in an Outdoor Spectacle

fireworks-Eiffel Tower
© Yann Caradec/Wikimedia Commons

Bastille Day (French National Day) Fireworks – July 14

Best Places to Watch in Central Paris

Who doesn’t love fireworks? The biggest feu d’artifices display of the summer in Paris takes place on July 14, when fireworks are launched from the Eiffel Tower and the Jardins du Trocadéro. Head out early to grab a spot with the best view!

Alternatively, position yourself across the river in the Jardins du Trocadéro, or the Esplanade du Trocadéro. If you don’t mind spending some money to have more elbow room, book a table on the terrace of the Café of the Musée de l’Homme. Or splurge for a dinner cruise on the Bateaux Mouches Parisiens, or Péniche La Sans-Soucis and cruise right under the fireworks!

For a spectacular, bird’s eye view of the 35-minute show and a panoramic view of Paris, head to the observation deck of Tour Montparnasse (14th) or splurge on drinks or dinner at the Ciel de Paris restaurant. Book anything requiring reservations ASAP though!

Summer activities in Paris
Photo: Tyler Alex/ Wikimedia Commons

Musical Fountains Show at the Versailles Palace
Every Saturday and Sunday through Oct 29, 2023 (plus Friday, July 14 and Tuesday, August 15)

For a uniquely French experience, witness the dazzling Fountains Night Show, a light and music show in the royal gardens of the Château de Versailles. Take a romantic stroll through the illuminated gardens as the fountains “dance” to the sound of music, and top off the evening with a grand fireworks display in front of the Grand Canal. For details and reservations visit their WEBSITE.

Garden Parvis Festival at La Défense © Garden Parvis

10. Jam at an Arts or Music Festival

Paris l’été
July 10 to 30, 2023

You’ll have a blast exploring different quartiers (neighborhoods) of Paris during this month-long, citywide festival packed with art, music and theater. From dance to circus to avant-garde performance, there’s something to suit everyone. Most tickets are under €30, with further reductions if you buy a pass. Visit the event WEBSITE for the full program and reservations. 

Garden Parvis – La Défense
June 29 to July 29, 2023

Head to La Défense on the western edge of Paris for a festival on the public square dedicated to food, drinks, music and “chill.” A packed program features concerts, sports, pop-up shops, food trucks, wellness workshops, creative activities for kids, and much more. Visit the WEBSITE for details.

Summer Activities in Paris
‘Siestes Electroniques’ at the Musée du Quai Branly. Photo: Jean Jacques Ader/ Parisinfo.com

11. Escape to a Summer Garden

Summer Garden at the Musée du Quai Branly (7th)
July and August 2023

Escape to the tropics in the outdoor garden of the Musée du Quai Branly. Explore the trails and enjoy viewing the 169 trees and thirty or so plant species: oaks and maples on the north, magnolias and cherries on the south while listening to a “poetic and sensory” podcast guide about the garden (in French). Check the museum program to discover upcoming events around the museum’s ethnographic collection as well as workshops and other activities.

Festival Classique au Vert and Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral
July 1 to Sep 2, 2023

For seven weekends, classical and jazz music concerts take over the magnificent setting of the Parc Floral in full bloom. Take a moment to meander through the extraordinary gardens before settling down for a picnic and listening to beautiful music under the trees.


summer in Paris
Fête de Tuileries © Jean-François Gornet / Wikimedia Commons

12. Bring the Whole Family to a Funfair

For a bit of old-fashioned fun, take your date or your family to one of the many outdoor funfairs that pop up around the city during the summer.

Fête Foraine in the Jardin des Tuileries (1st arr.)
July 1 to August 27, 2023

Every summer, the Jardin des Tuileries is transformed into a traditional funfair with over 60 rides and attractions, from trampolines and duck fishing games to a hall of mirrors and a carousel. And, of course, what would a funfair be without cotton candy, crèpes, churros, candy apples? Free entry into the park but certain rides and attractions are ticketed, so plan ahead or you could end up spending a bundle!

La Fête des Loges (Saint-Germain-en-Laye)
June 30 to August 20, 2023

For those living west of Paris, the Fête des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye is the oldest funfair in the history of France dating back to 1652! Today, it is still another popular fair with dozens of thrilling rides and attractions, from roller cars to fishing and roller coasters, and an international food alley. Free entry, but attractions are ticketed.

summer in Paris

Jardin d’Acclimatation (Bois de Boulogne)

One of our perennial family outing favorites in Paris. You can easily spend a full day out here, enjoying the traditional fairground-type roller coasters and games, giant trampolines, boat rides, pony rides, a zoo, puppet shows, playgrounds and climbing structures. When you’re hungry, they have several restaurants and concession stands where you can fuel up. On hot summer days, pack swimsuits and towels so your kids can run around the sprinklers in the massive multi-zone playground! Entry is cheap, but rides and attractions are ticketed.

For even more things to do this summer, check out: 

What's your favorite summer activity in Paris? Tell us in the comments!

Want to share your favorite activity to do in the summer around Paris? Have a comment on one of the places we’ve mentioned? Tell us in the comments box below! We’d love to hear from you!



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