11 Fantastic Ways to Enjoy Summer in Paris

11 Fantastic Ways to Enjoy Summer in Paris

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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.

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

1. Hit the Beach… in Paris

A summer rendez-vous not to miss, Paris Plages will be back this year from July 9 through August 21, 2022, 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 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.
  • Pétanque games at the foot of the Pont Louis-Philippe (4th) daily from 10am to 10pm.
  • 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, and lots of other fun entertainment.

Check the official WEBSITE for more details before heading out, in case of last-minute changes.


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

2. 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 public pools with sliding roofs that open up on warm, sunny days.

Looking for a hotel with an open-air pool? Try the Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel which opens its pool’s rooftop on warm days, or splurge on the glam and historic outdoor pool at Piscine Molitor, where they launched the bikini in 1946.

In the suburbs of Paris

On the outskirts of Paris, the Centre Aquatic de Neuilly-sur-Seine and Piscine Boulogne-Billancourt have brilliant outdoor pools and water slides for the kiddos. The center in Neuilly-sur-Seine even has a man-made “beach” in the summer, as does the Aquaboulevard water park in the 15th arrondissement.


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


© Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

3. 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 relocated from the 15th arrondissement, and 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

4. Discover Paris’ Canal Culture

L’été du Canal (19th arr.)
July 9 to August 14, 2022

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.

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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 21, 2022

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.

Chamarande Paradiso
Saturdays August 6 to 27, 2022

About an hour south of Paris, the beautiful Chateau de Chamarande screens family-oriented films on Saturday evenings after sundown. Pick a spot on the grass and enjoy a mix of French and American films. 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.


8. Revel in an Outdoor Spectacle

La Nuit aux Invalides
July 16 to September 1, 2022

This is a must-see! Each summer, the 250-meter long façade of the magnificent Hôtel des Invalides is transformed into the backdrop for a stunning sound and light show. Stand in awe as you watch 3000 years of French history unfold before you in surround sound. Free for kids under 7. For details and reservations, visit their WEBSITE.


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
Saturdays June 11 to September 17 (plus Thursday, July 14)

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

9. Jam at an Arts or Music Festival

Paris l’été
July 11 to 31, 2022

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 event WEBSITE for details and reservations. 

Outdoor Garden Parvis – Parvis de La Défense
June 30 to August 12, 2022

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

10. Escape to a Summer Garden

Summer Garden at the Musée du Quai Branly (7th)
July 3 to August 28, 2022

Escape to the tropics in the outdoor garden of the Musée du Quai Branly. Take a nap while listening to soothing sounds, listen to eastern Algerian music, watch the Festival Hip Hop Collections, or discover the museum’s ethnographic collection. See the museum program for the schedule of workshops and other activities.


 

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

11. 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.)
June 25 to August 28, 2022

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 24 to August 15, 2022

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
© INSPIRELLE

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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