Summer in the City {Paris}

While most French people are busy discussing where they are off to on holiday next month (3 week minimum, bien sûr!), I’m happy to spend the summer in Paris. Last week the 10th edition of Paris Plage opened with its artificial beaches along the Seine near Hôtel de Ville, and further up at the Bassin de la Vilette in the 19th. Even despite the cool summer temperatures (see below playing a rousing game of petanque in jackets and scarves over the weekend), at least it stopped raining and is an enjoyable urban “getaway.” Countless activities are planned throughout the summer from the summer concert series in front of Hôtel de Ville, to paddle boats, a photo marathon (sadly too late to register for this year), sand castles or just lounging in the sun (I can’t wait to try one of the 10 super-sized beach chairs along the Seine).
If beach and sun aren’t your cup of tea, here are loads more ideas fun summer fun (and mainly free!):

  • Paris sur Seine is a free expo inside Hôtel de Ville (enter opposite BHV) which looks at the quais of Paris before the days of Paris Plage. I for one wish I could travel back to the 1930s when there were swimming and rowing races in the Seine, and even boat “jousting” and acrobatic divers! (Through Sept 17th).
  • When it’s not raining Cinéma en Plein Air takes place at Parc de la Vilette where a range of movies are projected onto a giant inflated movie screen through August 21st. Join the Hejorama crew for a picnic and during one of the travel/location based flicks [see website]. (The Paris Cinema Festival has already come and gone, but note to self for next year!)
  • From Montmartre to Montsouris, the Forum des Images projects movies in different districts of Paris for Cinéma au Claire de Lune . Through August 21st.
  • Chartres en Lumières comes alive as 27 sites are magically illuminated at nightfall (through Sept 17th). Similarly Le Mans comes alive at night with La Nuit des Chimères where monuments become the backdrop for fantastical lighting projections inspired by tapestries to modern minimalism.
  • Paris Quartier Eté is a festival of spectacles on now through August 9th.
  • Rock en Seine – a major music festival August 26-28.
  • METRO…Ticket Pour une Expo at Musée Arts & Métiers will surely satisfy my love of public transit (now through Jan 1).
  • Find the best terraces + sun through this handy app!

Missing anything? Leave a comment and recommendations below!


  • I just wrote about the Paris Plage too! It seems kind of ridiculous to me to have a beach without water, but it’s definitely something I have been to check out!

  • sand castles & paris? too much beauty in one place… should it be legal? the beach within Paris seems like such a fun idea, next time I get lucky enough to visit, I’ll have to make it a summer destination to see for myself!

  • I had a terrific stay-cation in Paris last year! You’ve got some great suggestions of things to do. This year I’m with the rest of the folks taking off for a holiday away, but last year, I really enjoyed going to places in my neighborhood in and around the Paris Plage in the 19th such as the Bar l’Ourcq, the 25° Est, movies at the Quai de Seine and Quai de Loire, and hanging out at the Rosa Bonheur in the nearby Parc des Buttes Chaumont with the other friends who stayed for August as well. These were really nice summertime places to be in the northeastern part of Paris.

    I also had a friend come and visit me in August of last year, and I went around with her and her two daughters (ages 6 and 9 at the time) and played tourist with them, which was really a lot of fun. I finally went up (after more than a couple of years living in the city) the Eiffel Tower (we ordered tickets online, which was really the way to go) and saw a lot of the other famous sites as well. The Batobus was especially fun for the girls and was a welcome break from the walking. There was a very relaxed vibe to the month. Tourists? Yes, there were lots of those, too, but traffic was greatly diminished as were the crowds of people who live in the city, a lot of whom had left for their holidays.

    I personally really want to see the Métro expo at the Musée Arts & Métiers, so I am glad it will be there for a while. :)

  • i am loving those giant beach chairs… they’re so “euro” to me.

    so jealous it’s chilly there. i’m so sick of this current heat wave here in the US!

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