Headed to Paris this summer? We’ve got 8 quick tips coming your way!
Here at Sight Seeker’s Delight we love Paris ANY time of year, but summertime in the city holds a special place in our hearts. The days are long, the weather is warm (REALLY warm the past few years), and there are plenty of tourists around for us to share our walking tours with.
Many people will advise against visiting Paris in the summer: too crowded, lots of restaurants and shops are closed, and the classic, “who would want to go to the city in summer?!” Well, I’m here to tell you that although each of these things may be true, it’s still definitely possible to have an amazing summertime Paris experience!
Keep reading for my best 8 quick tips about summer in Paris, and get ready to book your perfect trip!
1. Reserve tickets in advance
The truth is, yes, it will be crowded in Paris June-August. The kids are out of school, you’ve got some vacation days you’re willing to part with…it’s the perfect storm that brings thousands of tourists to Paris each summer.
There’s an easy way to beat the crowds, and that ladies and gentlemen is as simple as booking your tickets for the major monuments like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe in advance!
Nearly every museum or monument in Paris will have the option on their website to book your tickets months in advance. What does this mean for you? The sacred skip-the-line option! Walk past those throngs of tourists waiting in those long lines with a smile on your face, knowing that you made the right choice by booking in advance.
A simple Google search for “Eiffel Tower tickets” will bring you to their website. Repeat this process for whichever monument you’re interested in and sit back and relax knowing that you’ve just saved yourself from the headache (or, er, leg ache?) of waiting in a long line.
Note: For security reasons, you’ll need to have your bags checked before entering any monument or museum in the city. You may have to wait in line in order to do this, but the security lines tend to move very quickly!
2. Learn how to play pétanque
Have you ever seen groups of people in Paris huddled around what seems to be a version of bowling outside? That my friends is a little game called pétanque! Pétanque originated in the South of France, but has slowly but surely made its way up to Paris.
The rules are fairly simple: try to get your team’s boules (that’s balls in French) as close to the target, a smaller ball called the cochonnet before the other team gets the chance.
There are plenty of places in Paris to play pétanque; you can easily set up a game in pretty much any park in the city. Keep your eye out for designated sandpits throughout Paris that are designed especially for the game, too.
Head to the sports store Decathlon once you’ve arrived in Paris to buy your own set, or head to places like Chez Bouboule, a restaurant and cafe centered around the game, where you can rent a set for the afternoon. There are 3 locations throughout Paris, and these guys really love pétanque.
3. Listen to live music
Are you a fan of music?! I thought so! Good news for you is, when the weather gets warmer, the musicians come out! There are hundreds of bars around Paris that feature live music.
If you’re a jazz fan, Jazz has a very long history in Paris (that includes fooling the Nazis, yes!). Music can be found almost any night of the week, and your best bet to know who is playing and where is to visit the website Paris Jazz Club for a full listing of every jazz show in Paris, every night. Here is a very small selection of jazz clubs you may want to visit:
Au Duc des Lombards : The most important Jazz club in Paris (compare it to the Village Vanguard or Blue Note in NYC). This wood-paneled, yellow-walled club is lined with posters of some of the greats who have played here: Kenny Burrell, Johnny Griffin, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. As well as international stars, it brings in plenty of local talent.
Address: 42 rue des Lombards
Sunset-Sunside – This venue is incredible – it’s tiny but sure packs a wallop. The basement ‘Sunset’ part is a concert hall that spotlights more traditional jazz groups (my friend’s band plays here). The upstairs ‘Sunside’ features more contemporary electro-jazz groups and piano virtuosos. Check out their site for schedules and prices of tickets for concerts:
Address : 60 rue des Lombards (Metro Chatelet, lines 1,4,7,14)
There’s another tiny jazz place called Caveau de la Huchette, a very old and traditional jazz bar in Saint-Michel that might interest you. It has been a musical venue for centuries (dating back to the French Revolution!) and claims to be the first place in Paris where jazz was ever played. There is live music and dancing every night (it opens from 9.30pm) and it is 12-14 euros per person to enter.
Address: 5 rue de la Huchette
Aux Trois Mailletz – this a restaurant/piano bar has a cabaret area in the basement. The restaurant service and food isn’t too great (so be sure to eat beforehand) but the musicians are extremely talented! Drinks are pretty pricey here as well, but that’s normal for a place that has live music.
To make a reservation: from 11am to 7pm every day at: 01 43 25 96 86
At piano-bar from 6pm at: 01 43 54 00 79
56 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris Métro : Saint-Michel
If you’re more interested in seeing big name artists and spending the day outside at a music festival, there are lots of options for you in the summertime.
Festivals like Solidays, the Rock en Seine, and We Love Green are put on annually each summer, and really big names such as Macklemore, Foals, The Cure, and Tame Impala are slated to appear this summer. Click the respective links to learn more and buy your tickets!
4. Set up camp in a park with a picnic
Picnicking in Paris is one of my favorite things to do! Seriously, if I could have a picnic every night in the summer, I would. With the sun setting in Paris around 9:30pm every night this time of year, how can you resist setting up camp outside?!
Many parks in Paris will remain open later to help the Parisians and tourists keep cool when it gets hot (temps reached almost 95 degrees last summer!).
Some of my favorites include the Buttes Chaumont, Parc Monceau, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Luxembourg Gardens.
Head to an outdoor market to pick up supplies (click here for a blog telling you our favorites), and the only thing left to do is to find a blanket, find a park, and tell your friends where to meet you!
5. Find the perfect outdoor patio
Parisians are obsessed with grabbing a drink au terrasse (that means on the patio), and honestly I am too. Enjoying a coffee or a beer outside while people watching is an amazing way to spend an afternoon or evening, don’t you think?!
There are hundreds, if not thousands of bars, cafés, and restaurants in Paris that feature outdoor seating. Click here for our handy dandy restaurant recommendation list and start to do some digging in advance if you’d like!
Otherwise, once you get to Paris, the easiest thing to do is to go for a stroll, where you’ll definitely stumble across an outdoor patio.
My personal favorite? The Pavillon des Canaux in the 19th arrondissement. This unique restaurant/café is located in an old house just on the side of a canal, the Bassin de la Villette. There is a large outdoor patio in the front of the resto, just a stone’s throw away from the water!
Don’t miss the Paname Brewing Company just next door too. This brewery has a massive outdoor seating area and is the perfect place for you if you can appreciate a good beer with a view of the water.
Le Pavillon des Canaux
39 Quai de la Loire, 75019 Paris
Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday 10am-12am, Thursday-Saturday 10am-1am, Sunday 10am-10pm
Paname Brewing Company
41 bis Quai de la Loire, 75019 Paris
Opening hours: Everyday 11am-2am
6. Eat ice cream
I couldn’t have a list of summertime in Paris tips without including a little something about ice cream! There are a lot of options to find this tasty summer treat, but my favorite is definitely the infamous Berthillon.
Berthillon has been scooping up ice cream since 1954, and it is a bit of a legend here in Paris. The original location is on the Île Saint-Louis in the center of the city. There are a few other locations scattered around Paris nowadays, but I recommend you head to the OG.
Berthillon is still family owned and operated, and their attention to detail and fresh products is what makes this ice cream shop so special! You and your tastebuds will thank me later…
31 de la rue Saint-Louis 75004, Paris
Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10am-8pm
7. Do your restaurant research
Many Parisians escape the city in the summer, especially towards the end of the season. The French love their vacation time, and they are lucky enough to enjoy 5 weeks off per year! Many Parisians save up their vacation days and will take a cool 3 week vacation in August.
What does this mean for you as a tourist? Many restaurants, cafés, and shops will shut their doors with notes outside saying something along the lines of, “See you in September!”
That being said, not all places in Paris shut down. Many tourists may have preconceived notions of Paris as a ghost town in August, and while that may have been true many years ago, it just isn’t the case now.
The easy way to avoid any confusion about which restaurants will be open is to do a little bit of research before your trip. If you can speak a little French – great! That means you can call the restaurants yourselves to ask them if they will be open when you’re in Paris.
If you can’t speak French, or feel a little intimidated to make those calls, never fear, Sight Seeker’s Delight is here!
We offer an hourly Concierge service which you can use to pick our Paris experts’ brains about what to do and when, get personalized restaurant recommendations and reservations, get the inside scoop on the best activities to do like wine tasting, and so on. We also offer Itinerary Planning, which is the creation of a top-to-bottom vacation plan perfectly tailored to your tastes and needs. You can learn more about both services (and make your payment) on our Travel Services page!
8. Come on a Sight Seeker’s Delight walking tour
It wouldn’t be a trip to Paris if you didn’t join one of our amazing walking tours! We run at full steam all year long, so don’t worry about us taking a 3 week vacation in August 😉
Click here to visit our tour page, and read through all of our 14 different tour option. Head to our TripAdvisor page to see all of the reviews left by our amazing travelers and I know you’ll want to book a tour ASAP!
Thanks for reading, Sight Seeker’s! I hope that I’ve helped to answer any burning questions you may have had re: Paris in the summertime!
Have I missed anything? Don’t be shy – leave a comment with any more questions you have.
We love hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to let us know any of your personal tips about Paris from June-August. Until then, happy Paris planning!