11 Bucket List Ideas for Visiting Paris in the Spring
Paris in the spring is my favorite, especially with the scent of flowers in the warm air. This is your guide to the best spring activities Paris has to offer.
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This may be cheesy to admit, but I’ve been obsessed with visiting Paris ever since watching that classic Olsen twin movie, Passport to Paris.
My little sisters and I used to watch it non-stop growing up, always dreaming of one day having our own Parisian adventure (complete with cute French boys).
Naturally, as I got older, those Audrey Hepburn classics like Sabrina and Funny Face also contributed to my view of the city through rose-colored glasses.
Especially that quote from Sabrina, that “Paris is always a good idea.”
But is it?
The first time I went it was cold, damp, and not nearly as dreamy or romantic as those films lead me to believe.
I don’t want you to have the same disappointing first trip to Paris that I did, so listen up and take notes.
Below is everything you need to know about when the best time to go to Paris is. I’ve listed out any necessary events or must-know tips by season.
Follow my advice, and you’ll be living your Passport to Paris fantasy in no time!
Paris in the summer is très magnifique! It’s seriously my all-time favorite season to be in France.
With temperatures averaging in the high 70s, it’s perfect weather for strolling along the Seine or shopping the Champs-Élysées.
The main negative about visiting the city during the summer is that it’s the most crowded time in the city.
You should also know that if you visit in August, a lot of shops and restaurants will not be open.
Most Parisians typically close their businesses in favor of having the month of August off to vacation outside the city.
That said, if you’re open to being flexible while you’re visiting, August can be a great time to snag an amazing deal on accommodations. A lot of hotels will drop their prices since it’s not a desirable month for tourists to visit.
I’ve spent time in the city during August and to be honest, I really loved being able to explore the city with the warm weather and fewer people crowding the streets.
Each June, this event showcases classical musicians with a series of concerts and recitals in two epic settings—the Basilica of Saint-Denis and Maison d’Education de la Légion d’Honneur.
Every year on June 21st (the longest day of the year), Paris holds its annual Fête de la Musique, also known in English as the “Festival of Music”.
The city encourages everyone to play music and perform on the streets. How fun does that sound?
They even set up stages all around the city for performances and discount public transportation to make sure everyone can take part in catching the many performances around the city.
I don’t think I need to explain that this is a festival honoring the work of Chapin.
In case you haven’t heard of him, Chapin is a world-renowned composer whose hits include Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35, Nocturne in E flat, Op. 9, No.2, and Polonaise-Fantaisie.
Each June, The Parc de Bagatelle welcomes young performers to re-interpret the great maestro’s masterpieces and discuss his contribution to classical music.
Typically taking place in late June into early July, the Paris Jazz Festival is a must for any jazz lover. It’s something that’s been on my bucket list for a while.
The event features lots of local jazz musicians and major international jazz players.
Carnival Tropical typically takes place at the beginning of July.
It’s a large parade that fills the streets of the city with colorful costumed performers, dancing, rum, and lots of Caribbean beats.
Who wouldn’t want to dance around drinking rum all day? This is absolutely a bucket list item.
If you’re an avid shopper, then plan your trip around this epic six-week sale that starts around the beginning of July.
Both boutiques and major department stores offer deep discounts on major designer items. The best part is that each week of the sale those discounts get steeper!
This isn’t a festival of peacocks—though that seems very Parisian chic!
The Peacock Society Festival is an epic two-day electronic music event that takes place every July in different locations around the city.
Bastille Day is a national holiday in France that takes place on July 14th.
The day celebrates the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille by revolutionaries.
Basically, it’s like France’s equivalent of Independence Day in the US.
The French take the day off to spend time with family and enjoy parades, celebrations, and fireworks.
Until recently, I didn’t realize Lollapalooza takes place in 7 countries each year.
The festival’s Parisian branch typically takes place in mid-July.
Past performers include Lana Del Rey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, and The Weeknd.
Whatever you do, book your tickets ahead of time, they sell out fast.
This is easily the most famous cycling event in the world. I grew up watching this on TV with my dad every single July.
The race goes all across France and always ends in Paris on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
My dad and I happened to be in the city at the end of the Tour in 2018 (he swears he didn’t plan our trip around the Tour, but I have a feeling he did).
We ended up standing at the finish line, which was the next level epic.
If you’re in town during the last day of the Tour, I highly recommend lining the Champs-Élysées to watch the bike’s speed by, and if you’re lucky, spot the epic jet flyover that also takes place each year.
This is a must for any film-lovers! This outdoor film festival takes place every July and runs to early August.
They fill the program with a selection of international and French films ranging from cult classics to new releases, always with a new theme picked each year.
If you don’t speak French, don’t stress—they show the films with English subtitles.
The event is free to attend, but you’ll need to reserve your spot on the lawn beforehand on the official website.
The city brings the beach to locals and tourists with Paris Plages. It’s a perfect way to cool off if sight-seeing becomes too hot to handle.
Every July and August, sunbeds, umbrellas, and terraces pop up along the Parc Rives de Seine.
Not to be outdone, the 19th arrondissement offers three swimming pools along the Quai de Loire of the Canal de l’Ourcq.
This is one of France’s most famous rock festivals, and a must if you’re looking for something cool to do in August.
Past performers include The Cure, The xx, Arctic Monkeys, and Foo Fighters.
I love strolling around Paris with a cafe au lait and croissant in hand as the air becomes crisp, and the leaves are changing.
The weather fluctuates, so you’ll want to pack layers and bring an umbrella.
Warmer days average in the high 60s, with temperatures dropping to low 50s and occasionally the high 40s.
Fall is prime time to sit in one of the city’s many parks with a coffee and pastry. You’ll have a beautiful backdrop of autumn colors for that mandatory IG photo.
I recommend walking or reading in Luxembourg Gardens, The Jardin des Tuileries, and Place des Vosges for the best views of foliage.
Below are the events you won’t want to miss if you’re in town during the autumn.
During Paris Fashion Week you’ll see some of the best street fashion, courtesy of fashionista’s and influencers all flocking to the city to see the most in-demand couture shows.
Just don’t expect to get into any of them unless you’ve got major connections or you’re a fashionista. The shows are invite-only.
In case you’re French is rusty, let me translate for you, it’s The Paris Autumn Festival.
These festivities feature an array of national and international artists and a variety of art forms.
They hold events around the city at iconic spots such as the Centre Pompidou, the Philharmonie de Paris, and the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe.
Also known as Journées du Patrimoine, it’s a couple of days every September where museums, castles, government buildings, and monuments in Paris and Ile-de-France open their doors for free to the public.
Naturally, as with anything free, expect major lines.
Basically, this is France’s version of the Kentucky Derby.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe began in 1920 and features the world’s top thoroughbreds. It’s run each year at the beginning of October at the Longchamp Racecourse on the outskirts of the city.
If you’re in Paris on the first Saturday of October, you need to check out Nuit Blanche. It’s a series of art installations, light shows, concerts, and trails that promote contemporary art.
Public transportation stays open all night long so that everyone can enjoy the festivities.
If you’re speaking English, you may hear it referred to as the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival.
Each October over 40 restaurants and bars in the area take part in tastings of artisanal and regional products, concerts, street entertainment, dancing, and exhibitions.
That’s right, it’s an exhibition all about chocolate. My mouth is watering just dreaming about attending this event.
They have the largest sampling of chocolates from all over the world, including samplings of the newest creations, pastries, ice creams, and cocoa from some of the biggest chocolatiers in the world.
They even have a chocolate-themed fashion show!
Every October, Le Manoir is transformed into a haunted Halloween show that’s not for the faint of heart.
Each year the show has new storylines, hundreds of actors, incredible interiors, and an original spooky soundtrack.
Book early unless you want to spend hours waiting in line for admission. You’re welcome to come in costume and it’s recommended children under 12 stay home.
Basically, this is a giant men’s tennis tournament. It’s the third-highest tier of all the men’s tennis tournaments.
I have a feeling this is fun for both people who’re into sports, and people who just want to see a bunch of hot guys jumping around with rackets.
Taking place every November 11th, Armistice Day is the day France celebrates the end of World War I, and those who lost their lives during the war.
Most businesses give their employees the day off, there are parades, and the President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located at the Arc de Triomphe.
Winter in Paris is easily my least favorite time to be visiting. It’s cold, dreary, and honestly not very romantic.
The temperature ranges from the low 50s to low 30s.
You’ll want to bring lots of layers, practical boots, and have a game plan before you head outside. Trust me, this isn’t the time to meander around town exploring.
The upside of visiting during the winter is that it’s the cheapest time to go to Paris.
These are the best events to check out during winter in the city.
This is a music festival that celebrates African performers and music.
Performances take place all around the city around the beginning of December each year.
Book tickets ahead of time on this one!
In case you didn’t know, cheval means horse. This event is one of the world’s premier horse shows.
With over 2,000 horses in attendance, this is a must for any equestrians.
I recommend checking out Nuit du Cheval, their unique nighttime horse light show, it looks seriously epic.
What’s winter without some ice skating?
If you feel inspired to brave the cold to glide across the ice, check out either the Eiffel Tower ice rink or the Trocadéro ice rink directly across the Seine.
I love a good Christmas market, and Paris has got plenty to choose from.
My favorite is the Christmas Village at Trocadéro. They’ve got ice-skating, and lots of little shops and food booths to peruse. Plus, it’s across the river from the Eiffel Tower, so you’re treated to a picture-perfect view while you take in all the holiday festivities.
Another popular one is Marché de Noël at Notre Dame.
You can shop at the booths of local artisan shops,
For a magical Christmas Eve in the city, consider heading into Notre Dame after hitting the market to hear an incredible holiday choir performance.
The French refer to December 31st as Fete de St-Sylvestre because it falls on the feast day of Catholic Saint-Sylvestre.
If you haven’t already noticed from the date, it’s basically a New Year celebration. Most French will spend time with their families, then go out at night to celebrate.
A tourist favorite is to check out the light shows and festivals on the Champs-Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre.
Don’t forget to shout “Bonne année!” at midnight.
If you’re a shopaholic like me, then you’ll love the Paris Winter Sales. You’ll find great deals at boutiques and large department stores all over the city. Just look for signs that say “Soldes.”
This period of sales begins about a week after New Year’s and runs until about mid-February. Discounts get deeper the further into the six-week sale period that you shop.
This world-renowned annual vintage car show is typically held within the first weeks of February.
It’s hosted at the ParisEXPO center at Porte de Versailles and is the ultimate showcase of vintage automobiles from around the world.
Chinese New Year traditionally takes place at the end of January each year.
It’s celebrated with parades, concerts, and exhibitions all around Paris’ Chinese quarter, the 13th arrondissement, and the Marais.
Each year on the Sunday before Mardi Gras, the city has its annual carnival parade.
The route goes from the Avenue Gambetta to Place de la République and ends with a giant party in the square.
Each year the parade has a different theme. The procession involves lots of masks and sugary treats like beignets.
The history of the parade can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages.
Many talented artists, including Manet, Gavarni, and Monet have painted scenes from Carnival.
In the past, the parade was called “Promenade du Beouf-Gras”, which refers to the cow that typically leads the parade.
Spring in Paris is one of my favorite times to explore. It’s so dreamy, especially in late spring, with the warm weather, with the scent of flowers hanging in the air.
You’ll want to pack layers when visiting Paris in the springtime. Temperatures range from the 40s to high 60s, and rain is a common occurrence.
Either way, always carry an umbrella with you during the spring, as showers happen frequently.
Aside from strolling around and taking in the flowers, these are the events you should keep an eye out for.
All the hottest looks for Fall couture will be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week, typically within the last week of February or early weeks of March.
Shows are invite-only, typically, for the creme de la creme of fashion’s elite.
Expect to see lots of stunning streetwear and tons of sidewalk fashion shoots.
I recommend packing a few extra fashionable outfits for dinners out if you’re visiting during this time.
On a Sunday halfway between Mardi Gras and Easter, the Carnaval des Femmes takes place.
Also known as “The Women’s Parade”, you’ll find women and even men dressed as Queens, all-dancing down the street in a giant procession.
The tradition dates back to the 18th century when one washerwoman would get chosen to become Queen for the day.
These days, everyone is welcome to join the parade.
You just have to don your most fabulous outfit and arrive early to the start point of the parade, which is typically Place du Châtelet.
The International Documentary Film Festival is another event I’d love to catch one day.
The event takes place in multiple locations all over the city and features the best of documentary filmmaking.
This is the largest fairground festival in France.
Taking place at the end of March, you’ll either be in for a freezing fun time, or a moderately warm adventure riding all the rides and indulging in all that wonderful fair food.
Attracting musicians from around the globe, this is one event every music lover needs to check out.
Book ahead early for this popular festival and be ready to use google translate if you don’t speak French, the website doesn’t have an option for English text.
I think most of us imagine coming home from Paris with some original artwork that perhaps one day will be worth something.
Art Paris at the Grand Palais is the spot to head if you’re looking to invest in a piece of art during the first week of April.
They fill the building with up-and-coming artists and more established ones.
I’ll be the first to admit that unless it’s an emergency, I don’t love running long distances. This is one case I’d make an exception for.
The Paris Marathon will have you running past some of the most beautiful landmarks and sites in the city.
Not to mention, I’m sure there are plenty of pastry shops along the way should you need to carb up before the finish line.
If you feel like running down the Champs-Elysee, you must book your spot in the marathon about a year in advance.
Naturally, this is a race many people are dying to run.
May 8th is a day cities in Europe celebrate the end of World War II.
They mark victory in Europe Day with the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a military parade and celebrations around the city.
Who wouldn’t want to spend all afternoon wandering around a festival sampling all the best gastronomical delights of some of the best restaurants in the city?
This is one experience you absolutely want to book early.
Translated into “Long Night of Museums”, this is an evening museum lovers won’t want to miss.
Museums all over Paris stay open late and host special events. The best part is that it’s all free!
Are you wondering what a steeple-chase is?
Also called the “Great Paris Steeplechase”, this event is a horse race of sorts. It’s unique because instead of the horses just racing in a circle, they race over a series of complicated jumps.
Even if you don’t score tickets to the race, you can check out the horses as they parade through the streets pulling beautiful carriages beforehand.
You’ll hear Parisians refer to this as the Défilé des Drags.
Tennis fans, this one’s for you.
Non-tennis fans, let me give you the rundown. The French Open, also referred to as Roland-Garros is a giant tennis tournament held over two weeks each May.
Personally, I think watching people hit a ball back and forth over a long period gets a bit tiring, but some people are really into it.
If you’re one of those people, then book your tickets well ahead of time.
Who wouldn’t want to relax in Saint Germain listening to jazz and pretending they’ve been transported back to the 1920s?
This is an event that’s much more up my alley.
The jazz festival has artists performing in famous cafes, theatres, and historical spots all along the Left Bank.
Visiting Paris in the spring and summer is perfect. You’ll have beautiful weather, lots of festivals and events, flowers in bloom, and romance in the air.
One of my favorite things about visiting Paris during the warmer seasons is picking up some champagne (or wine), cheese, meat, and a freshly baked baguette and taking them to the Seine to picnic and watch the world go by. I highly recommend it!
In fact, I encourage you to indulge in as many charcuterie boards, and freshly made pastries as possible while in Paris, no matter what the season.
I cannot wait to return to Paris, especially after writing this. There’s so much to experience and taste there, it seems like there’s always something new I’m adding to my Parisian bucket list.
Please let me know in the comments what your favorite season in Paris is, and if there are any must-see events I missed that should be added to my bucket list. Until next time, Au revoir!
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