It is almost as fashionable to gush about the beauty of Paris in summer as it is to loathe her residents. Parisians are famed for their chic aloofness – not to mention their abrupt manners with tourists – so what better time to visit the city than when they are all away on vacation? Traditionally, from June to August, Parisians flock from the city to holiday homes and villas in southern France, leaving their beautiful city unattended. While this can mean the shutters come down on many local cafes and bars, if you follow the advice of some of the best bloggers in Paris, high summer can actually be an illuminating time to see new corners of the city.
Sasha Romary, Founder and CEO, Savoir Faire Paris
Sasha is an American expat that has lived in Paris for over a decade. She provides insider information, top-notch recommendations, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of her clients at her Parisian concierge service.
“Paris in August can be quiet as most of the Parisians have flocked to the coast to relax and recuperate before September. While many restaurants and boutiques are closed for the month, there are some wonderful events that pop up just for the summer that can make August a rather magical month in the City of Lights!
Smack in the middle of the city, the highway alongside the Seine River is turned into a beach called Paris Plages until August 23rd. There are events like sunrise Yoga and sand castle building competitions as well as restaurants, beach lounge chairs and palm trees! Up in the 19th by Porte de la Villette metro, the Glazart bar and club has created the Plage de Glazart where you can enjoy free live music, cocktails and food on their huge sandy beach until October 3rd. If La Villette is too far for you, La Javelle brings music, artists and food trucks that change every night to the quai of the 15th arrondissement by the beautiful Parc André Citroën.
If you are looking for something a little bit more cultural, the ever popular Cinema en Plein Air is back this year with a great mix of French and international films projected on their outdoor screen ever night from Wednesday to Sunday until August 23rd. And, the best part, it is absolutely free! You can pay to rent lounge chairs or set up a picnic on the grass as you watch the sunset and wait for the film to start. Insider tip – get there early! The huge grassy area fills up quickly and you will have a hard time hearing the film if you are all the way at the back.
Finally, through September local artists and artisans will showcase their work on the esplanade of Parc de Belleville from 2pm-8pm every Saturday and Sunday at the Belvédère aux Artistes. Everything from painters, jewellery designers, furniture makers and clothing designers will feature and sell their works each weekend to the public. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful view of Paris from up there too!”
Richard Nahem, Blogger, www.ipreferparis.net
Richard’s blog is an ex-New Yorker’s insider’s guide to Paris in summer. Richard Nahem writes his blog from his fabulous 18th century apartment in the fashionable Marais district of Paris
“Paris in summer conjures up visions of empty streets, deserted boulevards, shops hanging a shingle on their doors with the words Closed for Vacation, and the mass exit of millions of Parisians leaving the city to take their annual vacations. When I first moved here from New York in August of 2005 most of this was true: I went to a favorite café, lazily relaxing for hours with hardly a soul sitting near me, I meandered the streets of the city devoid of car traffic and pedestrians, and had to make do with only a handful of shops open in my neighborhood.”
“Fast-forward 10 years later and much has changed. Because of the economic climate in France right now, many Parisians don’t take off the whole month, choosing to only take two or three weeks vacation. August in Paris is still a busy month for tourism and now many shops and restaurants remain open. Also, some Parisians choose to stay in town, so there are cultural events and activities all over the city during August.”
“Now in its 13th year Paris Plages/The Paris Beach is one of the most popular summer attractions in Paris. A portion of the highway along the Seine river is closed to traffic and transformed into a seaside resort that includes actual areas with sand, beach chairs, chaise lounges and umbrellas so that you can put on your swimsuit and catch some serious tanning rays. The approximate 1.5 Km stretch also includes concerts, petanque ball, cafes, ice cream stalls, Tai Chi Classes, a sand pit for kids to build sand castles, and volley ball.”
Le Voie Georges Pompidou
Open July 20 to August 23, 2015
“The old fashioned drive-in has been updated to a car-less version in a Parisian park. Every year a series of films are shown outdoors after dark in the Parc Villette. The films are usually a mix of iconic and beloved French, American, and foreign films. For 2015 screenings include Moulin Rouge, Rebecca, Caché, Inside Llewyn Davis, Louise Wimmer, Beetlejuice, Mon Oncle, and The Shining.”
Cinema en Plein Air- July 22-August 23, 2015
Admission free, chairs and blankets an additional 7€
“The beautiful and historic Tuileries Park becomes the site of an amusement park in summer. Kids and adults can enjoy all their favorite rides including a roller coaster, a giant water slide, a Ferris wheel overlooking all the wonders of Paris in summer, and a classic Merry-go-round. There are also games of chance, ice cream stands, cotton candy, churros and Belgian waffles.”
La Fete du Tuileries
June 27 – August 23, 2015
Tuileries Park- near Place de la Concorde
Stefanie, Blogger, www.freeinparis.com
Stefanie runs the website freeinparis.com, where she shares free events and money saving tips for those living in or visiting Paris.
“When spring time comes to Paris,” writer Henry Miller once wrote, “the humblest mortal alive feels like he dwells in Paris.”
“When summertime comes to Paris, it’s easy to feel like the real Paris has been replaced with an uninhabited museum city. So where should you go if you’re in Paris in summer and want an authentic Parisian experience? Here are three ways to enjoy the city in the summer while avoiding the tourist crowds.”
Check out a festival
“From the Paris Jazz Festival to the Quartier d’été, a month-long arts festival, to smaller neighborhood events scattered throughout the city, festivals are the perfect opportunity to interact with locals while enjoying great (and often free) outdoor entertainment in Paris in summer. France is the land of festivals. More than 1400 are organized each year, half of which take place during the summer months, often in the Paris metropolitan area.”
“Want an escape from the cramped Parisian metro and crowded museums? Why not take advantage of the summer weather and go for a walk in the park. The Promenade Plantée or Coulée Verte is a great park to discover in Paris in summer. This 4.7 km-long elevated trail (2.9 mi) was built on a former railway line running above the city. The trail starts near the Opéra Bastille and spans the 12th district of Paris.”
Take a Stroll in the City
“A favorite pastime of many Parisians is to wander or flâner the streets of the city taking in the people and the sights. Try exploring one of the less visited parts of the city like Menilmontant, an area in the 20th district known for its narrow winding streets, or Belleville, a transforming working class area where more than 250 artists have their workshops.”
“Ultimately, Paris in summer doesn’t have to be synonymous with long lines and tourist traps. July and August are the perfect times to enjoy outdoor events with locals and to discover lesser-known parts of the city.”
Header picture cropped from original by Butz.2013/ Flickr CC