Things to do in Paris this summer

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Eating & Drinking

1

Get wise for the World Cup

When it comes to watching Match of the Day, Paris isn't the most obliging of cities. Unless you have a subscription to Canal+ or you're happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with rowdy men in suits who'll unapologetically spill half a pint on your lap every time someone scores, your choices are limited. With this in mind, we've branched out beyond your run-of-the-mill faux-British pubs to seek out the best alternative bars that screen sports on a regular basis. So pack your vuvuzelas (or, on second thoughts, don't), and head down...

2

Take it outside for brunch

On weekends you’ll find many of Paris’s restaurants and bars open for business well before midday, and enjoying a brisk brunchtime trade. So, from the Canal Saint-Martin to the banks of the Seine, and from hangover restoratives to haute-cuisine breakfast feasts, dig in to Time Out’s guide to the best brunches in town…

3

Embrace the Mediterranean at these Italian tables

Everyone likes a slice of Italy – especially when it’s topped with stringy mozzarella, fresh olives and tangy tomato sauce. These are our favourite restaurants in Paris for Italian cooking, from rustic trattorias to cutting edge chic...

4

Take away a taste of home at The Sunken Chip

The idea of a fish and chip shop in Paris carries with it overtones of the dreaded Irish bar abroad, all stale spilled Guinness and badly dressed tourists out on the lash. Thankfully, The Sunken Chip couldn’t be further from this shudder-filled idea. It is run by expats, and it has set up shop in that crook of the Canal Saint-Martin so popular with nesting Brits and Americans, but it has done so with style and plenty of local sympathy (the menu is knowingly bilingual). It’s also a very smart move – younger Parisians are endlessly enthusiastic about foreign fast food innovations...

  1. 39 rue des Vinaigriers, 10e
More info
5

Be streetwise at La Jeune Rue

You've heard of a concept store - now how about an entire concept street? That's exactly what's set to arrive in Paris this summer, wedged into a corner of the third arrondissement between Arts et Métiers and République. Cédric Naudon, a self-styled gastronome, earned his money in real estate on the other side of the pond; on his return to his native Paris, he invested in a restaurant on the Île-St-Louis, Le Sergent Recruteur. A success, this venture pushed Naudon to find for a new project that would marry his two passions: food and design. And although money can't buy you happiness, it definitely can buy you an entire street...

6

Get away from it all at these secret bars

A slice of Anglo-American literary culture in the heart of Parmentier, Au Chat Noir (not to be confused with the Montmartre cabaret of almost the same name) is known by all the budding poets of the area, but few outsiders. The reason: its thriving, if ill-publicised, spoken-word nights. Head into the basement on a Monday evening (from 8.30pm) and you’ll find an eclectic bunch of beatniks, actors and would-be rappers taking it in turns to perform some kind of spoken text to the audience – and never for over five minutes at a time...

7

Scream for the best ice cream in Paris

Our sticky-fingered guide to the best ices in the capital takes you from glorious gelati in luxurious ice cream parlours to sweet shops full of bonbons; simply the best places in Paris to indulge a sweet tooth...

8

Go green at vegetarian and vegan restaurants

Don't let anyone tell you Paris doesn't cater for vegetarian and vegan diets – if you know where to look, delicious wholesome goodness is easily available. The trend for gluten-free is kicking off as well, relief for allergy sufferers and fans of wheatless cooking. Our selection of excellent restaurants, cafés and bakeries offer everything from gluten-free brunches to vegan cupcakes – get stuck in!

9

Eat the road and get some great street food

Street food: a simple concept, almost as old as streets themselves, which is now taking off in Paris despite a slow start. Prepared and/or sold on the city's pavements (to the extent permitted by the law), and designed to be easily eaten on the fly, this not-so-haute cuisine runs the gamut from sandwiches to kebabs, empañadas to dim sum, without ever breaking the bank...

10

Let it all hang out at these terrace bars

Paris Plages is well known for lining the Seine with sand and deckchairs during the summer months, but there are plenty of other venues across the capital that open up extra spaces when the sun comes up. With DJs and bars, summer sports or just shady places to relax, these summer spaces are the perfect spots to plant your parasol...


Art & Culture

11

Pull up a deckchair for Cinema en Plein Air

Outdoor movie going at its finest, with international films screened for free at sundown in Parc de la Villette, the cutting edge architectural, music and art hub that's a big part of the recent buzz around north-eastern Paris. Expect everything from 'Ocean's Eleven' to Kaurismaki gems, and an easy-going crowd of happy, summery Parisians and visitors.

12

Go 'beyond the walls' for contemporary art

Those who don't believe that contemporary art (think 'pretentious, highbrow, trendy, urban') and the suburbs ('rough, dodgy, uncultured, rude') could ever go hand in hand should pop over to the other side of the périphérique from time to time. In the last 20-odd years, between the narrow belt covered by the underground and the oh-so-distant terminuses of the RER lines, contemporary arts centres and galleries have been cropping up all over the place, each bolder and better than the last...

13

Get cheap thrills with cut-price theatre

Seeking out plays in Paris, but put off by the Odéon's €32 tickets? Not all is lost – memberships, special offers and alternative theatres are great ways to experience the French stage scene without shelling out too much. Here are eight tips from our Theatre editor on how to get the most theatrical bang for your buck...

14

See skin differently at Tatoueurs, tatoués

After organising two exhibitions of 'outsider art' at the Halle Saint-Pierre, the team behind HEY! magazine are now bringing tattoos to the Musée du Quai Branly. Covering vintage images and contemporary projects, the curators attempt to explore the evolution of body art through the ages, from its traditional mystical and social functions in Africa, Asia and Oceania to the mark of personal style and identity that it has become today in many urban centres. Using works created specially for the occasion, and emphasising the artistic aspect of the practice...

  1. Musée du Quai Branly 37 quai Branly, 7e
  2. Until Sun Oct 18
More info
15

Gawp at a black-and-white mosaic of selfies at the Panthéon

From the favelas of Brazil to a famous Parisian landmark, French photographer-cum-street-artist JR certainly gets around. This summer sees him convert the Panthéon into his latest makeshift gallery. The exhibition is part of his INSIDE OUT project, a global participatory platform that invites people from around the world to submit a photo of themselves for display in a new artwork. For the Panthéon’s takeover, over 1,300 personal portraits were sent in to the project’s website, and the remaining 2,500 were collected through public PhotoBooth trucks that travelled around France…

16

Escape the crowds at some quirky museums

Paris wears its nickname as the 'Museum City' with pride. And with three of world's most fabulous museums – the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d'Orsay – it's got good reason to be chuffed. However there's much more to its cultural scene than these behemoths. Off the beaten track, down cobbled side streets and even smack bang in the middle of touristy areas, you’ll find many weird and wonderful little-known gems – all well worth an hour of your time...

17

Get a tan and some culture at open-air museums

Our pick of the best places to see art out in the open...


Music & Nightlife

21

Have a night on the tiles at Festival FNAC Live

Every year, powerhouse music retailer FNAC brings a selection of artists to a stage outside the Hôtel de Ville for four nights of great music. The festival's fourth outing doubles up as a commemoration of the retailer's 60th birthday, and promises a bumper lineup – even bumper-er than previous years, that is – to celebrate. Smaller concerts are held at a more intimate venue at the Salon des Arcades. For more information, click here. Tickets are free but you’ll need to be smart about getting them – they're available from FNAC outlets from July 17...

22

Rock on at Rock en Seine

The city’s premier annual rock festival, Rock en Seine has been held in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud every last weekend in August since 2003. This year’s line-up includes Alt-J, Tame Impala, Laura Mvula, Nine Inch Nails, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. For the best experience, buy a three-day pass and camp in the historic park grounds, which include Marie Antoinette’s rose garden.

23

Pack in Macki Music Festival

The first ever instalment of the Macki Music Festival looks set to be one of the summer's unmissable events. The brainchild of two kingpins of the Parisian party scene, DJ Mamie's collective and the label Cracki, the festival combines a quality line-up with the novelty value of a brand new venue. Given the organisers, we'd have expected an electro-heavy line-up, but au contraire: the programme takes in the likes of house DJs Jay Daniel and Kyle Hall, as well as Isaac Delusion's pop beats and the legendary hip-hop strains of Lords of the Underground and rap prodigy...

24

Discover offbeat hits at these alternative music venues

Read on for our guide to the quirkiest concert venues in Paris, from far-flung churches to converted funeral parlours...

25

Swing along to Les Siestes Electroniques

Inaugurated in Toulouse and a regular fixture of the Parisian summer schedule since 2011, Les Siestes Electroniques – 'Electronic naps' – is far from the torpid affair that its name suggests. The concept is simple, yet strikingly fresh: upcoming DJ talent eschews the big summer hits in favour of sets that draw on the audio archives of the Musée du Quai Branly – in whose leafy gardens the festival is set. The result is an innovative programme of world music-inspired electro, carefully curated to shake your mind as well as move your feet. Oh yeah, and it's all free...

26

Just jam at Jazz à la Villette

The Jazz à la Villette festival is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the back-to-school season for musically-minded Parisians. Every concert is unique, a meeting between different artists: jazz, funk, hip-hop, blues and world. It's brilliantly orchestrated 21st-century jazz, mixed with rhythms and instruments from around the world. Given that past years have seen performances from the likes of Seun Kuti, Gregory Porter and Bryan Ferry, our breath couldn't be more bated...

27

Discover the summer beach at Le Glaz'art

This converted coach station is a temple of drum ‘n’ bass, jungle and dubstep, but it’s not all one note. You can shake your stuff to minimal techno and house beats, but also to groove, soul and rock concerts. It’s a lovely venue, with a concert stage and a bar with comfy sofas – it’s just a shame it’s lost in the depths of the 19th arrondissement, but that does mean that it draws an authentic underground crowd. There’s no Parisian hype here, but rather techno partygoers (‘teuffeurs’) out for the sound and nothing but the sound..

  1. 7-15 avenue de la Porte de la Villette, 19e
More info
28

Preen at Peacock Society Festival

This techno, house and electro festival manages to cram an absolutely stonking line-up of more than 30 international DJs into its two days. Richie Hawtin and Paul Kalkbrenner head the bill, with James Blake, Kerri Chandler, Darkside (that's Nicolas Jaar's band to househeads) and a whole roster of talent providing the backup. Break out your shutter shades, your crowns of flowers and your rolling baccy – it's time to party in the Parc Floral...

29

Ferris Bueller at Festival Days Off

For the fifth year running, Days Off curates a fantastic range of pop, rock, folk and electro in two of the city's best acoustic venues, Cité de la Musique and Salle Pleyel. Some major acts taking part this year include Rufus Wainwright, Damon Albarn and Chilly Gonzales (something of a festival regular) – worth taking a day off for...

30

Have a change of scene with some alternative clubbing

Read on for our guide to the most unusual clubbing experiences Paris has to offer...


Things to Do

31

Be a beach bum at Paris Plages

If there’s one event that sums up Paris in the summer, this is it. Back in 2002, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë began the tradition of lining the banks of the Seine with sand, deckchairs, food stalls and volleyball nets, creating a series of city beaches for those stuck in town during the long hot months. Since 2007 the project has extended along the length of the canal in Bassin de la Villette, making an idyllic summer landscape of pétanque, boules, picnicking, sunbathing and watersports.

32

Play cultural catch-up at the Quartier d'Eté festival

Global in outlook, ambitious in scope, citywide and often free, the Quartier d'Eté festival offers a fantastic summer programme of dance, theatre, concerts and circus. Previous years have seen open-air films, gypsy music, ballet by Merce Cunningham, and an opera composed for the occasion by Youssou N'Dour...

33

Lose your way on one of these green suburban trails

Whether you're on wheels, with friends or alone, we have you covered with our range of green itineraries in the suburbs The city's getting to you. The exhaust fumes of passing Citroëns fill your nostrils, the rumble of traffic beats on your eardrums, and the last time you saw green was on the map of the M12 line. Paris, for all its charms, has a way of hemming you in and bringing out your latent claustrophobia. Luckily, there's relief to be had on the other side of the périph'; with this in mind, we set out to uncover the best green paths – for pedestrians, cyclists and skaters alike – in the banlieue...

34

Overdose at candyfloss at the Tuileries Garden's summer funfair

The summer fairground returns to Paris, bigger and better than ever Can you smell waffles? Must be the return of the annual fête foraine (summer fairground) in the Tuileries – for its 30th anniversary, no less. This year's Fête des Tuileries is shaping up to be the best and biggest one yet: the site will feature around 80 different attractions, including bumper cars, trampolines, climbing walls, giant slides, zip wires and ghost trains. Merry-go-rounds of various stripes are the stars of the show: you'll have the chance to mount a vintage carrousel dating from 1900, as well as a zippy modern 6G…

35

Dive in to one of these Paris pools

When Paris's legendary Piscine Molitor – Art Deco showpiece, birthplace of the bikini (and, er, the 'monokini'), star of 'Life of Pi', playground for graffiti artists and ravers – reopened in May 2014, it wasn't in order to welcome back its old public. After languishing in redevelopment limbo for two decades, the pool was eventually snapped up by hotel group Accor, who resolved to convert the site's historic appeal into a luxury brand. The result: a high-end hotel-pool resort that looks good, but costs €180 for a day pass...

36

Let the kids run free range with these outdoor activities

Puppet shows and pony rides are just the beginning at the Luxembourg gardens. The famous carousel, the city’s oldest, was designed by the same architect behind the Opéra Garnier. Older children can try to catch brass rings with a wooden stick as the horses go around, and competitive types may need two or three rides before being satisfied. The nearby playground is the standout here, with plenty of things to climb and jump on, though there is a small cost to enter. The entire playground is fenced in, so mother hens need not worry about their little chicks running off too far...

37

Take a tour of Monet's garden in Giverny

In 1883, Claude Monet moved his mistress and their eight children into a quaint pink-brick house (Fondation Claude Monet) he had rented in bucolic Giverny, and spent as much time cultivating a beautiful garden here as painting the water lilies in it. By 1890, he had bought his dream home and had a pond dug, bridges built and a tableau of greenery created. As Monet’s eyesight began to fail, he produced endless impressions of his man-made paradise. The artist died here in 1926 but his influence is still omnipresent...

38

Find out why Greater Paris is the greatest Paris

When François Hollande's culture minister described London as a 'suburb of Paris', she didn't mean it as a compliment to either. Her point was that London is an uglier, more dangerous version of the French capital; at a stroke, she'd denigrated her Anglo-Saxon neighbours and encapsulated Parisians' often contemptuous view of their own suburbs. We're going to turn the comparison on its head: the much maligned banlieue of the French capital is effectively a major city in its own right, in terms of both population – roughly ten million to central Paris's two – and the cultural activity that such a large bulk of people entails...

39

Have a private picnic at one of these secret Parisian parks

Directly adjoining the Père-Lachaise, the Jardin Naturel shares the cemetery’s tranquil ambience, with none of the morbidity. It’s sizeable for a Parisian neighbourhood park, and its marriage of playground and concealed location ensures that your company will consist mostly of local families and the occasional dog-walker. It also boasts an especially rich biodiversity for the city, with a focus on the wild flora of Île-de-France; but even if you can’t tell your apiaceae from your apocynaceae, the peaceful, secluded setting is enough reason to come and plonk yourself on a bench for an hour or three...

40

Play away with these day trips from Paris

If city life or your travelling schedule suggests a day trip out of Paris, a surprising number of great breaks can be found just beyond the city's périphérique. There are the grand suburbs of Vincennes and Boulogne to explore, famed for their parks, museums and monuments. Or you could hop on the RER for Disneyland, Parc Astérix, the Château de Versailles or Giverny, site of Monet's former country house. But for a real escape from the city, you need to get out of town; and thanks to a reliable high-speed train service, this is more than acheivable from Paris...


Shopping

41

Flâne for your life at the best markets in Paris

Paris's many markets – permanent or weekly, covered or street – are fantastic resources and often very beautiful and atmospheric. For food and drink, markets like Bastille and Saxe-Breteuil are a great opportunity to meet producers and sample new flavours, if not always the cheapest or most efficient way of getting your weekly shopping done. For lovers of antiques, bric-a-brac, books, stamps and more there's a market for every passion, and it's highly recommend you check one out as part of a visit to the city...

42

Kit yourself out for summer at these accessory boutiques

A very girly accessories boutique, named for one of the owner's grandmothers. If cushions with prints of macaroons and cupcakes (€25-€42) are your thing, then you'll be in heaven. In a space that manages to be simultaneously modern and retro, designer jewellery (Anne Thomas, Poupée Rousse, Félicie Aussi) sits alongside trendy accessories...

43

Spend on some surfer chic from WAIT

WAIT is like a breath of fresh air issuing from the heart of the capital. The vibe is straight-up California, all hot sand and salty summer sea. Specialising in surf gear, this boutique is run by Julien Tual and Antoine Mocquard, the creators of the glasses brand Waiting For The Sun (whose frames are made from 100% wood). Setting up a surf shop in the midst of the urban jungle that is Paris may seem a little strange. “Paris is full of budding surfers,” says Julien. “They head to Cherbourg or Landes, where they make the most of the summer weather.” These surfers need a place to stock up, after all...

  1. 9 rue Notre‐Dame de Nazareth, 3e
More info
44

Lay in your summer reads from Paris's English langugae bookshops

In the last few years there have been some sad casualties on the English bookshop scene in Paris, with much-loved outlets Tea and Tattered Pages, Village Voice and Red Wheelbarrow all closing their doors for the last time. But the city that nurtured Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Orwell and Beckett remains a major hub and an inspiration for English writers and readers, and there are still glossy emporiums, delightful second-hand treasure troves and plenty of mixed-language outlets to explore. They're also great places to find out about literary readings and events (particularly Shakespeare & Company)...

45

Put some sauce on your summer at these lingerie boutiques

Founded in 2006, Passage du Désir is a veritable 'lovestore' – a place in which to free your kinky fantasies far from the cries of seedy sex shops. From willy shaped pasta to edible body paint, vibrators and an array of his and hers sex toys (including a dildo that plugs into your i-pod and vibrates to the rhythm of your music!), something here is bound to tickle your fancy...

46

Rummage for vintage in the Marais

From second-hand t-shirt bargain bins to vintage designer pieces for hundreds of euros, the Marais is the place to head for everything pre-loved. The cavernous Kilo Shop sells bags, shoes, furs, knits and more by weight; Vintage Bar (complete with decommissioned beer taps) stocks scarlet-soled Louboutins; Plus Que Parfait sells on your unwanted threads for a commission.

47

Consider some ink at Paris's tattoo parlours

Whether you're browsing for ideas or ready for your inking session, we've visited some of the top Paris tattoo studios to meet the artists and check out their work. Scroll through some artwork below and see if any of the styles inspire you...

48

Search for vinyl at Fargo Store

Paris has a fantastic range of record stores stocking every genre under the sun and showcasing local bands across the spectrum of rock, indie, pop and more. Fargo’s free sets are known to draw the crowds.

  1. 42 rue de la Folie-Méricourt, 11e
More info
49

Wander les passages couverts

In 18th and 19th century Paris, these elegant glass-roofed forerunners to our modern day malls allowed shoppers to shop, dine or spend a secluded hour in the arms of a lover. Nowadays these passages are real architectural gems, perfect for hours of delicious browsing full of boutiques and restaurants.

50

Pick up a picnic at Causses

SoPi’s (South Pigalle) alimentation générale extraordinaire feels like an urban farm shop, offering a winning formula of simple quality, seasonal, produce, gourmet preserves and take-away breads, sandwiches and salads. For expats in need of a taste of home, they also stock Tyrrell’s crisps, Covent Garden soups, HP sauce and English biscuits.

  1. 55 rue Notre-Dame de la Lorette, 9e
More info

Users say

3 comments
Uriel G
Uriel G

Did you try Visitobus Paris (free app audio guide from the regular Paris buses) ?

Lulu
Lulu

No 'Lichtenstein' at the Pompidou, either...?

Lulu
Lulu

Great line up, but when exactly was this list put together? Le Mary Celeste (#2!) won't have oysters until September as their Facebook announced (in April mind you, so may have changed without further update) and Cinema Paradiso is well finished. It'd help updating this info before advertising on Facebook, perhaps?