Things to do in Paris this summer

Things that are green, things that are fun and many more things to do in summery Paris

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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.

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© Agathe Poupeney

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...

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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...

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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…

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...



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