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13 ways to escape the heat in Paris

Under a leafy canopy or on the water - here are our choice things to do to cool off this summer

By Alice White Walker

The sun is out and world shines with it. But in this rising heat, things have been getting a little uncomfortable (not that we're ones to complain...). Thankfully, there are few corners of Paris where you can find some shade. 

Here's our roundup of the best places - rooftops, secret gardens, bars - to get cool, refreshed and (momentarily) stop sweating this summer in Paris.

13 places to find some shade

Have mint tea & cakes at the Grande Mosquée

3 out of 5 stars
Attractions Religious buildings and sites 5e arrondissement

La Mosquée café (open 9am-midnight daily) is delightful - a modest courtyard with blue-and-white mosaic-topped tables shaded beneath green foliage and scented with the sweet smell of sheesha smoke (€6). Charming waiters distribute thé à la menthe (€2), along with syrupy, nutty North African pastries, sorbets and fruit salads.

Find a hidden leafy terrace

Hotels La Madeleine

Hotel Amastan is hiding a new bar destination in the 8th arrondissement. Far from the overpriced chains and same-same brasseries, the cosy and chic Anouk bar with its impeccable stylings and leafy hidden terrace is a find you’ll want to keep to yourself. Coctkails are original creations or modern spins on classics - New York sour, Negropina etc. Gin & tonic fans will find a trio of variations (purple, red, black) to the drink and there are a selection of finely-tuned sharing plates to stave off any hunger. A sure-fire address to impress a date... 

Vedettes de Paris
Vedettes de Paris

Get cool on the Seine

Things to do Walks and tours 7e arrondissement

For a river cruise with a difference, Vedettes de Paris runs one-hour evening champagne sightseeing trips. A sommelier will guide you through three different champagnes as you cruise the Seine, all in the civilised comfort of the foredeck’s private glass panorama room. There are also a range of cheaper non-boozey cruises that run day and night.

Take shade with some great music

4 out of 5 stars
Music Music venues Ménilmontant

The Bellevilloise is the latest incarnation of a building that once housed the capital's very first workers' co-operative. Now it competently multitasks as a bar, restaurant, club and exhibition space, hosting regular film and music festivals on the top level (where there's a fake lawn with deckchairs and a massage area). Enjoy brunch in the Halle aux Oliviers or decent views of the quartier from the charming terrace; downstairs the club-cum-concert venue has launched some of Paris's most exciting new bands, and on '80s nights you can hardly move for the thirtysomethings living it up like they were 20 again. Live jazz music at the Sunday brunch.  


Refined dining on a rooftop

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants French 20e arrondissement

Though an undeniable indulgence, dinner on the rooftop of Mama Shelter is a surprisingly homely affair – in no small part thanks to the mellow vibe engendered by the ping-pong table and the array of hammocks and mattresses. That's its charm. The food is fairly straightforward stuff, though invariably prepared carefully, with top-grade ingredients. 

Stroll around the Master's gardens

Museums Art and design Invalides

The Rodin museum occupies the hôtel particulier where the sculptor lived in the final years of his life. The Kiss, the Cathedral, the Walking Man, portrait busts and early terracottas are exhibited indoors, as are many of the individual figures or small groups that also appear on the Gates of Hell.Rodin's works are accompanied by several pieces by his mistress and pupil, Camille Claudel. The walls are hung with paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Carrière and Rodin himself. 


Live la vie en rose

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Saint-Georges

Even though everyone knows about it, something about this café makes you feel as though you've been let in on one of Paris's secrets. Buried in the heart of touristy Montmartre, this café adjoins the Musée de la Vie Romantique and feels like it was created with the same theme in mind. The terrace is fringed with flowers such as roses and fuchsias, making it a romantic, secluded spot that feels far away from the pace of the city. 

Cocktails under the canopy

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Buttes-Chaumont

Next to the house is an enormous terrace shaded by trees. It’s a popular place, but thankfully there’s plenty of seating space (punters can choose between large wicker chairs, cosy garden furniture or benches layered with cushions). Synthetic grass completes the Pavillon’s quaintly rural look .To drink, we opt for a brilliantly zesty Moscow Mule, and bask in the sun while an upbeat pop playlist plays. 


A roof with a sacré view

5 out of 5 stars
Hotels Abbesses

Nowhere else has this view. From the outdoor terrace to the window tables, the bar takes in the ranks of distinguished gravestones of the Cimetière de Montmartre below, swivelling up over a sea of undulating grey rooftops to the Eiffel Tower on the far left bank of the city, out towards the grassy hills of the Bois du Boulogne, while over your shoulder looms the sugary dome of the Sacré-Coeur. Even a properly blasé Parisian might take a minute up here to raise their glass to the ville lumière.

Secret garden (with pizza)

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs 20e arrondissement

Just behind Place Edith Piaf, you'll find a little corner of paradise, slot between two old glass workshops. Au Fond du Jardin is located as cryptically as it sounds. Behind the glowing light of this pizzeria (a small restaurant with old wooden chairs, and a beaten up stone facade) a treat awaits. The passage at the side leads you to a leafy terrace, with multicolour tables, red brick paving, lavender bushes, climbing wisteria, and strings of lights like a village fête. Hey presto, you're in Provence.


Walk amongst the roses

4 out of 5 stars
Museums History Montmartre

After exploring the permanent collection and the various temporary exhibitions on offer, enjoy the Renoir gardens, a calm haven overlooking Montmartre’s vineyards and the only remaining fin de siècle cabaret, Au Lapin Agile. If you’re lucky, you’ll even meet Salis, the friendly museum cat named after the founder of the Au Chat Noir cabaret. 


Ground Control returns

Things to do Cultural centres Bercy

This enormous 6000m²(!) space will be home to restaurants (PNY, Ten Belles, Bob’s Bake Shop), bars (Zabriskie Bar, Bartholdi's, Bikini Atoll), as well as concert areas, barber shops, a garage for bikes, markets and exhibition space. In short, just about everything you could need. As ever, the space is 100% free - and open long hours (even on Sunday) so you can maximise the good weather and work on your tan.  Ground Control is on until September 30, 2017

© Bruno Comtesse

Enjoy yoga, gardening and drinks at MOB

Hotels Paris et sa banlieue

At MOB you can feast on excellent organic pizzas, take a rooftop yoga class, watch people cultivating their cabbage patches, or take in an open-air film. This immense space opened at the beginning of March and is sure to be the spot for summer. Where better to enjoy a barbecue, evening film or terrace bar? Betting you can already picture yourself on a deckchair with a fresh Aperol in hand...

SEE ALSO: Paris's best rooftop bars

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