39 brilliant things to do in Paris this August

Our guide to the best bars, restaurants and galleries still open during Paris’s annual holiday month
35 things to do in Paris in August
© Besopha
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Summer in Paris is always pleasant, idyllic even  especially if you spend it sunbathing in the park or at one of the city’s various mock-up beaches. What’s not so pleasant, is turning up at your favourite bar, geed up for a refreshing cocktail, only to discover it’s shut, as so many are in Paris throughout most of August. Bah, les vacances.

So this is why we’ve put together a guide to the best restaurants, bars and galleries open throughout the month, along with the most exciting (of the very few) gigs and festivals taking place in and around the city.

Recommended: The best parks in Paris open all night this summer

The trendiest bars open for service in August

Attractions

Rooftop of the Philharmonie

Now the Philharmonie has added another dimension to its already impressive building, with one of the most unique rooftops in the capital. At 37 metres high with a 360° view, it's the perfect spot to see Invalides and the Eiffel Tower from afar.

Things to do, Cultural centres

Summer House

A hybrid dedicated to American Pop culture in all its forms: Summer House brings the best of music, art, cinema, performance art to the Mona Bismarck American Center. Free entry to this amazing summer programme.

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Fabrice BOISSIERE
Bars and pubs

Ground Control

icon-location-pin Bercy

2016's Grand Train becomes Ground Control (again)!After last year's installment in an old SNCF depot near La Chapelle, the Grand Train is reborn as Ground Control. 

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Nodana

icon-location-pin Roquette

Whilst strolling through the Parisian streets on a Wednesday afternoon, you might happen across Nodana. Signalled by a green façade on rue Leon Frot and the green passage Gustave Lepeu, it's easy to guess the vibe even from the pavement. Workshop-like windows, plants everywhere, hanging from the ceiling or beautifully arranged in their terracotta pots.

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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Bar Ourcq

icon-location-pin Jaurès

If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms.

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Bars and pubs

Au Fond du Jardin

icon-location-pin 20e arrondissement

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. 

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Bars and pubs, Hotel bars

Anouk

icon-location-pin 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. 

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Papa Cabane

icon-location-pin Bercy

As soon as the first rays of sunshine hit the ground, Parisians are drawn outside, onto the quais and parc lawns to drink beers and spritzs. Catering to this movement is why more and more ephemeral terraces are opening up across the capital. Adding to this list is Papa Cabane, opening in Bercy park, behind an Ibis hotel. This sprawling 1000m2 terrace, with wooden decking decorated with cushions and deckchairs, is catapulting us into summer.

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Bars and pubs

Le Plan B

icon-location-pin Grenelle

Dupleix metro isn't a stop that's highly visited amongst the majority of Parisians. However, it seems that quite a few people live here and like it rather well. And with the arrival of Plan B and O Coffeeshop across the road, the neighbourhood is swiftly developing.

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Moonshiner

icon-location-pin Roquette

To get to Mooshiner, you first have to make your way through the restaurant Pizza Da Vito, then push your way through the metal door of the walk-in fridge.  It’s all cocktails and whiskies, at a large range of prices – from €6 for the delicious seasonal punch to €14 for a more complex cocktail like the Smokey Island...

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Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Café Odilon

icon-location-pin Jaurès

Move northwards from the busier Jaures area of the Canal de l’Ourcq, and you’ll find a calm little spot where you can enjoy an idyllic view of the Quai de la Marne. Café Odilon opened its doors at the end of April 2016, just in time for the summer, during which customers will be able to enjoy a generously ratio-ed spritz (or two) in the neo-vintage interior and bask in the sunshine that pours through the large bay windows...

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Bars and pubs, Tapas bars

Le Perchoir de l'Est

icon-location-pin Gare de l'Est

You may be used to going on holiday via the train station, but this summer in Paris there’s a twist. Arrive at Gare de l’Est, and instead of hopping aboard a train, take a trip up to the roof. The views are breathtaking and the drinks impressive. We start with a sparky, inventive Tequila Viadeta (€6) before moving onto an Old Fashioned (bourbon, sugar, bitters, orange peel, €13)...

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

La méduse

icon-location-pin Canal Saint-Martin

Done out in open brick walls and simple lighting for an understated vibe, La Méduse (‘jellyfish’ in French) does well to draw in customers by the Canal Saint-Martin, whose banks are already packed with trendy bars and restaurants. Mixing the drinks here is Hamza Saïdi and he really wows with concoctions like the Soupe Aztèque (mezcal, pineapple juice, lime and agave syrup infused with thyme), which is fresh, heady and smoky in equal measure....

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Paris restaurants serving throughout the summer

Restaurants, Middle Eastern

Balagan

The latest project from the Experimental Group gives delivers sexy dishes perfect for date night, girls night, or any other night for that matter.

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Restaurants, Israeli

Tavline

icon-location-pin Le Marais

The azure blue façade contrasts perfectly with the beige stone of rue du Roi de Sicile. It's easy to imagine yourself on the waterfront in the lovely Mediterranean heat. 

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Restaurants, Seafood

Crabe Royal

icon-location-pin La Madeleine

For those that consider crab the humble counterpart to lobster...think again. 

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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Greenhouse

icon-location-pin 11th arrondissement

At the end of rue Crespin du Gast we saw a place blossom with big baskets of rhubarb, chives, strawberries, thyme and a multitude of other plants. Whatever it was, it won't last long... 

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Restaurants, Middle Eastern

Balagan

A stone's throw from Colette on Rue Saint Honoré, the Tuileries gardens, and Rue de Rivoli, Balagan's location couldn't be any more French if it tried. 

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Restaurants, Greek

Etsi

icon-location-pin 18e arrondissement

The blue front window is as blue as the Aegean Sea, with a shaded terrace and smells of hot pitas, gyros and grilled fish are excuding from the doors. 

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Restaurants, French

Bien Elevé

icon-location-pin Faubourg Montmartre

Whilst the vegan movement is picking up steam, the meat lovers certainly haven’t said their last words just yet. Having said that, the two owners of Bien Elevé in the 9th don’t like to be referred to as just meat-loving carnivores. 

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Restaurants, Scandinavian

Flora Danica

icon-location-pin Champs-Elysées

Like its big sister, Restaurant Copenhagen, Flora Danica has gone through a bit of a refurb. Gone is the sombre decoration and same-same menu, and instead we're treated to a vibrant and stylish ambiance - on and off the plate.  

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Restaurants, French

Rooftop du Mama Shelter

icon-location-pin 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. 

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Restaurants, French

Grand Cœur

icon-location-pin Le Marais

Once a coaching inn in the 17th century and now an elegant restaurant in the heart of the touristy Marais, Grand Coeur is the latest offering from Mauro Colagreco, probably best known for his double Michelin starred address Mirazur in Menton. 

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Must-see August exhibitions and art

Museums, Art and design

The Centre Pompidou

icon-location-pin 4e arrondissement

The primary colours, exposed pipes and air ducts make the Centre Pompidou one of the best-known sights in Paris. The then-unknown Italo-British architectural duo of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition with their 'inside-out' boilerhouse approach, which put air-conditioning, pipes, lifts and the escalators on the outside, leaving an adaptable space within. The multi-disciplinary concept of modern art museum (the most important in Europe), library, exhibition and performance spaces, and repertory cinema was also revolutionary...

Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Time Out / Oliver Knight
Museums, Art and design

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

icon-location-pin Louvre

Taken as a whole (along with the Musée de la Mode et du Textile and Musée de la Publicité), this is one of the world's major collections of design and the decorative arts. Located in the west wing of the Louvre since its opening a century ago, the venue reopened in 2006 after a decade-long, €35-million restoration of the building and of 6,000 of the 150,000 items donated mainly by private collectors. The major focus here is French furniture and tableware. From extravagant carpets to delicate crystal and porcelain, there is much to admire. Clever spotlighting and black settings show the exquisite treasures - including châtelaines made for medieval royalty and Maison Falize enamel work - to their best advantage. Other galleries are categorised by theme: glass, wallpaper, drawings and toys. There are cases devoted to Chinese head jewellery and the Japanese art of seduction with combs. Of most immediate attraction to the layman are the reconstructed period rooms, ten in all, showing how the other (French) half lived from the late 1400s to the early 20th century.

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Museums

Musée Galliera

icon-location-pin Chaillot

This look at clothes through history takes an academic approach to its subject. Housed in a hôtel particulier built by Eiffel, the Galliera has a huge costume collection. It has links with the fashion industry, and its initiative with young designers shows innovative work.

Museums, Art and design

Musée National Rodin

icon-location-pin 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. Most visitors have greatest affection for the gardens: look out for the Burghers of Calais, the Gates of Hell, and the Thinker. Rodin fans can also visit the Villa des Brillants at Meudon (19 av Rodin, Meudon, 01.41.14.35.00), where the artist worked from 1895.

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Museums

Musée Picasso

icon-location-pin Le Marais

Finally, after many years of building works, the Musée Picasso re-opened its doors on October 25 2014 – once again, the people of Paris can enjoy masterpieces such as La Celestina, The Suppliant or Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter. Set in the great 17th century Hôtel Salé in the heart of the historic Marais area, Picasso’s masterpieces hang on the walls of bright, spacious exhibition rooms. First opened 29 years ago, the Musée Picasso is one of the city’s most precious and prestigious institutions – now that it's finally re-opened, it feels like the Parisian art scene is back on track.  That said, after five years of expensive and controversial building works, the venue falls a little short of the innovative modern museum that was promised. This museum holds the largest collection in the world of Picasso’s masterpieces, and yet they are haphazardly exhibited, following no particular chronology or themes. There's a lack of historical and political analyses, depriving visitors of a useful framework in which to grasp the agenda of the 20th century avant-garde artist. Although it is interesting to view Picasso’s work independent of other references, it's a shame not to have made the experience more cohesive.   

Louvre at Night
Heloise Bergman / Time Out
Museums, Art and design

The Louvre

icon-location-pin Louvre

Read Time Out's review of The Louvre below or click here for our exclusive photo tour of the museum. The world's largest museum is also its most visited, with an incredible 8.8 million visitors in 2011. It is a city within the city, a vast, multi-level maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and escalators. It's famous for the artistic glories it contains within, but the very fabric of the museum is a masterpiece in itself - or rather, a collection of masterpieces modified and added to from one century to another. And because nothing in Paris ever stands still, the additions and modifications continue into the present day, with the opening of a major new Islamic Arts department 2012, and the franchising of the Louvre 'brand' via new outposts in Lens (www.louvrelens.fr) and Abu Dhabi. If any place demonstrates the central importance of culture in French life, this is it.Some 35,000 works of art and artefacts are on show, split into eight departments and housed in three wings: Denon, Sully and Richelieu. Under the atrium of the glass pyramid, each wing has its own entrance, though you can pass from one to another. Treasures from the Egyptians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans each have their own galleries in the Denon and Sully wings, as do Middle Eastern and Islamic art. The first floor of Richelieu is taken up with European decorative arts from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, including room after room of Napoleon III's lavish apartments.The main draw, though, is the p

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Musée d'Orsay visuel
© Kiev.Victor
Museums, Art and design

Musée d'Orsay

icon-location-pin 7e arrondissement

In 1973, the Musée d’Orsay’s days were numbered; they were planning to demolish Victor Laloux’s 1900 former train station and its giant clocks to erect an ultra modern luxury hotel on the banks of the Seine. Fortunately, its history and importance prevailed and the newly redesigned Musée d'Orsay was unveiled on December 1, 1986. Then in October 2011, the museum reopened its two most important rooms after years of building works. There are rooms dedicated specifically to Courbet and Van Gogh, as does art nouveau, a first for the museum. Even the superb coffee shop/café tucked behind the clock (designed by the Campana brothers) is submarine themed, in homage to Jules Verne's Nautilus, and has recently been treated to an invigorating lick of paint. A little reminder of these gargantuan updated collections: they begin where the Louvre’s finish off (around 1848) and continue where the Centre Pompidou’s begins (around 1914). In other words, sixty years of art history - from realism to the Pont-Aven school, from Impressionism to pointillism, which attracts more than 3 million visitors a year and occupies nearly 35,000 m2. The highlights in this glass and metal monster gem include: Courbet’s 'L’Origine du monde' and 'Un enterrement à Ornans,' as well as Millet’s 'Glaneuses' and Corot’s landscapes. See Manet’s bridge between realism and impressionism with 'Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe' and 'Olympia'. Then inhale the fumes of Monet's 'La Gare Saint-Lazare', considered the first Impressi

Museums, Art and design

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais

icon-location-pin Champs-Elysées

Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais was the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. During World War II it accommodated Nazi tanks. In 1994 the magnificent glass-roofed central hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off, although exhibitions continued to be held in the other wings. After major restoration, the Palais reopened in 2005.

Five brilliant gigs and festivals in August

Music, Music festivals

Classique au Vert 2017

When? August 5-September 17 2017 

What? A series of free classical music concerts in the sunshine.

Where? In the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes, Classique au Vert returns to Paris this summer with another brilliant series of free open air concerts. Featuring classical music in many different guises, this year the series offers an awesomely diverse programme, ranging from the Orchestre de chambre de Toulouse to Geneva Camerata.  

Music, Dance and electronic

Macki Off

Where? Port de Loisirs Bobigny

When? 5-6 August

What? Following the knock out success of July's Macki Music Festival, the two DJ organisers are coming back for more with Macki Off. Its a free event set at Bobigny port but with ticketed party boats leaving the quay for a very generous €8. Be sure to get down and groovy on both land and 'sea'. 

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Lil Wayne

Where? Olympia

When? 16 August, 8pm

What? With 100 million records sold worldwide, four-time Grammy winner Lil Wayne is bringing the party to Paris this August. The hip-hop artist holds the record for having the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart - beating even the King himself, Elvis Presley. His latest album FWA (Free Weezy Album) featuring Whiz Khalifa and Jeezy is his 11th studio album and shows the maestro has no signs of slowing down despite rumours of retirement.

Open Air Electro

Where? Le 6B

When? 19 August - 2pm-2am

How much? €8.99

6B's 3000m2 vast open space plays host to sandy beaches and a line up conjured up by the funkiest French radio station, Le Mellotron. Expect sun-soaked easy groovers from Madame Sans Gêne too to add some spicey house music to the mix. With party boats, 2 main areas and multiple punchy sound systems to boot, whats not to like? 

 

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Music, Music festivals

Rock en Seine 2017

When? August 25-27 2017

What? Outdoor rock festival with an international line-up.

Where? The Domaine National de Saint-Cloud Launched in 2003, the Rock en Seine festival in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud park west of Paris is the city’s premier annual rock festival – something like the French Glastonbury. 

Music, Jazz

Jazz à la Villette festival 2017

When? August 31-September 13 2017

What? A ‘jazz’ festival that’s very creative with its programming.

Where? The Parc de la VilletteThe 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. 

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