Locals and frequent tourists to France usually have firm opinions about their favorite summer activities in Paris. Trust me when I tell you there are hundreds of wonderful experiences.I’d say try them all, but of course that would take a lifetime. Let me help you to narrow the gargantuan list down to a few options. National treasures and hidden gems top the list and many involve being outdoors. Of course it does rain every now and then, so some inside time shopping in boutiques or perusing a Picasso will do just fine when the sun fails to shine.
Pont Saint-Louis (Bridge Saint Louis) behind Notre Dame connects the islands of Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis. Summer time is a magical time to watch the street performers do their thing. Everyone from tightrope walkers to magicians and street bands take stage to delight adults and children.
Of course one of the most popular summer field trips is to Giverny – Monet’s chosen home where his lily pond inspired masterpieces were created. The photo above reflects the very scenery that Monet painted over and over again. It makes me admire his work even more since he only had his eyes and his memory to rely upon – not a glossy color photograph to refer to when working. This was my favorite shot of the day spent wandering through his gardens – my own photographic ripoff of his vision.
Summer and water go hand in hand. Naturally when in Paris I like to take advantage of the Seine by taking a boat cruise. Whether it’s during a warm summer day or in the cooler evenings, being on the water to see the monuments from a different vantage point is always a treat. There are many good operators, but I think Bateaux Vedettes has one of the best reputations. The boats are smaller with less competition for a chance to take some wonderful snapshots.
Window shop – literally! When the weather is lovely in Paris, the gardeners go into overdrive. Paris is full of amazing terraces whose beauty is never more appreciated than in the summer when the vines in the pots spring upwards, shake off the winter cold and go into full bloom. To witness the beauty of Paris, don’t forget to look up and admire the roses, geraniums, tulips and more.
Leave the traffic behind, take the Métro and get yourself to the Arc de Triomphe. Climb the 284 steps to the top to experience a breathtaking view of the Champs-Elysée and the Eiffel Tower. Don’t worry if it’s cloudy, some of the most interesting photos of Paris are the ones with ominous weather approaching. You can see for miles and the walk up all those steps will burn off the calories needed for the pastry overload during your trip.
Picnic anywhere! A green patch of grass like the one in front of the Bon Marché in Square Boucicaut and a basket of goodies is all you need to relax and enjoy Paris. Of course, Parisians will picnic in the funniest places like the chaps below. They had an impromptu al fresco dinner by the entrance for the Métro. Other Parisians, like the ones shown in the photo below the young men plop themselves down on one of the many bridges crossing the River Seine. Personally, I prefer the wide open gardens of the Jardins du Luxembourg myself, but c’est la vie!
Locals look forward to the annual party known as Bals des Sapeurs de Pompiers (Fireman’s Ball) which begins in mid-July. The celebration to commemorate Bastille Day raises quite a bit of money that goes towards improving the working conditions of the staff. Some balls have a family atmosphere and others are more like a rave. All are spectacular, but have long lines to get in. If you are lucky, a hunky fireman will help you down the pole!
All photos are the property of The Weekend In Paris. Must obtain permission before use.