If you ask a Parisian which are his favorite activities in Paris for a sunny Sunday afternoon or holidays, there is high probability that the answer will be “chilling out in one of the parks or woods of the French capital”. Indeed, there are plenty of activities that one can undertake here, with or without children, including both the lazy people as well as the more active ones. The other most common answers can be relaxing at the terraces of a bar, “enjoying the pedestrian banks of the Seine river”, “visiting a cultural place”, or “practicing a sport in Paris”, which all make you enjoy the sunshine while discovering the most beautiful city in the world. Read our article and learn what are the most Parisian activities
Let’s start with the Tuileries, a typical French garden where you can either walk, sit on one of the peculiar Parisian green chairs, or play boule game while drinking some pastis. The Tuileries are on the right bank, on the West side of the Louvre museum and if you walk up to the end of the park, you can enjoy a magnificent sight of most of the Parisian landmarks.
A sunny afternoon in the Tuileries garden
If you have young children, there is a classic of Parisian activities you can have your little ones try, what almost every little Parisian has done at least once in their life: the pony rides that are held in a lot of parks and woods, and the balloon flight in André Citroën park (in the 15th district, not so far from the Eiffel Tower).
The pony walks are easy to access on every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and school holidays for all children from 15 months and up to 30 kg. They are from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Parc Monceau, Georges Brassens, Buttes Chaumont and Montsouris, and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and holidays and 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sundays and holidays in Bois de Vincennes, the Bois de Boulogne and the Palace of Versailles. The price for 1 walk is 2 € 70, 2 walks cost 5 €, and each additional ticket goes for 2 € 50 (book 7 tickets: € 16; book 15 tickets: € 30. Tickets sold on site and valid in all sites mentioned).
A quiet pony walk in the Parc Montsouris
The balloon flight experience is one of those new Parisian activities. It consists of a great balloon with 6000 m3 of helium, visible over 10 km and with a maximum of 30 passengers per flight, and it goes up to 150 m high in the Parisian sky. Sometimes, early in the morning and if the weather allows, it can go as high as 300 m (almost the height of the Eiffel Tower).
The show lasts for about 10 minutes, without any shaking or noise and with an amazing view over Paris. It is open daily from 9 am to sunset, in Parc André Citroën (metro line 8 and RER C Balard), and the prices are 12€ for adults, 6€ for children, and free for children less than 3 years old (for more info contact +33 1 44 26 20 00). However, note that if the weather does not permit it, walks and obviously the balloon flight can be canceled.
The new balloon offers you a unique view over the whole of Paris
In the two main woods just outside Paris, the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, you can either walk, take a nap on the grass, jog, or even rent a rowing boat (12€ per boat per hour, open every day from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm) for yourself and up to a maximum of 3 other persons in the lake of the Bois de Vincennes. No need to say, but that might be one of the most romantic Parisian activities.
The Lake in Bois de Vincennes
If you do not want to stay in a park, then you can stay in one of the thousands of bars or restaurants which have terraces such as the ones in Place Dauphine (on île de la Cité), place du Marché Sainte-Catherine (in the Marais), place de la Contrescarpe (at rue Mouffetard, 5th district), place du Tertre (in Montmartre, very famous but also very touristic), as well as many others.
However, you should not miss the Parisian activities on and around the Seine river, where we like having drinks, eating, playing music and walking on romantic bridges. If you are here during the summer, the Paris-plage experience can be also very nice: an artificial beach is built along the Seine, with a lot of different equipment including 350 deckchairs, 50 palm trees and 1,357 tons of Normandy sand. A lot of free activities are available, including dawn yoga, readings, meditation classes, fencing, pétanque and free book loans. Finally, if you want to cross the Seine, take the boat cruises (Vedettes du pont Neuf for example, which starts from the extreme West of the île de la Cité).
Paris-Plage in 2009
If you are in a more intellectual or serious mood, you can visit some cultural places with open spaces such as the garden of the Musée Rodin (near the Invalides), or have look at the exhibition in Beaubourg (Pompidou Center), ideally when it is raining, and then go in the expensive but very beautiful restaurant Georges at the top of this major museum located in the Marais (ideally, you should visit the exhibition when it is raining, then have a break at Georges when the sun comes back). Finally, you can visit the Père La Chaise cemetery in the 20th disctrict and see the graves of many famous French and foreign characters (Honoré de Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrisson…).
Père Lachaise cemetery
Last but not least, you also have the opportunity to practice a lot of different sports in Paris: not only pétanque in the parks or beach-volley in Paris-plage, but also swimming in the modern Joséphine Baker swimming pool (which is built just over the river Seine, in the 13th district) and also roller-blade and biking tours. These tours are held weekly at a large scale: each Friday night, with a critical mass of either bikes or roller-blades, with a great walk of about 3 hours organized in the city of Light.
Both are free tours: the association Pari Rando Vélo starts its tour at Hotel de Ville at 9:30 pm (departure, 10 pm) while the experienced skaters depart from 10 pm in front of the Montparnasse Tower (14th district), and skater beginners meet on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm at Boulevard Bourdon (at Bastille, 4th district). You simply need to find a bike (good opportunity to try the Vélib’, the grey bike that is easy to rent and which has become a symbol of Paris) or a roller-blade, and be on time for this great experience!
One of the several biking tours of Paris