Things to do During Spring in Paris
Paris in the spring est magnifique, to put it simply. It is my strong belief that it was these months of the year that inspired much of the romantic narrative that is available about Paris today.
The season that brought out the works of musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald and Eartha Kitt; who famously sang about wanting to be “under the bridges of Paris”… with you!
The official start of spring in Paris is dated on the 21st of March each year. For the following three months one can quite literally observe this usually grey, concrete covered city bloom overnight.
Don’t get me wrong, the city of lights is alive all year round — there is always much to see and do in Paris regardless of the season. But the change from winter to spring is an undeniably special one.
One you can feel in the tumultuous temperature of the air, the welcome irritation of pollen in your sinus’, the ever so slightly friendlier “bonjour” from your local corner store clerk.
As the nights get shorter and days get longer there are a number of things you don’t want to miss out on taking part in during spring in Paris. After spending months indoors, being outside should be the number one priority.
What I love about spring in Paris is that it brings many of the perks of summer, with less of the crowding and chaos. What follows is a little guide to the top thing to do during spring in Paris — many of them costing absolutely nothing.
Get Cultural During Spring in Paris
Typical to Europe, you can’t always rely on the Parisian weather to permit the outdoor experience. When this happens, we go indoors. And we go visit the flowers indoors, as well!
The Musee l’Orangerie is juts a short walk from the iconic Louvre and offers a much less overwhelming experience. Inside you’ll find the incredible eight-piece Water Lilies series by Monet. The museum is free to all on the first Sunday of each month throughout spring time.
The Long Night of Museums
Deeper into the spring, usually around May 18th, you can enjoy a most culturally wonderful event known as The Long Night of Museums. This event is organized by the Ministry of Culture and has been successfully running for the last ten years.
On this day, museums across Paris open their doors for free admission to all. They also stay open late into the spring evening and offer experiences such as shows, readings, artist encounters and concerts.
While the Eiffel Tower is worth the visit all year round, there are some months that see the structure buried deep within the clouds and fog. A trip up the tower during this time is seemingly pointless, as you will not be able to bask in the 360° city views once the elevator meets the sky.
The spring time in Paris brings (for the most part) crispy clear skies. Since it’s also the season of neither hot nor cold, standing in line for tickets will be at its most bearable.
It costs adults roughly €25 for full access in the Eiffel Tower, €12 for youth of 24 years and younger.
Château de Versailles
Like the Eiffel Tower, the Château de Versailles is something to see regardless of the season. It is France’s most colossal and opulent palace. Visiting Versailles gets you slightly out of Paris for the day. It is about one hour outside of the city.
Late in spring the palace becomes home to Les Grandes Eaux Musicales, better known as the Musical Fountain Show. Every Saturday evening you can enjoy a spectacle of light, water and baroque inspired music in the majestic gardens of the Château. I make a point of attending one of these evenings once a year; it never ceases to leave me utterly awestruck.
Walk the City During Spring in Paris
Since spring in Paris is all about the great outdoors there is no better way to be completely immersed in the season than through exploring by foot!
The bohemian district of Montmartre is definitely top of my list for best walking neighborhoods in Paris. It was these streets that first inspired some of the most famous artworks known today.
The Garden in the rue Cortot is Renoir’s masterpiece rendition of the spring time in Montmartre. A free guided walking tour of the area will also take you past the famous Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur.
When I’m craving a bit of Eastern culture there is nothing I enjoy more than strolling the streets of Quartier Chinois located just south of Rue de Tolbiac.
It is an eclectic neighborhood comprised of everything Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian. Due to the extensive street life this neighborhood is best explored when it’s not too cold outside, so spring is the perfect time.
For the most authentic and memorable dim sum experience outside of China make time to eat at the Chinatown Olympiades. It is located on Avenue d’Ivry and considered the centre of Parisian Chinatown.
Hidden Gems and Secret Paris Tour
Walking unfamiliar neighborhoods without some sort of guidance can be overwhelming to even the most experienced travelers. It can even be overwhelming to locals at that!
Discover Walks offers an incredible (and free!) guided walking tour called Hidden Gems and Secret Paris. It is a beautiful way to see the Parisian spring that isn’t on the tourist maps.
You’ll spend 90 minutes on foot uncovering lavish passageways, hard-to-find courtyards, ornate outdoor structures and gardens. Book early to avoid disappointment, these walks tend to fill up quickly.
When the season swings to spring the more energetic Parisian streets are where you want to be. The 5th arrondissement is also known as the Latin Quarter and is a must for both tourists and locals in Paris.
Being a University town, the neighborhood is energetic even in the darkest days of winter — so you can imagine what spring is like.
The Latin Quarter boasts an abundance of bars and bistros in which you’ll meet hoards of weird and wonderful individuals only too willing to engage in any conversation spurring higher education.
My favorite thing to do in the area is visit the Shakespeare & Company bookstore over on Rue de la Bûcherie. A time warp of note!
Nights Out During Spring in Paris
Spring evenings in Paris provide just as much to enjoy as the days do. Since the cold isn’t as bitter, more and more Parisians leave their dwellings in search of a good glass of wine and entertainment to match.
Nothing connects you to the soul of a city quite like a jazz club. Amongst other things, Paris is known for having some of the most vibrant jazz clubs in the world. Le Caveau de la Huchette is one of the oldest and most well known.
Although this venue only became a jazz club in 1949, the building that houses it dates back to the 16th century and represents a well-kept cellar. Arrive early on any spring Friday evening for the best the club has to offer.
Street Side Dining
What spring time in Paris is really about is the street-side cafe dining late into the evenings. This is an activity that takes a bit of a backseat during the colder months, but is an intricate part of the Parisian experience.
There is something incredibly majestic about losing yourself in good food & wine, excellent conversation, and piping hot coffee at a table on the sidewalk as Parisian life continues to go past.
Street cafe’s are abundant on just about every road and corner, you need only walk until the right one grasps your attention.
Paris Traveling Funfair
While the Winter can be tricky for families with children, the spring brings welcome relief when it comes to entertainment.
Every year through April and May the Paris Traveling Funfair takes place in the largest public park in the city; the Vincennes Wood. Young or old, the Traveling Funfair is a magical way to spend an evening in the city.
I recommend arriving just before sunset so they you have some time to enjoy the emerging greenery of the park before heading over to the ride section.
Picnic in the Gardens During Spring in Paris
Nothing says spring in Paris like the serial picnickers that come out from the shadows. The once dry and seemingly desolate parks are suddenly alive with colorful blankets, people and food.
The Tuileries Gardens are one of the most popular spots to enjoy some grass based dining. Located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement, the gardens peak during spring as there is little shade at this spot during the summer.
Pack up your baguettes, cheeses and screw-top wines — it’s picnic season!
Jardin du Luxembourg
For a really ineffable display of floral life you need to get yourself to the Garden du Luxembourg. It is the garden attached to Luxembourg Palace, so the view without the nature is already breathtaking.
As the spring brings out the color of the land you’ll picnic amongst the aroma of over fifty plant species.
I love the Luxembourg gardens in particular because they stay open until 9pm during the spring and summer; so you are never rushed to pack up the minute the sun goes down.
The 19th arrondissement in the north-east of Paris is home to another exquisite piece of land known as Buttes Chaumont. It is one of the only pieces of public land in Paris to feature rolling hillsides and lakes.
The park is green… overwhelmingly so. From the trees to the grass to the shrubbery you’ll feel like you’ve fallen into a vibrant Monet painting.
I should mention that due to the rolling nature of the space, this entire park is slanted. You’ll have to get creative in getting your wine class to stay up!
Les Quais de la Seine
The bank of the Seine is always a good place to stop and dine. I like to encourage people to walk until they come to one of the better known landmarks and only then to set up their spot.
There is something really majestic about spring time dining over the Seine river with monuments such as Notre Dame in the background.
See a Show During Spring in Paris
What would Paris be without its ability to take you back in time almost on a whim. Walking into the Folies Bergere is a trip to 1920s Paris in the spring.
Catch a cabaret extravaganza here any night of the week and immerse yourself in the French theatre spectacle. This venue has become a Parisian landmark and has hosted some of the most historic musical performances ever written.
Dress for this occasion. Allow yourself to be transported back back back…
Since the spring drives the people to the streets, this is when the street artists and musicians come out of hibernation as well.
In the more artistic district such as Montmartre and Le Marais you’ll find street life fueled by an array of talented sketch artists, buskers, magicians and even the occasional mime.
Take time to appreciate these little wonders and acknowledge the energy they bring to the city as you discover its secrets for yourself.
Paris is Paris is Paris. Come summer, come winter, come rain or shine — this eclectic city doesn’t need anything in particular to bring it to life.
But Spring time in Paris is undeniably an entity of its own and full of things, things, things. Things to do, to see, to eat, to watch, to feel, to touch, to smell — a wanderers dream.