Let me just start by saying that one of the best things to do in Paris in the spring is totally free. You can take in the major sites and sights, and discover the quirky side of Paris as well as the most famous landmarks. You’ll be surprised in ways you never imagined, it’s good for you. And, did I mention – its FREE.
It is of course walking in Paris in the spring. After the winter clouds disappear, Paris, like the flowers planted everywhere, blossoms. Families take to the parks for a picnic, café life resumes à la terrasse and all over Paris, events and exhibitions flourish.
Walking in Paris in the spring
Whether you walk over the bridges and admire the view of boats gliding down the Seine, stroll around the famous landmarks and monuments like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, or promenade in one of Paris’ beautiful parks, getting about on foot on a spring day in Paris is a joy.
Take a map, mark on it the sites you’d most like to see and simply walk from one to the other and take in the sights! If it’s too much walking, hop on and off the metro to help you get around quicker and walk in between (see: getting around by Metro in Paris).
There are several parks in Paris and it costs nothing to enjoy the beautiful spring flowers and people watch. I love the Jardin de Luxembourg, a peaceful oasis in the city (top photo). Or for something really off the beaten track, on the last Sunday of the month visit the gardens of the Presidential Elysée Palace. Previously closed, they were opened to the public in 2012 for free. (Read more details about the Elysée Palace Gardens).
You could take a free walk with a Paris greeter where a local will show you their Paris, the one they know and love. These volunteers are passionate about their city and love to share their knowledge. Tours are in several languages and you need to book in advance usually. The tour guides and organisation welcome a donation although there is no charge to join a guided tour! (Find out more about Paris Greeters here)
Walk along the Champs-Elysées and enjoy the window displays. The season’s fashions are tastefully tempting. The Rue Mouffetard is perfect for a wander – especially on a Sunday morning where you’re likely to hear music played and see people dancing. In the evening when dusk falls, enjoy a glass of champagne and watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle. (See – Fab walks in Paris and Paris for Free)
Enjoy the Paris café lifestyle in spring
It’s time to fling off your heavy coats and start to feel the warmth of the sun. Be aware that the weather can be changeable in the spring. It could be warm or cold so if you’re visiting Paris, take a jumper or two and a coat, just in case.
Paris is home to about 7000 cafés. It seems like a lot but at the end of the 19th Century it was estimated that there were some 45000 cafés!
Which one you pick is up to you – perhaps you want a view of the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe something authentic. Or a café so French it takes your breath away like the famous Deux Magots, one of our favourites is the secret garden café of the Museum of Romantic Life.
Whichever you go for, enjoy it and don’t forget to parlez vous politely and greet your server with a bonjour and a merci and s’il vous plait – you might find they charge you more if you don’t!
Enjoy a Picnic in Paris in the Spring
There’s nothing like buying a fresh baguette from the boulangerie. Add a hunk of French cheese, a bottle of wine and a lovely little gateau from the patisserie. Then find your own little piece of Paris heaven to settle down and enjoy an al fresco picnic.
From the Canal St Martin, to the many parks in the city there is a great choice for you to relax and enjoy your picnic meal.
See here for lots more picnic in Paris ideas.
Go for a cruise in Paris in the spring
Take a boat ride in Paris and use the river to get from A to B or to just enjoy floating along drinking in the sights on either side. You’ll get a different perspective of the city. Early spring can be a little chilly so you might need to wrap up warm to go on deck. From May to September is generally warm (it can still rain though!).
Bateaux-Mouches and Bateaux Parisiens are two of the best known operators of the river boats along the Seine. You can hop on and off at key boarding and disembarkation points along the river like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. Or perhaps a moonlit dinner on board appeals – there are plenty of choices.
One of our favourite Paris riverboat routes is on the Canal St Martin. Caneauxrama operate boats with English language narrative and let you discover secret Paris for yourself. They also offer boat rides to other less well known but wonderful locations.
Go for a ride in Paris in the spring
Take a bike ride before it gets too warm! There are lots of ways to enjoy a bike ride in Paris. You could go with a guide, or rent a bike from Velib Paris, a bike hire scheme run by the Mayor’s office. With 20,000 bikes and a bike station every 300 metres – it’s a cheap and easy way to get around.
There are around 300 miles of cycle paths in Paris. On Sundays and lots of roads are closed to car traffic which makes a bike ride much more pleasant. Known as Paris Respire (Paris breathes) the scheme operates along the banks of the Seine, Marais, Rue Moufettard, Canal St Martin, Bois de Boulogne, Montmartre and several other areas. (See the website for details: Paris Respire)
At the Paris Town Hall you can pick up details of free cycle routes and get tips to ensure you ride safely in the city.
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Baking bread in Montmartre
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Backstage at the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris
Museum of Romantic Life in Paris