“When spring comes to Paris, the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise” – Henry Miller
Paris is undoubtedly a year-round city. But there is something about the spring that’s special. Paris in the spring is a cliché but like the best of clichés, it’s also a tangible experience. Here’s our guide to visiting Paris in the spring…
When spring comes to Paris
The air is soft and warm. The sun’s rays filter through the cherry blossom and light up bunches of pink and purple wisteria festooning fences, climbing over shop windows and doorways. The trees that line boulevards and avenues burst into life. Boules games resume in the parks. Favourite city spots start to fill up with people flinging off their coats and settling in to watch the world go by from the terraces of their favourite café’s from Montmartre to Montparnasse. Families stroll in the parks. The pleasure boats float on the Seine beneath the bridges and alongside famous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, the Conciergerie, the Musée d’Orsay.
When the spring rain falls, people say, oh but the Chestnut trees smell better in the rain. The sun rises a little earlier each morning. Twilight arrives a little later each night. And the sunsets glow every shade of rosiness from pale salmon to burned-orange, turning the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur from pure white to blush pink.
I love Paris in the springtime
At the flower market in the shadow of the great Cathedral of Notre-Dame, old ladies wander through the Belle Epoque kiosks choosing pots of flowers to decorate their windowsills and balconies, daffodils, lily of the valley, miniature roses and geraniums. The sellers at the market rediscover their dormant their joie de vivre. Their fingers no longer turning purple-blue with the cold. And in rue Mouffetard, the fruit sellers lay out bunches of asparagus and sweet strawberries tempting buyers to enjoy the taste of spring.
The public parks and secret gardens burst into colour. Flowerbeds bloom, and strollers take a break on the famous green chairs. Puppet shows, guignol, return and in the Luxembourg Gardens, starry-eyed children sail wooden boats across the Grand Basin. Close by, flowers flourish in great pots around the Medici fountain, commissioned by Marie de Medici, Queen of France, in about 1630.
The bouquinistes open their book boxes along the Seine and bring out their piles of posters and books. The sun shines through stained glass windows of churches casting a kaleidoscope of colours inside the cool interiors.
Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King, 17th arrondissement to go with this box)
Cherry blossom in Paris in the spring
The cherry blossom blooms around mid-April in Paris. Several parks and gardens have rows of cherry blossom trees including Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King, 17th arrondissement and Place Marcel Aymé. It’s just off Rue Norvins in Montmartre, where you’ll find a statue of Dutilleul AKA ‘The Walker through the Walls.’ Bookworms will enjoy the cherry blossom tree in front of Shakespeare & Co. book shop near the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Parc Monceau, and Jardins des Plantes are also lovely.
And if you’re a wisteria fan, head to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole restaurant in rue Channoinesse. It’s a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and is one of the best places enjoy the spring blooms that drape across the front. The wisteria here was planted in 1946. It even has its own special license to grow large!
Photos 1,5,6 by Nathalie Geffroy, Paris photographer extraordinaire, find more of her stunning photographs at : Instagram/nathparis and at nathparis.net