Paris is a destination that needs no introduction, and is a city that almost all of our clients visiting France visit. It’s enchanting and magical, but in the summer it can also be swelteringly hot. A few weeks ago, temperatures soared to 110 f- but this doesn’t mean scratching this special city off your travel plans. With some of our expert tips, you can survive the heat à la parisienne.
5. Cool off in church
Though Paris has only one real cathedral (Notre-Dame), it’s packed with amazing churches and basilicas worth seeing. Made of stone and marble, these shady buildings provide great relief from the outside heat- they’re cool and dark, and above all, interesting. Though sites like Notre-Dame (though badly damaged in a fire this spring) and Sainte-Chapelle are almost always packed, there are many other places to explore that are less trafficked. Saint-Denis for example, just north of the city, is one of France’s oldest religious sites and also home to the intricate sculpted tombs of over 70 kings and queens. It’s great way to pass the hottest hours of the day in someplace cool and quiet.
4. Go green
Paris is an urban city, and like many urban centers, between subways and sidewalks, it’s a lot of cement. Fortunately, there are also many green hearts of the city where you can find a shady spot to relax, picnic, or sketch a little. The Luxembourg gardens are wonderful on a hot day- inspired by the Boboli gardens of Florence, Italy, these 25 hectare Italian and English style gardens are the perfect spot to relax. You can even join a game of chess or checkers, play around with a remote control boat, or simply doze off in the grass like the locals do. Just be careful if your picnic plans include some rosè – authorities have started cracking down on people imbibing in the park!
For more family-geared fun, the Fête des Tuileries is a carnival type fair that runs in the Jardin du Tuileries until August 25. Though the fair might not be so cool temperature wise, it’s a good distraction for tired and heat-exhausted little ones.
3. Jump in the pool
Paris has several public pools that locals dip in when the temperatures rise. Our favorite is the Josephine Baker floating swimming pool located right on the Seine (in front of the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand). Though they are open until 8pm or so, when there is a heat wave the city keeps the pools open as late as 10 pm. Besides the 250 square meter pool itself, the Josephine Baker pool complex also has a wading pool for kids, Turkish baths and solariums to relax in and escape the city heat.
For those looking for a more private experience, luxury spas like the U Spa Barrière (run by Shiseido in Hôtel Fouquet) boast one of the largest indoor pools in the city, accessible when you book one of their wonderful day packages.
2. Catch a film
Paris lends itself well to the silver screen, and its no surprise that the opposite is true- Parisians love the cinema, and in the summer they take it outdoors. The screens films in the open air in the green lawns of Prairie du Triangle from late July to late August. You can even rent a lawn chair to watch in comfort, and the films are shown their original languages with French subtitles and the. French ones subtitled in English, so you don’t have to worry about following along.
1. Shop so you don’t drop
The Grands Magasins are iconic- as the world capital of fashion, it’s no surprise that Paris’s department stores are a sight to see in and of themselves. The two most famous in Paris are located on the Boulevard Haussman, the Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. Opened in the late 1800’s, they’ve gotten bigger as time has passed and shoppers needs changed- now they offer something for everyone, from cooking accessories to fashion to home items. Printemps has kept its Art Nouveau façade, harking back to a time when intricate mosaics and heavy gilding were the trend architecturally, and Galeries Lafayette is one of the most visited sites in Paris. Aside from being able to get your souvenir shopping done in style, these Parisian Grands Magasins have another huge plus when the temperatures soar- air conditioning!