Strolls through lush royal gardens, picnics with the Seine glistening at your feet, long evenings nursing a glass of rosé on a café terrace—Paris in the summer is downright magical. However, when temperatures rise and the sun begins to scorch rather than soothe, Parisians turn to summer activities that’ll help them cool down and escape the sweaty crowds trying to do the same.
For surefire ways to beat the heat, here are five of our favorite Paris summer activities that’ll keep you refreshed and give you an excuse to discover the city’s hidden treasures.
Go swimming in the canal
No, we don’t mean diving off a bridge at the Canal Saint-Martin (although we’ve seen people do it!). Each summer, Paris opens multiple swimming pools with different depths on the Bassin de la Villette, the city’s largest artificial body of water. Open from 11am to 9pm, go early for your morning laps or splash around with friends and family in the afternoon.
Wander around a small (air-conditioned) museum
Instead of being packed like sweaty sardines into the Louvre, take this opportunity to explore one of Paris’ smaller, yet just as stunning museums.
We particularly love the Musée Rodin and the Musée Montmartre (whose gardens make you feel like you’re in a French impressionist painting) as well as Musée Guimet with its incredible collection of Asian art and air conditioning.
Find shade in a secret garden
If you still long to be in nature, venture into one of Paris’ secret gardens, many of which are located in the trendy Marais neighborhood. Relax in the splendid (and shaded) grounds of the Musée des Archives nationales, enjoy a cool glass of white wine in the Café Suédois’ hidden courtyard, or take a nap on the grass in the Jardin des Rosiers.
Savor an ice-cold treat
There’s nothing like a moment of gastronomic plaisir to make us forget about the soaring temperatures. You’ll find Paris’ best artisanal beers at Paname Brewing Company next to the Bassin de la Villette—a post-swimming drink, perhaps?
Travel underground to the Catacombs
If you’re so overheated that you have no desire to see the sun, head underground to Les Catacombes de Paris, one of the world’s largest ossuaries with a history dating back to the late 18th century. The dimly lit crypts lined with carefully arranged bones encourage visitors towards introspection and meditation—and provide a welcome respite from the heat.
- Summer is the perfect time to hang out on Canal Saint-Martin or the lesser known Canal de L’Ourcq.
- Thinking about going on a day trip outside of Paris?
- For the best ice cream in Paris we can help.
Written by Diana Liu for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.