How to spend Sundays in Paris? At a cafe terrace like this man on his phone who's having a coffee (left), or seeing the sights like Arc de Triomphe even in the rain (right).

Leisure is one of the most sacred components of a well-lived Parisian life, which is why we thought it absolutely necessary to revisit the best ways to spend a Sunday in Paris. You can find part I, Tory’s list of ten ways to spend a Sunday in Paris. -Geneviève

Bonnaf & Mondayne

One of the many great things about living in Paris is the French approach to relaxation. Around here, it’s serious business. Everyday events that would strike most of us as de rigeur — traffic jams, inhospitable weather, waiting one’s turn in line — can cause mini-attacks of le stress for Parisians, thereby necessitating extended periods of repose. And when the traditional, lengthy French vacation isn’t close at hand, a Sunday in the city can be the next best thing.

How to spend Sundays in Paris? At a cafe terrace tanning (left), or shopping in the city's various neighborhoods like these people looking for souvenirs (right).

Since many shops and restaurants are closed (although this is changing), Sundays offer a great excuse to slow down and just relax. But if you’re feeling energetic, there are still many great ways to fill your day. Here are some of our Sunday favorites.

A lot of shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays in Paris and the city is a lot quieter, like this pedestrian street.

Hit a market (or market street). Everyone loves a Paris marché. Some of the city’s best are open on Sundays, like the vast and bustling Marché Bastille and the organic market on the rue Raspail. But for my money, the market streets are even better. Two favorites are rue Cler in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and rue Montorgeuil not far from Les Halles. Both streets are lined with cafés (in addition to specialty food vendors). We love the thick, juicy burgers at Le Petit Cler on rue Cler or sitting outside and savoring oysters and a glass of Chablis at Le Comptoir du Commerce on rue Montorgeuil. For more exotic cravings, hit the Marche des Enfants Rouges in the Marais for a heaping plate of Moroccan style couscous, tajine and mouth-watering baklava.

Some markets are open on Sundays in Paris, including florists.
Carin Olsson

Shop with the masses. While much of the city can feel sleepy on Sundays, there are a few neighborhoods where you’ll always find crowds: Montmartre, the Marais and the Champs Elysées. Although entirely different in their charms, they offer one common attraction: shopping. The Marais boutiques along rue des Francs Bourgeois (and its neighboring side streets) include the regulars (Maje, Claudie Pierlot, Zadig & Voltaire) as well as smaller jewelry, textile and clothing designers. When hunger strikes, queue up at L’As du Falafel for world-famous sandwiches or sample decadent pastries in the old Jewish quarter around the rue des Rosiers. If you’re looking for high street chains like Fnac, Gap, Zara and H&M, these outposts are open all day on the Champs Elysees.

Sundays in Paris are spent having brunch at a cafe or on a terrace if the weather's good, like at this bistro before it gets busy.

A visit to Montmartre on a Sunday can make a regular weekend feel like a mini getaway. Avoid the touristy shops around Sacré-Coeur and the Place du Tertre in favor of the chic boutiques along the rue des Abbesses. Once you’ve worked up an appetite (doesn’t shopping make you hungry?), stop into Coquelicot for their hearty brunch or grab a sweet pastry to take away.

On Sundays in Paris, locals like to walk or jog along the River Seine and its canals.
Carin Olsson

Bring on brunch. Many restaurants don’t do Sunday dinner but the increasingly popular brunch or traditional French lunch are still safe bets. More and more restos are featuring weekend brunch menus (we like the massive pancakes at Le Favorite on rue Rivoli) or try a classic brasserie like Brasserie Gallopin for a hit of old-school Paris. Sundays are also great days to eat out en famille, when les petits enfants are welcomed at most tables.

On Sundays in Paris, Parisians like to take a leisurely walk in the parks even in winter (left) and then go and warm up with a brunch of pancakes (right).
Carin Olsson

Musing about museums. I’m always impressed by the French devotion to culture and how they expose their little ones to it at such an early age. Weekends are perfect for museum outings, especially the first Sunday of each month when most museums are open for free. Go early (or at lunch time) to avoid the inevitable crowds. Venture slightly off the beaten path to La Fondation Cartier (the Jean Nouvel-designed building is alone worth the visit) or with kids, try Le Musée des Arts et Métiers where kids (and their parents) will be awed by the turn-of-the-century, bat-inspired airplane.

Sundays in Paris are spent with the kids, and taking them outside to play like this little boy in a navy hoodie and little girl in a blue coat, feeding the birds.
Carin Olsson

Movie love. If given the chance to tailor my perfect day, it would almost always include seeing a film. A favorite place to do it is at one of the city’s oldest theaters, La Pagode, located in the 7eme on the rue Babylone. The gorgeous main salle features antique Japanese tapestries and chandeliers imported by the original owner, Monsieur Morin who created Le Bon Marché, in the late 1890s. Take tea in the Japanese garden before your film. (They’re picky about the films they screen so it’s almost always a safe bet!)

On Sundays in Paris, locals like to stroll along the River Seine and have a look at the bouquinistes' stalls of books and posters.

Flirt with the fleas. The French love flea market shopping so much, they even have a word to describe it. Treasure hunting at les puces (chiner) is a time-honored tradition for Parisians and also one of my own favorite Sunday pastimes. If the massive markets of Clignancourt are more than you can manage, try the smaller (and cheaper) marché at the friendly Porte de Vanves. From vintage hotel silver teaspoons to original oil tableaux, there are treasures here for every budget and style.

On Sundays in Paris you'll see Parisians strolling around the city, especially when the sun's out.
Carin Olsson

Of course, if all this sounds just a tad too ambitious, there’s no shame in staying indoors for a home-cooked meal and some well-deserved R&R. As any Parisian will tell you, relaxation is vital – ça fait du bien!

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Written by Paige Bradley Frost for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Paige Bradley Frost

Paige Bradley Frost spent nearly a decade in Paris after which she relocated to California serving as Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Women’s Empowerment International. She has written extensively covering culture, parenting, education, travel, food and politics. Her work as been published by The New York Times Motherlode blog, Huffington Post, Forbes Travel Guides and extensively at HIP Paris.


  1. Although Paris is very special and fun on Sundays, all of these adventures can be experienced in most of the smaller cities and towns around the countryside. Hopefully your posts like this will inspire the adventurer in most of us and encourage us to get out and see rural France as well as the big cities.

  2. Paige,
    Awesome post! It is always difficult to find things to do on a Sunday, especially when it seems like everything is closed!

    I particularly love your suggestion about exploring the French Flea Market scene. I am definitely going to have to give the marché at the Porte de Vanves a try.

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

  3. Lovely, so many of my favourites here. I agree going to Montmartre is like going on holiday!

  4. found your blog via “Carla loves photography” facebook
    next trip to Paris, I will put the contemporary art museum on my list
    greetings from Brussels,

  5. In this winter I definitely stay inside 🙂 But in the summer, those are some great suggestions!

  6. Ah yes, the leisurely Sunday. It really is both an art form and a skill – I have to get back into practice. Two years back in NYC and there’s little that’s leisurely about Sundays!

  7. I love your site and look forward to viewing it each day.
    I spend a lot of time in Paris so I am always looking for newfound information and new ways to enjoy the city.

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