(updated July 2024). Strolls through lush gardens, picnics with the Seine glistening at your feet, long evenings nursing a 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 9 of our favorite Paris summer activities that’ll keep you refreshed and give you an excuse to discover the city’s hidden treasures.

Go For a Swim

The swimming pool at the Canal de l'Ourcq in Paris
Ali Postma

Paris Plages

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 up Paris Plages. These are ephemeral city side ‘beaches’ along the Seine, Bassin de la Villette, and Canal St. Martin. This year there are exceptional opening dates and times due to the Olympics. Make sure to check the opening dates and times.

Paris Swimming Pools

Do you like to swim laps? Or maybe you prefer something more bucolic. Perhaps it’s the glamour of art deco that you are in search of. Whatever your preference, there is a Paris pool to suit your sensibility and keep you cool. Some of our favorites include the historic Piscine de la Butte-aux-Cailles and the Aquaboulevard de Paris, the biggest urban water park in Europe, perfect for families.

See a Movie

Most Paris movie theaters are air conditioned. If you’re French is lacking you can watch films in English with the designation ‘VO’ (version originale). Better yet, head to Lost in Frenchlation. They offer screenings of the best French cinema with English subtitles, broadcast at independent cinemas. There is also a convivial cocktail hour just before.

Rex theater building in Paris.
photo by Cecile Hournau

Hang Out at An Air Conditioned Paris Hotel

When visiting Paris in the warmer months, it’s increasingly helpful to make sure your accommodation has air conditioning. All 4 and 5 star hotels are required to. Many 3 star establishments have it as well, but do check first. If you want to escape the heat for a few hours you can always visit a hotel lounge or bar even if you’re not a guest. And don’t forget that a huge perk at many of the finer Paris hotels is a swimming pool. The Môlitor Hotel and Spa is one of our favorites. Check out our picks for Paris hotels with pools.

The exterior pool at the Molitor Hotel.
photo by Ludwig Favre

Wander around a small (air-conditioned) museum

In order to maintain their precious collections, most museums will have air conditioning so take your pick of the approximately 140 Paris museums dotted around the city.

However, instead of being packed like sweaty sardines into the Louvre where the body heat generated by the number of visitors will negate the cool air, take this opportunity to explore one of stunning yet smaller Paris 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.

A woman floating face up in water. A statue of Rodin called the Thinker surrounded by triangular bushes
photos by, left: Haley Phelps /right: Stephan Valentin

Find shade in a secret garden

If you still long to be in nature, venture into one of Paris’ secret gardens. You can find many 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, preferably on one of the beloved Paris terraces. You’ll find Paris’ best artisanal beers at Paname Brewing Company next to the Bassin de la Villette—a post-swimming drink, perhaps?

Savor Some Ice Cream

If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, you can’t go wrong by stopping for an ice cream in Paris. We love the pistachio gelato at Pozzetto in the 4th and the rose petal Lebanese ice cream at Glace Bachir in the 3rd.

Close-up of berry gelato in a cup

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.

A plaque with an inscription surrounded by a wall of skulls in Paris Catacombs.
Les catacombes de Paris

Drink Plenty of Water

With heatwaves becoming increasingly frequent, you don’t need to spend money to stay hydrated. Quench your thirst at one of the many water fountains across the City of Light. This map of Paris water fountains will help you stay hydrated.

Take a Seine River Cruise

One of the best ways to see the sites is by taking a Seine river cruise. Relax and feel the water’s breeze.

A seine river cruise at sunset.
photo by Joe De Sousa

Shop Til You Drop

The larger shopping centers and department stores like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, BHV, Samaritaine, Westfield, etc in Paris will no doubt have air conditioning but also large crowds. Still they are a reliable way to cool down in a city where air conditioning is scarce. A lesser known and less crowded option is the Beaugrenelle Shopping Center which includes its own branch of Galeries Lafayette amongst a plethora of other stores.

The rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette and the cupola captured to the right.
Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann (left: rooftop; right: cupola) photos by Pronoti Baglary

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.


Diana Liu

Diana Liu is a Paris-based writer and photographer who is currently completing her Master in media and creative industries at Sciences Po. She co-founded ChopChicks in Paris, a blog and community dining experience that brings people together to discover the wealth of Asian restaurants and Asian culture in Paris. She’s written about food, fashion, art & culture, and French politics for Inspirelle, ChopChicks, Wheretoget Magazine, and other publications. See more of her photography on her Instagram @sheandhercat, and discover Paris’ best Asian restaurants and join her for dinner at ChopChicks in Paris.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *