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.

A Haussmanian building in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris
Top: Paname Brewing Company, Nicolas Jacquemin / Above: Matthieu Oger, Unsplash

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.

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

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.

The interior of the Musée Rodin in Paris with pillars and black and white tiles. A wall of skulls and an plaque with an inscription at the catacombs in Paris.
Bilaall / Les catacombes de Paris

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.

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

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 garden with the sun shining and people sitting around tables in Paris. A Parisian courtyard with people sitting under around cafe tables
Sonia Raquel / Institut Suédois

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.

Close-up of berry gelato in a cup

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?

Five artisanal beers lined up on a bar counter
Paname Brewing Company, Nicolas Jacquemin

If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, we love the pistachio gelato at Pozzetto in the 4th and the rose petal Lebanese ice cream at Glace Bachir in the 3rd.

A strawberry and pistachio ice cream cake covered with crushed pistachios
Glace Bachir

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

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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.

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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.

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