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Ten Things to Do in Paris in the Summer, Weather Permitting

“The Local” beat me to the punch with an article on “Ten Reasons Not to Leave Paris this Summer…” except that I might have phrased it differently: “Ten Things to Do in Paris in the Summer, Weather Permitting.” And my list might be a bit different, too.

This summer has, so far, been extraordinarily warm and sunny, although yesterday was gray and so is today. At least it’s still warm and rain is not predicted. Assuming that it stays mild through August, let’s consider The Local’s list and how we might see this a bit differently:

1. There’s breathing space

This is true as long as you stay away from tourist destinations, where you will be trampled by camera and map-toting vacationers. Avoid going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and shopping at Galeries Lafayette. Meanwhile, Café Charlot has been down-right dead by comparison to the norm. While one might think “Paris would be great without the Parisians,” I kind of miss seeing their ornery faces (you’d be surprised how the sunshine has brought on smiles).

2. There’s a beach in the city

Yep, it’s called Paris Plage, and it opens TODAY! Overnight, the quay along the Seine between Pont des Arts and Pont de Sully and the Villette Basin will be transformed to mimic real beaches complete with cultural and sporting events. Most summers, the weather hasn’t been too friendly to the beach-y atmosphere, so this year, with Global Warming, we may have a better chance of really enjoying it.

It’s open from 9 a.m. to midnight until August 23rd with 5,000 tons of sand, a 13th edition of Paris beaches, and of course everything you need to relax — flow of the water, refreshment stands, Tai Chi and “petanque,” and what the City Hall calls ‘thrills for audiences of all ages.’

Go for a stroll, a picnic, a drink or just a repose on a hammock…and watch the hundreds of different boats go by (the most amazing part of all).

3. The warm weather

Take advantage of it while we have it. Saturday night I picnicked with friends on the Champ de Mars when the weather was PERFECT until about 10:30 p.m. when in a flash, torrents of rain came pouring down sending everyone scattering for cover. It was a welcome shower, really, since it’s been so dry and the dirt paths along the champ were blowing up dust.

Until that moment, however, it was heavenly to spread out on the grass with an assortment of picnic goodies, fun folks and of course, La Grande Dame illuminating our world. I highly recommend it.

There are lots of other great picnic spots, too. Besides Paris Plage, some of my favorites include the Place des Vosges, the Square du Vert Galant on the western end of the Ile de la Cité or the western point of the Ile Saint-Louis, not to mention all the parks and gardens of which the city is ripe.

4. The open-air film festival

Agreed. This is one of my very favorite things to do in Paris in the summer, again, weather permitting. Everyone knows about the free “Cinéma en Plein Air” at La Villette, on from July 22nd through August 23rd. But even better than that is Forum des Images’
Festival Cinéma au Clair de Lune.” It’s the 15th year with 11 showings of films in different parts of the city, often in a spot appropriate to the film itself, starting from July 24th and on through August 9th. Go early to get a good spot, take a picnic dinner and then watch the film with your friends. Download the PDF program.

5. You can leave, if just for a day

LOL. So, what’s the point of the article with reasons NOT to leave Paris when one thing on the list of things to do IS leave Paris?

I must admit, I’m doing it, too. In fact, I’m heading out Friday for another weekend in the Champagne countryside with my friends who own a home there. Why not?

Renting a car is cheap and easy from any of the rail stations. I use which seems to have the best deals, even for rentals in the U.S., but WATCH OUT! Once, I got a really great rate for a rental in the U.S. only to find out it required a FOREIGN driving license to qualify for the rate!

6. The Rock en Seine music festival

Born in 2003, Rock en Seine is one of the biggest festivals in France and among the most important musical events in Europe featuring big stars and new talents. It happens every year on the last week-end of August (August 28th to 30th), at the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud (just outside the city). Go to rock your socks off and say so-long to the summer.

7. Your boss is away

Everyone is away. That’s why the city is trying to keep us here with all of these fabulous activities. Meanwhile, don’t try to accomplish anything. You won’t, because your boss is away, as well as all of your colleagues and friends. Isn’t that a good reason to leave?

8. The end of the Tour de France

The end of the Tour de France this coming Sunday is one of those fleeting moments you can say you did ONCE (it’s enough). Get there early to get a front-row ‘seat,’ stand in the heat, and then if you blink, you’ll miss the bikers cross the finish line! If you try to snap a photo, you’ll miss both — getting the great shot and having seen them at all. I know. I’ve done it.

The trick is to reserve a table at Le Publicis Drugstore along the windows so you can have a great meal and not budge while they whiz by! (A lot more fun.)

9. You can really enjoy an outdoor drink above Paris

Go to and if you’re like me, you’ll just be confused. Yes, the terrace on the top of the BHV is a lovely spot for a drink and O’Paris above Parc de Belleville is no longer O’Paris, but is “Moncoeur.” (Who can keep up?) The “Déli-cieux” (don’t you love this clever “jeu de mots?”) at the top floor (9th) of Printemps Haussmann is said to be the best of the lot, but I wouldn’t know — haven’t tried it yet, but definitely it’s on the list of things to do!

10: You can swim in an outdoor pool

If swimming is your thing, then by all means. I’m more of a ‘float on a raft’ gal, but I hear there are lots of great “piscines” to cool your jets or provide the jets. In all the years in Paris, I’ve never once been to a pool. That may be hard to believe, but putting on a bathing suit in Paris seems so out of place, although I must admit to having sunbathed at Paris Plage the very first day of the very first Paris Plage in 2002 just for the hell of it.

Additions to this list? Ride a bike, fly a kite, barbecue, people watch…you name it — it’s all possible in Paris.

A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds - Adrian Leeds - Paris, FranceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

(enjoying Paris Plage)

Respond to Adrian

P.S. How would you like to star in FYI’s Tiny House Nation!? If you recently purchased or rented a VERY TINY apartment or home in or near Nice, France, and would like to be the star with me in your own episode, email me immediately with a brief description of why your new home is perfect for the show. If it seems like a possibility, I will put you touch with the producers!: [email protected]

William JordanP.P.S. Don’t miss Apres Midi Tomorrow! EXCEPTIONALLY July 21, 2015. William Jordan, Diplomat in the Foreign Service, “Reflections on Terrorism in France.” William Jordan served for 30 years (1981-2011) as a political officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, specializing in the Arab world and France. Don’t miss this exciting presentation!


P.P.P.S. In an epic return to the City of Light, Literary Death Match is partnering with the Paris American Academy Writing Workshop for a brilliant event in Paris that will be rife with lit, laughs, levity and, assuredly, falling in love. A rare Paris appearance — so don’t miss it! This is where four writers read their own work for seven minutes or less, and are then judged by three all-star judges (I’M ONE OF THEM!). Two finalists are chosen to compete in the Literary Death Match finale, a vaguely-literary game to decide the ultimate winner and you can be there to witness it all! It all takes place at the Le Studio des Ursulines (10 rue des Ursulines, Paris (5th)) at 7:35 p.m, so GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!!! (€5 or €8 at the door). Also see their Facebook page


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