As the days get longer and weather heats up, it’s time to think about a summer escape. Paris in late July and August is unexpectedly fun, with outdoor concerts, film festivals and lazy summer days on the Paris Plages (Paris Beaches). Parisians take their annual month long vacation during August, freeing up the city for visitors from around the world. The attitude of the city is different as the late summer arrives-somehow lighter and more relaxed-perfect for exploring all the sights and world-class museums of Paris.
Being in Paris at the end of July is a thrill for cycling fans as the Tour de France, the world’s most famous cycling race, rushes down the Champs-Elysées for the grand finish. This year the Tour de France begins on July 3rd with the exciting finish in Paris on Sunday, July 25th.
While Parisian’s head out of the city en masse toward the coasts in search of the sunny beaches and blue seas on the Cote d’Azur and Atlantic coastline, you can soak up the sun in Paris at one of the city’s popular beaches. Yes, you read that right – beaches! Started in 2002 as a fun summer initiative, the Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) is now a yearly event enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. Three locations in the city are transformed into beach settings perfect for sun bathing, swimming and strolling along boardwalks, all with beautiful Paris views over the Seine. In the evenings, sit back, relax and enjoy free concerts. The Paris Plages are open from July 20th – August 20th, and make an ideal family outing.
After soaking up the sun, cool off by visiting one of Paris’ world class museums, which are open the same long hours as the rest of the year. Take advantage the long summer days by visiting the Louvre on Wednesday or Friday evenings when it stays open until 10:00pm. The beautiful Musée d’Orsay stays open late on Thursday evenings until 9:45pm. Paris’ famous department stores are all open Monday to Saturday from 9:30am – 10:00pm for those in search of the distinct French fashion and designs.
The streets of Paris come to life during the Paris Quartier d’Eté (Paris Summer Arts Festival). Running from Bastille Day on July 14th through August 15th, this festival features lively music, theater and dance events by artists from around the world.
Classical music lovers will enjoy the Festival Classique au Vert, an outdoors festival held in the gorgeous Parc Floral in the 12th arrondissement. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons from August to September, enjoy performances by well known musicians and ensembles. For an enjoyable evening, head to the outdoor Cinema Festival at the modern Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. From July 17th – August 22nd, free films are shown almost every evening, and make a lovely way to relax at the end of a busy day sightseeing.
August in Paris – it’s not what the old jazz song tells you about April in Paris. Yet, while you’re out strolling through the tree-lined avenues, lush parks and soaking up the warmth along the Seine, you might just find yourself humming a new song as you take in the City of Light in the late summer sun.