Summer in Paris: 9 ways to celebrate that won’t break the bank

Posted in: Paris Planning

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Paris in the summer
Paris is always a paradise of cheap and fun things to do in the summer, and 2014 will be no exception. Photo: Trey Ratcliff

Looking for fun and affordable things to do this summer in Paris? Look no further. Just make sure you bring your own SPF since sunscreen can get pricey here…

1. Stroll les Berges de Seine

The renovated banks along the Seine were one of the best gifts the mayor gave the city last year. This year, they will be in full swing. Games, restaurants and a second location of Rosa Bonheur, the “it” place in Buttes Chaumont that now has a riverside address.

The berges are the place to see and be seen on hazy summer evenings, so scope out your favorite section and prepare for a summer of excellent people watching. Check out the official website for locations.

2. Must see museum exhibits

For those days when the weather isn’t cooperating, there are still plenty of great shows in some of Paris’ most famed galleries. A few recommendations:

Check out the “Paris 1900″ exhibition at the Petit Palais through August 17.

Stop in the Louvre to see the Abu Dhabi collection that will be premiering in the museum’s newest location that is set to open 2015. It’s on display through July 28 before being packed up for its new home.

The Musée Maillol has the Trésor de Naples through July 20 to discover some historic glitz and glam from Italy.

Also see our full list of Paris museum admission fees and discounts.

Fête de la Musique

The annual Fête de la Musique brings live bands out into the streets of Paris for an all night party. Photo: straightfromthecask

3. Fête de la Musique

June 21

An all-night party in Paris with music at every turn? OK! Urban music is the special guest this year, so it’s anyone’s guess what kind of performers we’ll be seeing. But the whole night is about music out in the open for the public to enjoy—and that’s just what you’ll get.

Simply wander the streets and follow the sounds, just don’t stay out too late, because it can get kind of messy in the wee hours of the morning. Find out more on the Fete’s official website.

Bastille Day fireworks

The fireworks display on Bastille Day is a must-see for any summertime visitor. Photo: Yann Caradec

4. Celebrate Bastille Day

July 14

We’d be remiss to talk about summer in Paris without mentioning the Bastille Day celebrations. From the firemen’s parties (bals de pompiers) to the military parade on the Champs Elysées, there’s fun to be had for all. And as long as you don’t mind crowds, be sure to see the pièce de résistance—the fireworks behind the Eiffel Tower. It’s a Parisian summer staple. Here’s a full round up of Bastille Day events.

Paris Plages

Take a break with a frozen treat or break our your swimsuit for some sun along the Seine. Photo: passionleica

5. Hit the beach at Paris Plages

July 20 – August 20

It’s a mainstay of the summer in Paris, be it along the Seine or up along the Canal in the 19th arrondissement. The banks are turned into beachside resorts where families can catch a bit of sun, dig their feet in the sand and enjoy dancing and other events sponsored by City Hall—for free.

6. Cinéma en Plein Air

Starting July 23

Up by the old abattoirs at La Villette in the 19th, the lawn offers primo seating for Paris’ biggest outdoor (and free) movie screen. When the sun goes down, the pictures start rolling. Pack a picnic and throw down your best blanket. This year the theme is “Adolescence,” which means movies like “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Scream 4″ will regale audiences. See the schedule on the festival’s website.

7. Cinéma au Clair de Lune

July 31 – August 11

If you don’t like the film selections at La Villette, try the smaller but equally Parisian (and free) Cinéma au Clair de Lune. A series of films are projected in some of Paris’ most iconic parks, squares and public places. The location changes every night, so be sure to check the listings once they’re posted by the Forum des Images on their website.

8. Ride with Ratatouille at Paris Disneyland

Opening summer 2014

Found a good deal on Disneyland tickets? Head on out to the park and look for the new Ratatouille ride opening this summer. The hotly anticipated addition to the Walk Disney Studio section of the park will be a 3D event starring everyone’s favorite Pixar rat. The attraction features a Disneyfied version of Haussmann architecture, recreating the quaint streets of Paris in addition to a bistro. So there’s really no reason to leave the park, right?

Picnic in Paris

Everything you need for the perfect Paris picnic: a baguette, cornichons, sardines, a bottle of Bordeaux and sparkling water. Photo: Caleb Phillips

9. Picnic in the park

Paris in the summer also means picnics. Assorted meats from the local butcher. Wine and cheese. Beer and chips. Orangina and, well, whatever pairs with Orangina. All are fair game. Speaking of games, don’t forget to pack your pétanque balls or Molkky set to entertain you and your fellow picnickers as you sit back and relax, doing exactly what one should do in Paris.

Need ideas on where to enjoy your spread? Here are 8 great spots to enjoy a Paris picnic.

About the author

Bryan Pirolli

About the author: With his college diploma fresh off the press, Bryan Pirolli headed for Paris and four years later he’s still there. A journalist and a tour guide, his main M.O. is pursuing a doctorate degree in communications at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. Bryan regularly travels on a budget, experiencing the best of European culture while still trying to make rent.  So far, so good. You can follow his adventures on his blog:

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One thought on “Summer in Paris: 9 ways to celebrate that won’t break the bank”

  1. I will be in France with a group of friends in early July. We’re flying home on July 15. We would like to spend the evening of Bastille day in Paris, enjoying the concert and the fireworks, but it’s been very hard to find information about how to get back to our airport hotel after. Our Parisian travel agent said the trains won’t be running. I don’t know if that’s true.

    I’m writing to suggest that you might want to consider an article about Paris on 14 juillet that gives some details about how to enjoy it (and a heads-up about the trains if they do have the night off.) Thanks.



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