Paris in Spring: 21 Things to Do Outside
Our forums are currently hopping with a slew of giddy questions related to Paris. Apparently quite a few people are taking advantage of the recent price drop in European fares!
What a time to go. The City of Light is beautiful in all seasons, especially spring. To help out all those heading to Paris in the coming weeks, we present you with a few of our favorite outdoor activities.
1. Nosh on a baguette from Au Duc de la Chapelle Patisserie in the 18th with a little fresh fromage.
From the Forums: "I am so disappointed I did not know about them when we stayed in Rue Torcy last year. We will definitely call on them this May and pick up stuff for a picnic lunch. My husband loves bread made in the 'sour-dough' style. If their macaroons are good, and I expect they are, I will be taking a gift box from here!" -- tod (more)
2. Strike a pose in the sculpture garden of the Rodin Museum.
From the Forums: "Musee Rodin is really lovely if you have time to visit another small gallery. The house itself has a wonderful collection and the gardens are filled with sculpture, including 'The Thinker' which is in the middle of a rose garden, although I'm not sure if the roses will be in bloom..." -- cathies (more)
3. Take a seat in the Luxembourg Gardens for some idle people watching.
From the Forums: "We took the subway to the Luxembourg Gardens. I found this to be a peaceful oasis in the middle of a big city. How lovely to sit there and relax. The grass was so green (we had left brown grass at home), the daffodils and forsythia were blooming, and there were blossoms on some of the trees. I found it very odd that there are all of these metal chairs for people to sit on and there was not a soul on the grass." -- yelllowrose477 (more)
4. Take a stroll down Rue Mouffetard on a Sunday.
From the Forums: "Rue Mouffetard is so much better on Sundays. Around noon, at the bottom of the street, are accordian players and people singing in French (sheet music is distributed) and dancing. It's a joyous event!" -- adrienne (more)
5. Roll through the streets of Paris with locals and tourists alike during the Friday night skating tour.
6. Dance the night away on the Seine.
From the Forums: "For the last 10 years, a group of hard-core dancers have gathered on the Seine every evening from mid-May through September. They do the tango, salsa and rock-swing. Free lessons start at 7:30 p.m. (a hat for tips is passed), followed by dancing until midnight. It all happens at Square Tino Rossi at 9, quai St.-Bernard in front of the University of Paris at Jussieu, just a few steps from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame (see "Paris Danses en Seine")." -- Michel_Paris (more)
7. Celebrate the dead at Paris's most famous cemetery.
From the Forums: "Pere Lachaise is a trip but check out some of the famous tombs - like that of Jimmy Morrison of the Doors - often graffitied up with younger folk partying around it - and several other legendary folk - like Oscar Wilde... Get a map from the office to navigate this bizarre maze-like place." -- PalenQ (more)
8. Take a long walk through Paris's many neighborhoods.
From the Forums: "You might want see if you can pick up the book Parcs et Jardins de Paris ...à pied which offers 23 walks through various neighborhoods of Paris. The book seems to be a collaboration between the Fédération Française de la Randonné:e Pé:destre and the Mairie de Paris. FNAC might have a copy or might be able to tell you where to get it." -- Micheal (more)
9. Give your legs a break—and still see the sights on a Segway tour.
From the Forums: "Last summer we took a Segway tour at night. It turned out to be one of the most fun things we have ever done. Different, and exciting. I recommend it for any age group." -- returntoyourseat (more)
10. Toast the city at sunset on the Pont des Arts.
From the Forums: "We take a half bottle of champagne out onto the Pont des Arts at about 7:45 or 8:45 in the evening. This gives us enough time to find a seat or a place at the rail, open the bottle of wine, and wait until the Eiffel Tower begins to twinkle at the hour." -- Peter_krynicki (more)
11. Find solitude and many varieties of flowers at the Jardin des Plantes.
From the Forums: "Des Blances Manteaux: Tucked away off busy shopping street Francs Bourgeois, this little park is popular with those who have just bought falafels on nearby Rue de Rosiers. Our son loved the church bells ringing and it became known as 'the bell park' for us." -- JenG (more)
12. Pick up a picnic lunch at the Richard Lenoir street market on a Thursday or a Sunday and head over to Place de la Bastille.
From the Forums: "He'd probably love the Richard Lenoir market near Bastille or the Saxe-Breteuil market in the 7th at Pl. Breteuil... Vendors from all parts of France come with their products." -- avalon (more)
13. Walk through the Marais for a glimpse of the Hotels Particuliers, gorgeous Baroque mansions that line the streets.
From the Forums: "The neighborhood is filled with museums and decaying buildings but I was looking for Place des Vosges. The relatively small square is perfect and conveys a serenity even though it is filled with children trying to kick pigeons and hoards of tourists marching purposefully to their next assignment. It is protected on all four sides by brick and stone pavilions with a 400 year history." -- Aduchamp1 (more)
14. Savor a glass of red outside Le Baron Rouge in the 12th.
From the Forums: "We also particularly like wine bars where you can select a glass or two of wine and a petite assiette of meat, cheese, and small peppers to enjoy." -- Peter_krynicki (more)
15. Hop aboard the Batobus to see Paris's most famous sights from the Seine.
From the Forums: "Be sure to ride the Batobus, through Paris, on the Seine. It is very inexpensive to buy a hop-on-hop-off pass. It will take you within walking distance of the top tourist sites in Paris, and is especially lovely after dark. It stops running in the evening, around 9 or 10, depending on the season." -- PeaceOut (more)
16. Elevate your morning walk on the Promenade Plantée.
From the Forums: "Go to Bastille and walk along the top part of the Viaduc des Arts, called the Promenade Plantee. It's a charming rooftop walkway along the now-disused (no longer there) railway tracks which takes the walker through archways of roses, beds of flowers and shrubs, and a pond or two. It's dead straight and you will encounter quite a few joggers." -- tod (more)
17. Let a local to show you around–sign up for a tour with a Paris Greeter.
From the Forums: "My friend and I did this last year (Apr 2008) and loved it. Our guide worked in a private travel club and showed us the inside of the mansion first and then we headed to Montmartre and saw a lot of what this post lists. We were already booked for dinner and she joined us - such a special experience." -- palette (more)
18. Observe (and consider joining) a game of boules.
From the Forums: "I always stop by the Invalides Esplanade (between La Musee de l'Armee and Le Pont Alexandre III) for a look at Paris at play: boules in the treed areas, football/soccer in the grassy ones. The boules games among the regulars - with tape measures, pick-up magnets, and some serious trash talking (which I wish I could understand!) - are a delightful way to pass an hour as a spectator." -- SemiMike (more)
19. Enjoy a mint tea in the lovely leafy courtyard of Paris's most beautiful mosque.
From the Forums: "La Mosquée de Paris in the 5th, near le Jardin des Plantes - beautiful mosque, garden, cafe, oasis of calm." -- msm4 (more)
20. Enjoy an affordable Lebanese lunch with fantastic views at Le Ziryab, an outdoor café on the top floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe.
From the Forums:"Stunning views of the Seine and Notre Dame and an excellent way to discover the finest Moroccan wines." -- kerouac (more)
21. Enjoy the simple pleasures of Paris's café culture– try Au Père Tranquille for prime people watching.
From the Forums: "I like to sit at a cafe for breakfast and watch the children going to school, the old ladies all dressed up going to the market, the gents or nannies walking the dogs, etc." -- suec1 (more)
Photo credits: (1) Photo by Flickr member WordRidden
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