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Spring in Paris sounds magical, right? Blossoms blooming under the Eiffel Tower, the sun shining on the Seine… But is it all it’s cracked up to be? Read on for the answers to all your questions about visiting Paris in the spring.
Between spring break in the United States and the school holidays in France that fall around Easter, Paris can be quite crowded with both international tourists and French visitors from mid-March through the end of April.
Many Parisians leave the city for the Easter holidays, or Pâques as it’s called in France, and you’ll find more than a few shops and restaurants closed for a week or two. Be sure to call ahead if there’s a place you really want to try. That said, the ambiance in Paris in the spring is usually electric, with everyone happy to get out and enjoy the first nice days after winter.
Taking into account the weather, crowds, and cherry blossom season — we can’t forget that! — , late March or early April is a great time to go to Paris. You’ll get to see the flowers in bloom, be able to soak up some sunshine, and avoid most of the crowds.
The weather in Paris in March may not be the best, with a mix of rainy, cloudy, and cool — sometimes cold — days. Expect temperatures ranging from 40F (5C) to 55F (13C), with pretty drastic swings throughout the day. If ever there was a time to perfect dressing in layers, it’s March in Paris, but more on what to pack below!
April in Paris is a bit warmer, with lows typically around 45F (7C) and highs in the low 60s (16-17F). The sun makes a big difference in France though, so 62F (16.5C) can feel like 80F (26.5C) on a bright and clear day. Like I said, layers!
While warmer, May in Paris is also wetter, and is in fact the rainiest month in terms of average rainfall. The rain tends to come in more serious sudden showers, however, often blowing over quickly and giving way to sunshine. If you’re planning to visit Paris in May, prepare for lows of 50F (10C) and highs in the upper 60s (20C) and don’t forget to pack a parapluie, an umbrella!
Aside from the essential umbrella, if you’re coming to Paris in March or April, you’ll want to bring a warm coat for those cold nights and cool mornings. The wind can be quite cold too, so a warm scarf is never a bad idea and neither are gloves if you’ll be out walking a lot. If you’re coming to Paris in May, a lighter jacket and layering options are what you’ll need, along with some shoes that work well in the rain.
Like we mentioned for fall, Wellies (or other brand rubber rain boots) aren’t popular in Paris, not to mention they take up tons of space in your suitcase, so opt instead for a normal shoe that’s comfortable, waterproof (or mostly), and also a bit stylish. For ladies, a nice ankle boot is a good option. And for everyone, you can’t ever go wrong with Stan Smiths, right?
Aside from admiring the beautiful blooms all over the city, there are tons of things to do in the City of Light in the spring. Here are a few highlights to help you plan your spring trip to Paris.
Easter egg hunts take place in several different locations throughout Paris, including parks, museum gardens, and even a few unexpected places like on top of the Grande Arche at La Défense. One of our favorites is the charitable Chasse aux Oeufs Solidaire at the Parc André Citroën. Open to children ages 3-10, a “hunting license” costs 5€ and the proceeds support the Secours populaire français, a charity helping to fight poverty and social injustice.
See the event’s website (in French) to reserve a spot or you can also purchase on-site the day of the event. The most popular Paris Easter egg hunts are those in the Renoir Gardens of the Musée de Montmartre (reserve your spots here, in French), the elegant gardens of the Musée Rodin (reserve here, in French) and the Jardins des Champs-Élysées (reservation details on the Facebook page of the local neighborhood association, in French).
The spring running season kicks off with France’s largest half marathon, the Semi de Paris in early March. Then a week or two later, racers can run the 665 steps up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower as part of the Vertical Eiffel Tower Race. For less serious sprinters, the always fun Color Run closes out the month of March, with a 5K run through the city streets ending in a color powder party. And finally, the full Marathon de Paris takes place in early April.
If you’re on a family vacation in Paris in spring, don’t miss the Foire du Trône, the oldest fair in France dating back some 1050+ years — oui, it’s really that old! The fairground lights up le Bois de Vincennes every day and night each spring with more than 350 rides and attractions.
Gourmets and gourmands, this event should be on your bucket list! Over four days each May, this spectacular food festival takes over the Grand Palais letting you sample signature dishes and creative new cuisines from world-renowned restaurants and star chefs. A Taste of Paris also offers you the chance to meet local artisans and taste their products while learning more about how they’re made. Once you’ve had your fill, sign up for a free cooking class to learn new recipes and hone your skills in the kitchen.
Learn more about the event and reserve your tickets on the Taste of Paris website.
One Saturday in mid May, museums throughout Europe stay open late and offer special workshops, conferences, concerts, and more as part of the European Night of Museums, known as la Nuit des musées in France. In Paris, dozens of museums – both the world-famous and the hidden gems – open their doors, letting visitors in free for an evening of exploring History and World Cultures, as well as the Arts and Sciences. Most events start between 18:00 and 20:00, and end around midnight.
Find out what’s on for this year’s Night of Museums on the official event website.
Tennis fans know that the end of May means the start of the French Open. Since 1928, the annual international tennis tournament has taken place at the Roland-Garros stadium in Paris, with the stars of the sport battling it out on its clay courts. There’s always an excitement in the air during the two-week tournament and you’ll find many cafés in Paris showing the matches. The Eiffel Tower even gets in on the action, with a giant yellow tennis ball suspended from the second floor.
You can purchase tickets to attend the French Open on the Official Roland-Garros Website.
Everywhere! Ok, that may not be exactly the answer you’re after, but it is somewhat true. Come mid- to late-March, all of Paris is in bloom, with beautiful magnolia blossoms, pretty pink cherry blossoms, bright yellow daffodils, and everything in between popping up in all the green spaces around the city.
See our guide to the best of blossom hunting in Paris for all of the top spots to enjoy the show nature puts on each spring.
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