What to Do When It Rains in Paris

Indoor Activities for Rainy Days
Rain on a Paris window.
August 14, 2020
It can be disappointing when the weather won’t cooperate while you’re on vacation, but in Paris, there are plenty of options for staying dry and enjoying the city. Don’t let a rainy day put a damper on your trip! Huddle up under your ‘parapluie’ and try one of our suggestions for what to do in Paris when it rains.
Portrait of Urbansider Paris writer Karina
by Karina

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While everyone loves strolling through the city when the sun is shining, some say Paris is really better in the rain. Whether you’re a fan of the melancholic mood of cloudy Paris or not, you’re bound to wonder what to do on a drizzly day. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your time in the City of Light, rain or shine.

What to do on a rainy day in Paris:

1. Curl Up in a Parisian Café

Grab a book and have a spot of tea at Merci Used Books Café. A leg of the Merci franchise, this Paris coffee shop has a dark and cozy feel with an entire wall lined with books you can grab and get lost in while sipping on something warm. You can get breakfast or lunch here, sit on the leather sofas by the entrance, or grab a seat and watch the raindrops pitter patter on the window sill like a dramatic French film.

Find more of our favorite French cafés in Paris.

bookshelves and chandelier in Used Book Café at Merci Paris
Photo via Instagram @merciparis

2. Visit one of Paris’s Many Museums

A rainy day is also well spent inciting one’s curiosity and there are hundreds of museums in Paris that do just that. There are too many to name, but a few favorites include the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Picasso, Musée Gustave Moreau, Musée Jacquemart-André, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Musée du Quai Branly, Palais de Tokyo, and on and on.

If you want to discover art from all time periods, dine, and get some shopping in, there’s no better place than the Louvre Museum. There’s enough content to spend weeks there and still not have chipped at the surface of its bountiful knowledge.

Artist studio museum with spiral staircase Musée Gustave Moreau
Musée Gustave Moreau © RMN-GP-Adrien-Didierjean

 

3. Create Custom Paris Souvenirs 

Stay out of the rain and learn a new skill by reserving a creative workshop in Paris. Spend the morning with local Paris designer Kasia Dietz painting your own custom canvas tote bags or create a personalized fragrance with friends during a signature scent-making experience at The Alchemist Atelier. Browse and book our curated offer of creative activities in Paris.

4. Shop in Paris to Stay Dry

It’s also good gray day therapy to go shopping at the Galeries Lafayette. Meander through the opera-house-style balconies filled with designer products including everything from perfumes to tech gadgets. There’s even a children’s section, a floor dedicated to nothing but shoes, and a cafeteria for when you’re ready for a much-needed shopping break. 

If you’re not one for crowds, spend time instead in one of the city’s numerous shopping galleries, to browse in small bookshops or luxury stores surrounded by incredible architecture. Explore the Best Covered Passages in Paris on your own or reserve a guided tour of 19th-century Paris to learn even more about these historical shopping malls.

Paris covered passage Galerie Vivienne
Galerie Vivienne © Renata Haidle

5. Take Shelter in a Château

Of course, venturing outside of the city and spending a day at a palace isn’t too shabby either. Visiting the Palace of Versailles takes a whole day anyway, and why not delight in the splendor of the French monarchy? Tour through Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, see the Hall of Mirrors, and gawk at Napoleon’s golden throne. The jury’s still out, but I think that could be more alluring than staying home watching Netflix, n’est-ce pas?

Not up for the trek out to Versailles? There’s another château much closer, in fact it’s right off the metro! The Château de Vincennes in the east of Paris is an impressive medieval fortress set on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes. It’s easy to reach yet still off-the-beaten-path, as this cool castle is rarely on visitors’ radar.

Château de Vincennes near Paris
Château de Vincennes, Photo by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey[

On a gloomy day, what could be better than being artsy and getting pampered in a bright and cheery day spa? This Beauty & A Bag Experience is the perfect thing to do on a rainy day in Paris.

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