August is peak tourist season in Paris, and while all of the main monuments and landmarks get most of the attention, there are also plenty of local-approved activities and events that you won’t want to miss! If you’re in the City of Light this month, see the sights, bien sûr, but also make time for some of these authentic ways of experiencing Parisian life. Summertime in Paris is truly something special.
The limited-time summer sale season ends soon, so hurry to your favorite Paris stores to get the good deals before they’re gone! Les soldes end August 6th, so most shops have already started their final démarques, meaning markdowns of up to -70%! If it’s your first time in Paris or if you’re just looking for some new ideas for where to shop in the city, we’ve also shared our picks for The Best Places in Paris to Shop the Sales here.
It might not be the same as a true beach vacation, but every summer the City of Paris does its best to make spending time on the riverbanks feel like a seaside retreat. In July and August, the banks of the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette take on a beachy vibe complete with sand and parasols! There are also picnic tables, pop-up bars, and concession stands so you can spend all day or evening along the water, reading a book in one of the lounge chairs or enjoying an apéro with friends with your feet in the sand.
In the summer, several outdoor movie festivals and special screenings happen all around Paris. Most movies are shown in V.O. (Version originale) with French subtitles, so your best bet is to check the program and find an English-language movie if you don’t speak French.
Every summer, the Parc de la Villette shows movies on a huge inflatable screen on its expansive lawn as part of its Cinéma en plein air festival. You can find the full program here, but some of the highlights include Ready Player One, Wall-E, Isle of Dogs, and Blade Runner, all in V.O. (Version originale) with French subtitles. The festival continues through August 18th, so check the program, pack a picnic basket, and head here for a fun, free, relaxing Parisian night out.
July 17 – August 18, 2019
Parc de la Villette, 75019 Paris
Metro Porte de Pantin
Every Wednesday from now through September 11th, Paris’s most-famous cabaret is hosting movie nights on the rooftop terrace of its laid-back Bar à Bulles. This marks the second year of the Moulin Rouge’s open-air film festival Cinéma sur le toit, with this year’s lineup including everything from Agnès Varda’s Le Bonheur to Greg Mottola’s Superbad. With limited space, you do need to reserve ahead of time – tickets are free and available for reservation on the Facebook Event Page one week before the screening .
July 10 – September 11, 2019
Bar à Bulles, 4 Cité Véron, 75018 Paris
Metro Blanche or Place de Clichy
Free, reservations required
The fair continues at the Jardins des Tuileries through August 25th. Head to the iconic Parisian gardens to ride one of the manèges or to enjoy some sweet and fluffy cotton candy, called barbe à papa (literally meaning dad’s beard – weird, right?!). The Ferris Wheel and giant swing offer some incredible views of Paris and some fun photo opportunities too! It’s free to enter the fairground, but you must pay to ride.
June 21 – August 25, 2019
Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris
Metro Tuileries, Concorde, or Carrousel du Louvre
History buffs and light-show lovers, this one’s for you! Wednesdays – Saturdays now through August 30th, the magnificent Hôtel des Invalides serves as the canvas for a light and sound show retracing the history of Paris, or Lutèce as the city was called in Roman times. The impressive projection mapping is dazzling, making for an animated and interesting way to learn more about Parisian history. And don’t worry if you don’t speak French – you can rent a headset to listen to the show in English!
Hôtel des Invalides, 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
Metro Invalides or La Tour-Maubourg
Tickets: Starting at 18.99€ for adults, free for children under 7
The summer music season continues this month with more outdoor festivals taking place throughout Paris. Classical music lovers can enjoy one of 12 exceptional open-air orchestral performances in the hidden Arènes de Montmartre as part of the Arènes Lyriques festival now through August 24th, or head to the spacious Parc Floral for free classical music concerts every Saturday and Sunday August 10th through September 1st. For those with more mainstream musical tastes, Rock en Seine welcomes The Cure, Major Lazer, Royal Blood and more to the Domaine nationale de Saint-Cloud August 23rd-25th.
Find all the details on these Paris music festivals here.