Nine of the best things to do in Paris in spring – discover why Paris makes a great springtime break with its pastel blossoms, street markets, festivals and chocolate-fuelled Easter celebrations.
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Sandwiched between the chill of winter and the crowds of summer, spring is when Paris bursts with new life in its gardens, street markets and café terraces. Add a sprinkle of pretty pastel blossoms, lush green parks, a dash of romance, chocolate-fuelled Easter celebrations and special cultural events and you’ve got a season packed with Parisian pleasures.
But what are the essential experiences you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Paris in springtime? Here are nine of my favourite things to do in Paris in spring.
What’s Paris’ spring weather like?
The weather in Paris in spring is starting to warm up. Temperatures rise from an average high of 12°C (54°F) in March to 20°C (68°F) in May, with overnight lows from 5–11°C (41–52°F). It’s a great time to explore the city before it gets too hot. You might need some warm layers for evenings though – especially if you’re visiting early in the season – as well as packing an umbrella as there are around 12–14 days’ rainfall a month.
Things to do in Paris in the spring
1. Check out the spring blooms
From trees draped in blossom to immaculately manicured gardens planted with rows of tulips, Paris’ spring blooms add a sprinkle of colour to the city. The pale pink cherry blossoms are a photographers’ favourite, and you’ll find crowds gathering in popular spots, like the Trocadero Gardens, the Parc du Champ-de-Mars by the Eiffel Tower and Square Jean XXIII by Notre Dame Cathedral (limited access after the 2019 fire).
Or if you go a bit further afield there’s a whole cherry orchard at the Parc de Sceaux. This 440-acre park was designed by Andre Le Nôtre, who also created the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, and is a 25-minute journey on RER line B from central Paris. The cherry trees usually flower in April, though when exactly depends on the weather.
There are also beautiful magnolia and wisteria blooms, as well as floral displays at the city’s parks which are splashed with colour from tulips, daffodils and peonies. My favourite spots are the Luxembourg Gardens and Jardin des Plantes. Or head to the Marché aux Fleurs on the Île de la Cité to buy yourself a bouquet of flowers at the daily market.
2. Join in the Easter celebrations
Celebrate Easter at some of Paris’ most famous churches and chapels. At the stunning Gothic Saint-Chapelle you can listen to a concert of music from Vivaldi, Boccherini and Rodrigo against the backdrop of the chapel’s 600-square-metre stained glass windows.
You can also join a church service on Easter Sunday (17 April 2022). As well as services in French at Paris’ major churches like Sacré Coeur Basilica and the Église Saint Germain des Prés, there are English-language services at Paris’ American Cathedral, American Church, Trinity International Church, St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Scots Kirk.
3. Feast on chocolate
Easter’s also the perfect excuse to feast on chocolate, and the edible works of art from Paris’ top chocolatiers are almost too beautiful to eat. They’re worth visiting for their window displays alone, with ornately decorated eggs and chocolate sculptures. Look for Jeff de Bruges and La Maison du Chocolat shops, or visit Galeries Lafayette department store.
But if you’re a real chocolate lover, head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This is where you’ll find high-end chocolatiers Jean-Charles Rochoux (Rue d’Assas), Chocolats Richart and Patrick Roger (both Boulevard Saint-Germain) – as well as Pierre Hermé, who creates delicious chocolate creations as well as his signature macarons (Rue Bonaparte).
You can take a chocolate and patisserie-themed walking tour* of Saint-Germain. Or if you want to making your own chocolate, Le Musée Gourmand du Chocolat near Strasbourg Saint-Denis runs chocolate-making workshops* and tastings.
4. Stay up all night at the Nuit des Musées
Get a dose of culture after dark at the Nuit des Musées – Night of the Museums. For the last 18 years, Paris’ museums have been staying open late into the night on the third Saturday in May (14 May in 2022) as part of a special event taking place across Europe.
Over 150 Parisian museums and galleries join in, including big names like the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Pompidou Centre, Grand Palais and Museum of Modern Art. The museums taking part are free to enter for the night, but there are also special events put on for the evening, like film screenings, concerts, performances, tours and kids’ activities.
On a warm night it’s a nice way to spend a few hours, strolling between different museums, trying out a few unusual ones and stopping off for food and drinks along the way.
5. Shop the street markets
Live your fantasy Parisian local life with a trip to the city’s markets. Spring is the perfect time to visit one of the farmers’ markets for new-season fresh produce like asparagus, artichokes and rhubarb. Each neighbourhood has its own market, but some of the best (and most charming) are Marché Bastille, Marché Mouffetard, Marché d’Aligre, Marché des Enfants Rouges and market/shopping street hybrid Rue Montorgueil.
Or go bargain hunting at a flea market – marché des puces. They’re a real treasure trove where you never know what you’ll find, from vintage clothes to antiques glassware. The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the city’s biggest and busiest, with 2500 stalls.
The market is broken down into different streets selling different things, but be prepared to bargain hard for a deal. Or you can take a tour* with a guide who’ll show you how to find the best buys. You can also try the less touristy Porte de Vanves or Montreuil markets.
6. Stroll through Rodin’s sculpture garden
If it’s too nice a day to spend inside a museum, you can still soak up some Parisian culture in the sculpture gardens of the Musée Rodin. This 19th-century mansion was where Rodin lived and worked in the latter part of his life, and was turned into a museum with his sculptures, drawings and photographs on display inside.
But the highlight is the seven acres of gardens outside which feature some of Rodin’s most famous works like the Thinker and the Gates of Hell, set along plants, flowers and shady trees. It’s one of Paris’ best bargains too as entry to the gardens only costs €5.
7. Listen to live jazz
Soak up some live music on a spring afternoon at the annual Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés (16–21 May in 2022). The event has been held in the area since 2001 and has a mix of free and paid-for shows, with big international names as well as young emerging talent. There are outdoor events in the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés as well as concerts in interesting venues like the Odéon Theatre, Sorbonne University and Maison de l’Océan.
8. Experience Paris’ café culture
Sitting out in the sunshine, drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of rosé and watching the world go by is one of the pleasures of spring in Paris. You’ll find people packing the city’s café terraces all through the year, but springtime is one of the best times to join them.
You can’t walk 100 metres in Paris without coming across a café, but for peak springtime scenery, head inside Paris’ parks. Among the lawns, pathways and boules pitches you’ll find spots like Café Renard in the Tuileries Gardens or La Terrasse de Madame in the Luxembourg Gardens where you can relax with a drink or bite to eat.
9. See the fountains at Versailles
The lavish 17th-century Palace of Versailles is just 12 miles outside of Paris so makes a great day trip from the city. One of the largest palaces in the world, it was transformed from a hunting lodge to the French royal family’s primary residence by Louis XIV.
The interiors drip with gilt, mirrors, marble and carvings. But the palace is also famous for its beautifully landscaped gardens which stretch over almost 2000 acres and include 55 elaborate fountains. From April to October, the fountains come alive to the sounds of Baroque music for the Grandes Eaux Musicales musical fountains show.
The show takes place on Saturdays and Sundays (plus Tuesdays from 3 May–28 June). Pick up a map and follow the route around the gardens, ending up at the Neptune fountain in time for the grand finale. The palace can get really busy, especially during the Easter holidays, but you can dodge the worst of the queues with a skip-the-line* ticket.