Scenic view of the Eiffel tower with cherry blossom trees in full bloom in Paris, France

In Bloom: Paris in Spring

Discover the best things to enjoy in the French capital

by Inés Barús

Contrary to what “Emily in Paris” will have you believe, the French capital is actually quite grey and gloomy for most of the year, and can have quite tough winters. That’s why spring is the time to visit. The city comes alive with blooming flowers, outdoor markets, and festivals. Parisian streets bustle with activity and the city’s landmarks are more beautiful than ever. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’re already a Parisien extraordinaire, we’ve compiled some of our favorite off-the-radar spots for you to explore this spring in Paris.

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Starting with a Parisian must for spring, the Jardin des Plantes: this botanical garden is the perfect place to wander among the blossoming flowers, shrubs, and imposing trees. Besides the stunning floral displays, the garden is home to several museums, including the Museum of Natural History, the Gallery of Evolution, and the Mineralogy Museum. With their rich content, you could spend an entire day exploring them all. There are several breakfast and brunch options in the area to complement a perfect morning at the Jardin des Plantes. Nuance offers classic brunch dishes such as avocado toast and eggs benedict along with Crêpes with eggs and bacon and Korean snacks. Strada Café mixes healthy breakfast options with French staples such as pain perdu, which you can enjoy on their terrace, and Les Petits Plats de Marc boasts a tarte menu with offers both sweet and savory choices.

When the weather is fair, Canal Saint-Martin is le place to be. This charming waterway brims with trees, cozy cafes, and charming boutiques. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic or have a glass of wine on the water’s edge. If you want to go deeper, take a canal boat tour to see the city from a different perspective. The canal is particularly picturesque at this time of year, with cherry blossoms blooming along its banks. This area is also home to some of the best restaurants in Paris.

For an unusual sightseeing experience, head to the Promenade plantée. Built on an old railway viaduct, this elevated park offers stunning views of the city. As you walk along the park’s tree-lined paths, you’ll see hidden gardens decorated with sculptures and fountains. The park is a peaceful oasis in the city’s heart, and it’s a great place to escape the crowds. Fun fact: some scenes from the iconic movie “Before Sunset” were filmed here.

If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience, consider the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. Dedicated to the history of hunting and nature, it features an eclectic collection of taxidermy, artwork, and hunting gear. Housed in a 17th-century mansion, the museum’s ornate decor is worth a visit alone.

For a taste of the thrilling Parisian nightlife, head to the 11th arrondissement. This trendy neighborhood is home to various bars, clubs, and music venues. Whether you’re looking for live music, craft cocktails, or an underground dance party, you’ll find it here. The 11th arrondissement is also home to several excellent restaurants like Les 3 Bornés, which offers modern French cuisine by chef Kevin Borel. Alternatively, head to À la Banane Ivorienne, where you can try Ivorian Coast dishes and enjoy live music, or pop by Alluma, an affordable bistro commanded by chef Tal Liran. Why not make a night of it by starting with dinner and drinks and then hitting the clubs? 

Tickets to Paris

If you’re new to Paris, visit some of its key landmarks. After all, you can hardly go home without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Instead of battling the crowds at the base of the tower, consider viewing it from a distance. One of its best angles is from the Trocadéro Gardens, which offers a panoramic view of the tower and the city beyond. Another brilliant spot to see the city’s vista is the Montparnasse Tower. Built in 1973, this 689 ft (210m) behemoth was the city’s first business skyscraper. Parisians say the best view of the city is from the 56th floor, as you can’t see the tower, which is said to ruin the landscape.

Another important landmark is Notre Dame Cathedral. In 2019, the cathedral suffered a devastating fire, but it’s still possible to visit the grounds and see the exterior of the building. If you find this too depressing, head over to the nearby Sainte-Chapelle. This 13th-century chapel is famous for its stunning stained glass windows, depicting Bible scenes.

If you’re an art fanatic, the Musée d’Orsay will be your favorite. Housed in a former train station, its collection includes works by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh. The museum’s grand central hall is impressive and offers gorgeous views of the Seine.

On the subject of culture, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the city’s seasonal events and festivals. One of the most famous is the Fête de la Musique, which takes place on June 21, the summer solstice, but typically starts with a pre-event on the weekend before. This festival celebrates music in all its forms, with free concerts and performances throughout the city. Join the happy, drunken Parisians who are perusing the streets for the next party to join. The Paris Jazz Festival takes place from June to July in Parc Floral de Paris. This outdoor festival features jazz performances from around the world, along with food and drink vendors and activities for children.

For a unique and unusual experience (and you’re not claustrophobic) visit the Paris Catacombs. This underground ossuary is home to the bones of over six million people and is both a fascinating and eerie place to explore. The catacombs are beneath the city’s streets, and visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this macabre attraction.

At the end of your busy Parisian strolls, you’re going to want to relax and soak up some sunshine: head to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. This park is one of the city’s largest and most beautiful, with rolling hills, lakes and waterfalls. It’s an excellent place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, and in the spring, the park’s cherry blossoms are in full bloom. After, have a beer at the Rosa Bonheur guinguette, a little charming terrace inside the park, or head over to Bolibar for craft cocktails or Point Ephemere down at the Canal Saint-Martin for a live show or exhibition.

Paris in spring is a wonderful time to visit, with plenty to see and do for travelers of all interests. Whether you’re looking for hidden gems or famous landmarks, cultural experiences, or outdoor adventures, you will find something to love in the City of Light. With its stunning architecture, world-class museums, and charming neighborhoods, Paris in spring should be on every traveler’s bucket list.