The days are getting longer and the temperature’s edging up: time to pack your bags and go discover some of the fantastic things to do in Paris in the spring. Take a look at our highlights for inspiration when planning your trip – from a unique sporting challenge to a stroll round a candlelit chateau.
Image via EcoTrail de Paris facebook
Most people take the lift to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but on the evening of 16 March, 128 elite and amateur athletes will race up all 1665 steps in the Vertical® challenge instead. The participants have already been chosen for this year (phew!), but please do go and cheer them on – they’ll need all the encouragement they can get.
The Vertical® is just one event in the “EcoTrail of Paris” (16-19 March), which aims to promote healthy activity and encourage people into the natural urban environment. The programme also includes trail runs, “Nordic” walks and hikes of different distances so there’s something for all ages and abilities to get involved in. Some events require pre-registration, but for others you can just turn up on the day and join in. A great way to see a different side of Paris and maybe talk to some locals, too.
Supporting the runners in the Paris Marathon on 9 April is also a fun way to see Paris. The route goes past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks: the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, Bois de Vincennes, Notre Dame and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. So follow the runners at your own leisurely pace, see the sights and enjoy the atmosphere.
Image via Foire du Trône facebook
For a higher view of the city, take a spin on the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel in Place de la Concorde until 15 May. If that whets your appetite for fun and games, head over to the Foire du Trône, the oldest traditional funfair in France. It opens on 31 March at Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes and runs to 28 May. With over 300 rides and attractions for all ages, plus plenty of food stalls, this is a perfect day out for all the family. There is also a spectacular fireworks display on the evening of 1 May. Open midday to midnight daily (1am on Saturdays and days before public holidays).
Image via Omnivore facebook
There are also lots of fun things to do in Paris in the spring that don’t involve being outdoors. Why not head to Maison de la Mutualité for the Omnivore Food and Drink Festival (5-7 March)? The event showcases young chefs from around the world, with close-up demonstrations, pop-up restaurants and loads of dishes to sample.
A little later in the year is the Taste of Paris festival at the Grand Palais (18-21 May). Nibble on delicious concoctions from both world-renowned and up-and-coming chefs, watch cooking demonstrations, sign up for a master class or just sit back and relax at the champagne bar. Just don’t forget to buy a little something to take home with you from the produce stalls.
Image via Musée Rodin facebook
There’s always a huge variety of art and music to enjoy in Paris, and this spring is no exception. April is photography month (Mois de la Photo de Grand Paris), with over 80 exhibitions across Paris and the Ile-de-France region – a good excuse for exploring some of the suburbs as well as the city centre.
2017 is the centenary of the great sculptor Auguste Rodin’s death. From 22 March, the Grand Palais is hosting an exhibition that collates his work with that of his contemporaries, while the Musée Rodin has allowed renowned German artist Anselm Kiefer free reign to reinterpret some of Rodin’s work with fascinating results (from 14 March).
Also opening on 14 March is the Musée d’Orsay’s “Beyond Stars” exhibition in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario. It looks at mystical aspects in landscape paintings by artists such as Gauguin, Monet, Klimt and van Gogh as well as leading Canadian artists of the 20s and 30s.
No trip to Paris is really complete without a visit to the magnificent Palace of Versailles, with its famous Hall of Mirrors, thousands of paintings and sculptures, and immaculate gardens. It is the latter that really come into their own in spring, and from 31 March you can explore the groves and walkways accompanied by specially selected baroque music. From 1 April, you can also enjoy the Musical Fountains show, when the fountains dance around the statues, bringing them to life in a beautiful water ballet (Tuesdays, weekends and public holidays). The palace is around 40km from the city centre, easily accessible by train.
Also a short train ride from Paris (50 minutes from Gare de l’Est) is the beautiful 17th century Vaux le Vicomte. With its grand salons, a vaulted cellar and impressive gardens, as well as a fascinating political and social history, the château is well worth a day trip at any time of year. But from May you can also explore it in the evening by the enchanting, flickering light of 2000 candles. This has to be one of the most unusual and romantic things to do in Paris in the spring (Saturday evenings from 6 May, open until midnight).
April 19, 2018 by Paris Pass blogger
April 12, 2018 by Paris Pass blogger
November 10, 2017 by Paris Pass blogger