As soon as days start to lengthen and temperatures rise, Paris goes into full bloom and becomes seductively inviting. Here are eight ideas to get outside and enjoy the most of springtime in the city.
Paris by pedal: There’s something about seeing Paris at the pace of a bicycle; it just feels right. A mere 1.70€ provides a one-day subscription to the Vélib rental system and 30 free minutes on each new bicycle taken. Keep one longer than that and additional charges apply, or switch repeatedly to a fresh bike within 30 minutes and enjoy a day of springtime cycling at almost no cost. Purchase subscriptions online or at any station kiosk if your credit card has a chip in it.
Pretty in pink: Decidedly the hippest and happening hood in town, the Canal Saint-Martin is abuzz with innovative gastronomy and shopping locales that offer a true slice of local Parisian life. Order one of the deliciously creative pizzas at nearby Pink Flamingo and take one of their pink helium balloons to any spot along the canal. When your order is ready it’ll be delivered straight to your balloon.
Market Value: Spring ushers in exciting seasonal produce and the outdoor markets of Paris flourish as a result. For a tourist-free marché experience, jostle your way through the stall-stuffed lanes of Avenue de Saxe to ogle regional imports of cheese, flowers, honey, truffles, and everything in between. A view of the Eiffel Tower in the near distance adds an indelible splash of authenticity. Thursdays and Saturdays until 2:30pm.
Come sail away: What better way to appreciate a springtime breeze than to watch it guide a toy sailboat lyrically across a Paris fountain? French tots have done exactly that for generations at the northeastern basin of the Tuileries Gardens. An old man with a wooden cart overflowing with brightly colored sails tells you you’re in the right place. Perfect for the kids or anyone young at heart.
Bop till you drop: Each spring the fashionable 6th arrondissement hosts the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival, featuring the genre’s bright newcomers and established legends. This year toes will be tapping at iconic venues such as Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Sunset-Sunside Jazz Club, and the Odéon Theater from May 11-May 22, 2017.
Rollin’ on the river: Never is Place Dauphine more charming than in springtime, when the pink blossoms of its chestnut trees cast a pastoral Impressionist hue across the square. Do like the locals do and enjoy a leisurely game of pétanque (a French version of Bocce Ball) with cocktail in hand. Ma Salle à Manger, one of the nearby bars, will often lend you a free set of balls with a drink purchase.
Get crafty: Think France is all about wine? Au contraire! From May 5- May 13, 2017 celebrate craft beers and artisanal brews with a series of events, tastings, and demonstrations at various locations throughout the city. Visit laparisbeerweek.com for details and a full schedule.
A change of atmosphere: Forget the views from the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur and the Tour Montparnasse—infuse your sightseeing with a bit of aerial adventure by mounting the world’s largest hot air balloon and newest attraction, the Ballon de Paris. Enjoy a poetic ascent 150 meters above the capital as you take in the sights and warm spring air. from the Parc André Citroën.
Lead photo credit : Canal St Martin by Corey Frye