By Alexandra Taylor
Having lived in both New York and Paris, I have always enjoyed the old adage, spring in Paris…fall in New York. Whether it is spring or summer, Paris is a must-visit when the city is in full bloom. Nothing says a romantic summer getaway like strolling through the Jardin des Tuileries, picnicking in the lush Luxembourg Gardens, or admiring the sunset along the iconic Seine River.
When the opportunity arose to spend a week back in the ‘city of lights’, I immediately arranged my plans to return to one of my favorite cities. The beauty and tranquility of the city must have slipped my mind, as I was in awe of everything as if I was seeing it for the first time. There are a slew of great things to do in Paris during the summer, from festivals and great open-air events to all the great classic visits like the Louvre and Montmartre but with the added bliss of sunshine and warm weather. Also during the summer months the city seems less crowded or even slow, as Parisians take vacations elsewhere, leaving it a relaxed atmosphere for travelers.
For great accommodations visit the Hotel De La Sorbonne, a high-tech and chic design hotel, newly renovated. Conveniently located in the hip St. Germain area, filled with fashionable boutiques and jazz clubs and in walking distance to the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and the Luxembourg Gardens. Luxuriously decorated with lush and bold fabrics and fixtures throughout, from bright designer wallpapers to chic furnishings, the Hotel De La Sorbonne is a statement of French refinement and comfort. With views of the Pantheon from several guestrooms, this hotel is a perfect base for a Parisian escape.
6, rue Victor Cousin – 75005 Paris
Another great hotel, Hotel Le Bellechasse also situated in the St Germain area in the heart of Paris just a few steps from the Musée d’Orsay. With beautiful rooms entirely designed and adorned by iconic fashion designer Christian Lacroix, the hotel offers a magical and luxurious experience for an oh-so relaxing Parisian weekend. The room boasts high-tech amenities and glamorous décor that will keep you in awe of the fine designer craftsmanship. Enjoy a meal in the fully adorned dining room or relax near the bar. A must-visit hotel for fashionistas and design gurus alike.
8 rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris
Next, spend an afternoon in the Luxembourg gardens picnicking and taking in the full Parisian summer experience. Then to indulge in Parisian culture check out the Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral, http://www.parisjazzfestival.fr/en/festival, which offers free jazz concerts spanning six weeks from June 11th to July 31st. The Jazz festival is a great summer event for lounging and watching performers on the open-air stage while enjoying drinks and friendly conversation. Craving a beach escape while in Paris? No worries, “Paris Plage” (literally ‘Paris beach’) is a free summer event that transforms several locations in the city into beaches with fun themes. From sunbathing in the manmade beaches along the Seine or swimming in temporarily made pools, Paris Plage offers a variety of must-visit and unexpected events for Parisians and tourists alike. Paris Plage is open daily from July 21st to August 21st from 8:00 am to midnight.
Also checkout the month long Paris Arts Festival across the city streets which offers free dance, music, and theater performances. The Quartier d’Ete festival runs between Bastille Day, July 14th and August 9th. http://www.quartierdete.com/
Spend your Parisian Saturday evening visiting the Parc de la Villette in northern Paris to experience the open-air cinema. A usually free event that showcases one movie each evening, the Open Air Cinema lasts for about a month from July to August. With both French and English films, you can enjoy a really nice evening as the sun goes down.
This July, spend your Parisian vacation soaking up all that the city has to offer, from viewing centuries old art and luxury shopping sprees along the Champs Elysees to some of the great summer festivals that will give you a true taste of Parisian life.