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10 Things to do This Summer to Make You Fall in Love with Paris
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10 Things to do This Summer to Make You Fall in Love with Paris

Picture of Joséphine Gambade
Updated: 9 February 2017
Paris is famous for many of its cultural attractions: The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, a ride on a Bateau-Mouche, a walk on the island between its left and right banks. However wonderful these are, they are not the only things that make Paris so special. Read our list of 10 lesser-known activities one can do this summer in Paris to help you fall in love with the capital of romance.
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Walk Along the Canals

When in Paris, one must do as a Parisian does. In summer, one of the favorite local hotspots are the two canals connected at the Metro Station Stalingrad: the Canal de L’Ourcq and the Canal St Martin. On the one side, you have La Villette and its wonders, with the MK2 cinéma and a few cafés – ideal for a picnic with friends on a sunny Sunday morning. On the other, the 10th district, the ‘new Marais,’ with its countless cafés, brasseries and exotic restaurants. Walking down this canal includes heavy shopping at Antoine et Lili and leads to the famous Place de La République.

Canal St Martin

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Go to the Free Open-Air Concerts at l’Hôtel de Ville and République

The Festival Fnac Live and the Oüi FM Festival will respectively take place on the Place of the Hôtel de Ville and the Place of the République, as they have every year for 4 years now. They grow in popularity every year, offering to their audiences a large panel of singers from Pony Pony Run Run, Ben Howard, Keziah Jones to the Villagers. This year, the Oüi Festival will feature among others the Irish Rockers, The Strypes and the Festival Fnac Oscar and the Wolf. An exciting program with quality musicians.

Place de la République, Paris

Place de L’Hôtel de Ville, Paris

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Sit on the Térrasse of the Café Procope

This aristocratic Café Procope on the Rive Gauche is famous for its glorious past as one of the first recognized Parisian cafés littéraires and for owning Napoleon’s bicorn. Indeed, sitting in its first floor térasse is a pleasure to enjoy an espresso or two on a summer afternoon with friends. The area – the Quartier Latin – is also quite nice to walk in. Home of the famous Sorbonne, the beautiful Panthéon, the jardin du Luxembourg and the famous École des Sciences Politiques, it is the home for many libraries as well as antiques shops.

Café Procope, 13 Rue de L’Ancienne-Comédie, Paris, +33 1 40 46 79 00

Visit The Bouquinistes of the Quai de Seine

From the Quartier Latin to the Eiffel Tower, the Quai de Seine hosts some very iconic Parisians: the bouquinistes (open-air book sellers). A place where one can find a hidden treasure for the mere price of 1€, it is a perfect for a date with oneself and Paris. The walk down the Seine is most refreshing in the Parisian summer heat, and offers a number of benches on the docks or above the Seine to sit at.

Quai Malaquais, M. Pont Neuf, Paris

Eat an Ice Cream at Berthillon

Renowned for being the best (and one of the most expensive) ice-cream shops in Paris, the old house of Berthillon is settled on the iconic island of Saint Louis. Every day all summer, hundreds of Parisians and tourists queue for hours at its booths just to get a taste of a handmade Rose sherbet or Dark Chocolate Gelato – and every day, they leave content despite their waiting. The crowded booth actually hides the entrance of a café where you can sit down and order delicacies (cakes or ice-creams) in an 18th century bourgeois atmosphere.

31 Rue Saint-Louis en L’Île, Paris, +33 1 43 54 31 61

Shop the Summer Sales in the Marais

Every year, the 6-weeks-long summer sales bargains attract thousands of customers to the boutiques of the Sentier in the famous bobo quartier of the Marais. Zadig & Voltaire, Maje, Manoush and other fancy French brands will be discounting our favorite products up to 70% in the last few weeks. This year, the event starts on the 24th of June and will end on the 4th of August – plenty of time to select the perfect summer outfit (or wardrobe) to wear on your holidays.

Le Marais, Paris

Attend the Rock En Seine Festival

Every year, at the end of summer, the Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, the Chemical Brothers, Alt-J, Jamie XX, the Offspring, and Miossec all meet, along with many other bands, at an event called Rock en Seine. For 49€ a day, opening at 1pm, the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud holds the biggest French Rock festival of the year. This year, from the 28th until the 30th of August, more than 50 bands will be playing on its stages, and for those who wish to initiate their children to the ritual early, the tickets are free.

Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Cloud

Savor a Hamburger at Big Fernand

Choosing a hamburger place for this list is maybe not the most representative of French gastronomy, however, it is most definitely the best to enjoy in summer. Big Fernand is the world-renowned Parisian brand known for marrying French cuisine with the American all-time favorite. The menu offers pre-made compositions, such as the Bartholomé (a definite recommendation), or leaves the composition to the client for the same price. A must!

Big Fernand, 55 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Paris, +33 1 73 70 51 52

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Brunch at Les Bonnes Soeurs

Brunching may be a New York tradition, but Paris has included it in many brasseries, adding a traditional French touch. One such place which has done this is the Café Les Bonnes Soeurs. Available on Saturday and Sunday mornings, this 23€ seasonal menu brings some French to the American tradition, with fruit juices, hot drinks, pastries, a great variety of breads, proper entrées which change with seasons and fruity deserts. The pancakes come highly recommended.

Les Bonnes Soeurs, Rue du passage de La Mule, Paris, +33 1 42 74 55 80

Grab a Drink at Le Bonnie & Clyde

To finish the day in Paris after a traditional late meal at 8.30pm, a glass of fresh wine or a cup of the nicest cocktail is in order. One of the best Parisian bars is Le Bonnie and Clyde, in the 9th district. At the Metro Station Pigalle, in a neighborhood harboring a lively nightlife, the friendly and relatively cheap Bonnie and Clyde stands among the most famous of the decadent Paris, like Le Petit Trianon.

Le Bonnie & Clyde, 12 Rue Frochot, Paris

By Josephine Gambade

Josephine is a second year French and Greek International Politics, German and Anthropology student at UCL, London. Her passions are photography, music, and walking around gigantic metropolis like London or Paris in the hope of finding hidden treasures. She also writes about Politics on her blog, The Big Feminist Apple.