Paris is a beautiful city with plenty to offer even on a rainy day. Here are 25 things you can do to relax and enjoy your time when it's raining in Paris.
What's interesting: The Louvre is not just a museum; it's a historic monument and a symbol of Paris itself. It houses a vast and diverse collection of art and historical artifacts, spanning over 9,000 years of human history. Among its treasures are iconic masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The museum's architecture is a masterpiece in its own right, featuring the iconic glass pyramid entrance. It offers a journey through time and across cultures, making it a truly immersive experience.
What's interesting: Housed in a beautifully converted railway station, the Musée d'Orsay is a haven for lovers of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It features an outstanding collection of works by artists such as Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Degas. The museum's focus on this artistic movement allows visitors to delve deep into the world of color, light, and emotion that defines Impressionism. The grand clockface on the top floor also offers panoramic views of Paris, adding to the museum's allure.
What's interesting: Centre Pompidou is a striking architectural marvel with its inside-out design, where colorful pipes and escalators are visible on the exterior. This iconic museum is a hub for contemporary and modern art, housing works by renowned artists like Picasso, Kandinsky, and Duchamp. It's a dynamic space that continually evolves, hosting temporary exhibitions, film screenings, live performances, and interactive installations. The museum's commitment to pushing artistic boundaries ensures a fresh and vibrant experience with each visit.
Musée de l'Orangerie
What's interesting: Despite its smaller size, Musée de l'Orangerie holds a special place in the hearts of art enthusiasts. This museum is famous for its two oval-shaped rooms that showcase Claude Monet's Water Lilies in an immersive and serene setting. In addition to Monet's masterpiece, the museum displays works by other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. It provides a tranquil escape where visitors can lose themselves in the play of light and color on canvas.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
What's interesting: The Fondation Louis Vuitton is not just an art gallery; it's a work of art in itself. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the building is a stunning example of contemporary architecture. Its sail-like structure seems to defy gravity and provides a unique backdrop for the art within. The gallery showcases an ever-changing collection of contemporary and modern art, including works by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama, and Alberto Giacometti. The combination of architectural brilliance and cutting-edge art makes a visit here a truly immersive experience.
What's interesting: Galerie Perrotin is a prominent gallery in Paris's contemporary art scene. It represents a diverse roster of international artists and hosts exhibitions that push the boundaries of artistic expression. The gallery space itself is thoughtfully designed to enhance the visitor's experience, often featuring innovative installations and sculptures. Whether you're into painting, sculpture, or multimedia art, Galerie Perrotin provides a platform for exploring the cutting edge of contemporary creativity.
More things to do in Paris
Palais de Tokyo
What's interesting: Palais de Tokyo is not just an art gallery but a contemporary art center dedicated to experimental and avant-garde art. It hosts exhibitions that challenge conventions and embrace innovation. The space is known for its vast, industrial-style galleries that provide a blank canvas for artists to create immersive installations and interactive artworks. The Palais also features a vibrant cafe and bookstore, making it a hub for the contemporary art community in Paris.
Le Jules Verne
What's interesting: Le Jules Verne offers a truly unique dining experience as it is located within the Eiffel Tower itself. The restaurant provides breathtaking panoramic views of Paris from its perch on the iconic tower's second level. The gourmet cuisine is a fusion of classic French dishes with modern twists, prepared by acclaimed chef Frédéric Anton. Whether you're visiting for lunch or dinner, dining at Le Jules Verne is an unforgettable experience, combining world-class cuisine with unmatched views of the City of Light.
What's interesting: Ladurée is synonymous with the delicate and delectable French macaron. This patisserie and tea salon has a rich history dating back to 1862. Besides the famous macarons, Ladurée offers an array of pastries, chocolates, and tea blends. The charming pastel-hued tearooms, often adorned with crystal chandeliers and vintage decor, create a whimsical atmosphere for indulging in sweet treats and afternoon tea.
Le Comptoir du Relais
What's interesting: Le Comptoir du Relais is a beloved bistro located in the heart of the Saint-Germain neighborhood. Chef Yves Camdeborde's menu is a celebration of traditional French cuisine with a modern twist. The cozy and rustic ambiance, complete with wooden beams and checkered tablecloths, makes it an inviting spot for a romantic dinner or a casual meal with friends. The bistro's commitment to using fresh, local ingredients ensures that each dish bursts with authentic flavors.
What's interesting: Café L'Ambroisie is an exquisite Michelin-starred restaurant tucked away on the charming Île Saint-Louis. It's known for its gourmet French cuisine prepared by chef Mathieu Pacaud. The restaurant's intimate setting, with views of the Seine River and Notre-Dame Cathedral, creates a romantic and elegant atmosphere. The menu features innovative interpretations of classic French dishes, offering a culinary journey that's nothing short of exceptional.
Théâtre de la Ville
What's interesting: Théâtre de la Ville is one of Paris's premier theaters, known for its diverse and high-quality performances. Located in the heart of the city, it hosts a wide range of productions, including drama, dance, opera, and contemporary performances. The theater's commitment to artistic innovation means you can experience everything from avant-garde theater to classical ballet. With its central location and a calendar filled with cultural events, Théâtre de la Ville is a cultural hub for both locals and visitors.
Opéra Garnier (Palais Garnier)
What's interesting: Opéra Garnier, also known as Palais Garnier, is an architectural masterpiece and one of the most iconic opera houses in the world. Designed by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875, the building itself is a work of art. Its opulent interiors, including the Grand Staircase and the Chagall-painted ceiling, are a sight to behold. The opera house hosts a variety of opera, ballet, and classical music performances throughout the year. Attending a show at Opéra Garnier is not only a cultural experience but also a chance to immerse yourself in the splendor of Belle Époque Paris.
What's interesting: The Comédie-Française, also known as Théâtre-Français, is one of the world's most prestigious and historic theaters. Established in 1680, it's the only state theater in France with its own troupe of actors, known as the "Sociétaires." The theater specializes in French classical drama and is famous for its performances of works by playwrights like Molière, Racine, and Corneille. Attending a play at the Comédie-Française is a chance to witness the rich tradition of French theater and acting at its finest.
Théâtre de la Colline
What's interesting: Théâtre de la Colline is a contemporary theater known for its commitment to showcasing innovative and thought-provoking works. Located in the Belleville neighborhood, the theater often explores social and political themes through its performances. It's a place to discover new voices and fresh perspectives in the world of theater. The modern and minimalist design of the theater complements the avant-garde productions staged here, creating a dynamic and engaging atmosphere for theater enthusiasts.
Palace of Versailles
What's interesting: The Palace of Versailles is an opulent royal residence known for its grandeur, history, and stunning interiors. While its extensive gardens are best enjoyed on a sunny day, the palace itself offers an incredible indoor experience. Explore the lavish Hall of Mirrors, royal apartments, and the Palace of Versailles Museum. The Hall of Mirrors, in particular, is a highlight with its 357 mirrors reflecting the surrounding gardens.
Musée des Arts et Métiers
What's interesting: Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts) is a hidden gem in Paris. It's dedicated to the history of science, technology, and innovation. You can explore a wide range of exhibits, from vintage automobiles to early inventions like the mechanical calculator. The museum's highlight is the stunning collection of scientific instruments and machines, offering a fascinating look at human ingenuity over the centuries.
Catacombs of Paris
What's interesting: The Catacombs of Paris offer a fascinating journey beneath the city streets. These underground tunnels house the remains of around six million Parisians. The eerie yet captivating atmosphere makes it a truly unique experience. The catacombs also have historical significance, dating back to the Roman era, and they provide a glimpse into the darker aspects of Paris's history.
What's interesting: Galeries Lafayette is one of the most iconic department stores in Paris, known for its luxury shopping experience and exquisite architecture. The store's stunning stained glass dome and Belle Époque interior create a sense of grandeur. You'll find a vast selection of high-end fashion, cosmetics, accessories, and gourmet food. Galeries Lafayette is not just a shopping destination but also a cultural and architectural landmark in the heart of Paris.
What's interesting: Printemps is another renowned department store located near Galeries Lafayette. It offers a similarly upscale shopping experience with a focus on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products. The store's art nouveau architecture, particularly the stunning cupola, adds to the elegance of the shopping environment. Printemps also hosts various luxury brands and designer boutiques, making it a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts.
What's interesting: Le Marais is a historic and trendy district known for its eclectic shopping scene. It's filled with boutique shops, vintage stores, and concept stores. You can discover unique fashion pieces, jewelry, and home decor. Le Marais also offers a mix of high-end designer boutiques and independent shops, creating a diverse and vibrant shopping atmosphere. The neighborhood's charming streets and historic architecture add to its appeal.
What's interesting: Hammams are traditional Turkish bathhouses that offer relaxation, purification, and rejuvenation. In Paris, you can find a variety of hammams that offer authentic and tranquil experiences. These hammams typically feature steam rooms, exfoliation treatments, and massage services. One such notable hammam is the Hammam Pacha, which provides a serene oasis in the heart of the city. The experience typically involves a series of steps, including steam, scrubbing, and relaxation, designed to cleanse both body and mind.
What's interesting: O'Kari is a renowned hammam in Paris known for its authentic Moroccan-inspired experience. The hammam is exquisitely designed with traditional Moroccan decor, creating an immersive and serene atmosphere. O'Kari offers various treatments, including the classic steam and exfoliation, as well as massages using high-quality natural products. It's a peaceful retreat where you can unwind, detoxify your skin, and enjoy the calming ambiance.
What's interesting: Paris is a city known for its rich literary history and thriving book culture. Browsing bookstores in Paris is a delightful experience for book lovers. You'll find a wide range of bookshops, from historic gems to modern indie stores. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore is a legendary institution for English-language books. It's not only a bookstore but also a gathering place for writers and readers. The store's cozy nooks and crannies invite you to curl up with a good book and lose track of time.
Shakespeare and Company
What's interesting: Shakespeare and Company is an iconic English-language bookstore located near Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was originally founded in 1919 and has a rich literary history. The store's name pays homage to the original Shakespeare and Company, which was a gathering place for famous writers like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. Today, it continues to host events, readings, and provides a haven for book enthusiasts. You can browse a diverse collection of books, including new releases and rare editions, and even stay overnight in the bookstore's upstairs reading rooms.