There’s something magical about the words “springtime in Paris”. They’ve spawned Woody Allen movies and Frank Sinatra songs, they’ve been the theme of many high school proms, and they instantly conjure up images of picnics overlooking the Eiffel Tower. But as well as those well-known icons, there are plenty of hidden gems that make Paris a beautiful place to spend the spring season. To visit Paris differently, explore the city’s lesser-known attractions - or see a new side to the monuments you already know.
No visit to Paris would be complete without a stop at a bakery to pick up a sweet treat. Always available in an array of pastel-colored flavorings, there’s something so perfect about macarons in the spring. For a truly memorable taste experience, visit Ladurée on Champs-Élysées - said to serve Paris’ best macarons.
Paris is well-known for its café culture, and nothing quite says Paris in the spring like sipping a café au lait outside in the sun. There are so many places to choose from, so Vogue’s pick of the five best coffee shops is a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed by options.
France is famous for its grapes, and it wouldn’t be a proper vacation if you didn’t enjoy a glass (or two). During the spring season, Paris’ many restaurants open up their verandas for al fresco dining, so you can soak up the sunshine alongside your sparkling wine. If you want a more rich experience, visit the acclaimed O Chateau for an expert-guided wine tour and tasting.
Amélie has long been a cult classic, and with the musical adaptation set to hit Broadway, it’s enjoying a second day in the spotlight. In the film, the titular character works at Cafe de Doux Moulins - a real cafe and a must-visit for any Amélie fans. Homages to the movie are present throughout, and there are even souvenirs for sale inside.
For an alternative to the traditional springtime in Paris activities, head underground to and visit Paris’ catacombs. Open to visitors year-round, this mass tomb is rated one of the city’s most popular attractions. On a similar vein is the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which features beautiful gardens and is the final resting place of Chopin, Proust, and Oscar Wilde.
Arc de Triomph
You can’t take a trip to Paris in the spring without visiting the world-famous Arc de Triomphe - the city’s 19th-Century memorial for soldiers who fought during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Sitting at the end of the Champs-Elysees, the Arc offers a beautiful view of one of Paris’ most picturesque areas from the top.
A short walk away from the famous Louvre, the Musee l’Orangerie makes for a more relaxed day out for art lovers. The main attraction is Monet’s eight-piece Water Lilies series - which seems perfectly appropriate for the blossoming spring season.
It might be a cliche but you can’t visit Paris without spotting the Eiffel Tower (quite literally - its phenomenal height makes it visible from areas across the city, and it has become one of the most instantly recognized monuments in the world). If you don’t want to make the trip to the top, simply have a picnic in the grassy field at the base and imagine you’re starring in your very own rom-com.
This beautiful basilica is one of Paris’ most popular attractions - and it’s not hard to see why. Situated on a hill that offers sweeping views over the city, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset - particularly during the spring’s warmer evenings. Crowds are bigger during the evening, so if you prefer a more intimate experience, go for the sunrise instead and start your day with a spectacular view.
This stunning cathedral is famous as one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture, and it was further popularized by Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the 1820s, gothic architecture was thought to be outdated and many historical buildings were set to be demolished - Notre Dame among them. Hugo then penned his novel in an attempt to encourage appreciation of the architecture.
The Latin Quarter
If you’re looking for the bohemian spirit often associated with Paris in the spring, you could hardly do better than the city’s famous Latin Quarter. Buzzing with bars and bistros, the Latin Quarter is the main hub for the city’s students, with a number of higher education institutions based here.
Shakespeare & Company
If you’re looking for somewhere to escape for a few hours, you can get lost among literature in Shakespeare & Company. As well as books and writing desks used by some of the literary world’s most famous names, the store features a music and reading room, with a keyboard that’s constantly played.
What could better evoke the feeling of Paris in the spring than a quiet stroll along a cobbled street lined with antique shops? The Village Saint Paul is a shopping street near the historic district of Marais, and it’s full of hidden passages and charming stores and cafés that are waiting to be explored.
The famous artists’ district in Paris, there are few places more charming to wander round during the springtime. Market stalls sell trinkets and souvenirs, caricaturists take on-the-spot commissions and buskers line the streets. To get the full Montmartre experience, be sure to pay a visit to the Musée de Montmartre, situated in the oldest house in the district.
Le Moulin Jaune
For a true escape from city life - and in fact, real life in general - take a trip an hour outside the city to Paris’ most unique entertainment park, Le Moulin Jaune. The home of avant-garde performance artist Slava Polunin and his Academy of Fools, this world of imagination is made up of five themed gardens where you can catch regular shows, workshops, and parties. You might even spot Polunin himself, floating down the river on an antique hospital bed.
Jardin des Plantes
Make the most of French flora and visit Paris’ botanical gardens. With many of the garden’s most beautiful blooms blossoming during the spring, it’s a lovely way to spend a warm afternoon outdoors, and a little oasis in the midst of busy city life.
See a Show at Folies Bergere
Take in a show at this historic cabaret show and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a 20s-era movie. Famous for its light entertainment acts, it’s become a hub of the city’s artistic world and over the years has been headlined by everything from musical productions to operettas to exotic dancing. Folies Bergere has become a pop culture reference, featured in recent movies such as the musical extravaganza Nine and the perhaps more surprising Thunderbirds.
Take a Boat Down the Seine
One of Paris’ most famous features is its bridges, and one of the best ways to see them is from the river which they cross. The banks of the Seine were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991. Regular boat tours are operated along the river, which make for a lovely day out during the bright springtime.
Go to a Jazz Club
With longer evenings to enjoy, spring is a great time to visit Paris by night. As well as the usual collection of bars and restaurants, Paris is also famous for its jazz clubs - particularly in the Montmartre district. Le Caveau de Huchette is one of the city’s oldest jazz clubs and is built in what used to be a 16th-Century wine cellar.
Take the Free Walking Tour
Free walking tours have become a popular attraction in all major European cities over recent years. They provide an excellent way of getting your bearings by covering the city’s main highlights over the course of a couple of hours, and it’s a great way to fully appreciate Paris in the spring. The tours are, as the name implies, free, but it’s worth noting that the guides for these tours work solely for tips.
Check Out Cent Quatre
Culture-seekers looking to get off the beaten track should check out this thriving cultural center, which has a constantly changing roster and offers a number of artist residencies throughout the year. As well as exhibitions, the Cent Quatre often hosts food markets, film screenings, talks and workshops and even dance classes.
From art exhibitions to wine tastings and museums to boat tours, there’s no end of ways to explore Paris in the spring, and to capture that je ne sais quoi of the city in full bloom.