What's on in Paris this Summer

The terrace at Wanderlust
Paris in August is a special place. One by one boutiques, restaurants and offices shut up shop and Parisians begin the mass exodus Southwards to their holiday destinations. The city is transformed into a ghost town, but it's not all bleakness for the rest of summer: if you know where to look, you can still enjoy Paris in August and be part of the after-hours type club that results. Here are our top picks of what to do in the capital over the coming month.
Cinema en Plein Air at La Villette
When the weather is clement, pack up a picnic and head to one of the city's two outdoor cinema festivals - Cinema en Plein Air is at the fabulous Parc de La Villette (until 26th August), and Claire de Lune travels to different venues around the capital (1st -12th August).

Indeed, if the weather is good, head along to Paris Plages (until 19th August) for a spot of sunbathing and a game of pétanque - the stretch along the Canal de l'Ourcq in the 19th arrondissement is our favourite part of the summertime event. The London Olympics are also being broadcast on giant screens at Hôtel de Ville - catch the closing ceremony on 12th August.

More outdoor frolics can be had at Wanderlust with its enormous terrace overlooking the Seine but there are also activities such as the excellent hairstyling workshops which take place indoors, should the weather turn nasty.

Gerhard Richter at the Pompidou Centre
Culture wise, there is, as ever, a plethora of exhibitions to check out in the capital. Our favourites include Intense Proximity at the newly revamped Palais de Tokyo (until 26th August), Gerhard Richter at the Pompidou Centre (until 26th September), and Wim Delvoye at the Louvre, but check out our full selection of what's on now here: On Now in Paris. 

The freshly revamped Palais de Tokyo
Rock en Seine is a three day music festival on the outskirts of Paris - and tickets can be bought for one, two or all of the dates (we'll be heading there on the Friday to check out Bloc Party and Grimes). Or for something all together more highfalutin, mosey on down to the Chateau de Versailles for their summertime firework displays and concerts at the Grandes Eaux Noctures.

Call ahead before going to any restaurant or cafe or check out the very handy guide on Paris by Mouth for what is open over the summer:

And we'll be here keeping you up to date with anything fun, new and exciting happening in Paris, so stay tuned to Unlock Paris (also check out our Facebook page and twitter for all the updates)!


  1. I've lived here for nearly three years and I still don't understand why everybody wants to leave and go south. What is relaxing about being stuck in traffic on the A6 for hours, only to arrive at an overpriced, overcrowded beach?

    Also pity the poor tourist who lines up all of their great restaurants to visit during their trip in July/August.

  2. the Wim Delvoye at the Louvre is brilliant - it's on until 17th Sept

  3. Really? It is still on till the 17th of September? I’d love to go!

  4. Yes,it is indeed! Read my review of the exhibition that I wrote for the BBC here: http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20120803-controversy-at-the-classical-louvre --Kim

  5. I second your Rock en Seine recommendation - can't wait for summer, will be heading to Nice via Paris!