If you’re visiting Paris at any time of the year, even in the summer months and especially during wintertime, then most likely it will rain at some point or any other! The good news is that there’s a wealth of indoor activities and things to do worth enjoying even during less than perfect weather. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to spend a day you need it in Paris and still have fun!
Looking outside your Paris hotel window and watching the rain pouring over the Haussmannian architecture from the city? Don’t attempt to head to bed and pull the covers too deep! In the end, you’re in Paris and the town is probably even more beautiful within the rain- something you’ll soon discover whenever you step outside!
Discover the hidden and secret arcades of Paris
Throughout the town, though predominantly dotted round the 9th and 10th arrondissements, there's a plethora of secret passageways, just waiting to be discovered. The covered arcades of Paris once numbered on the hundred and fifty, though just a couple of dozen survive even today.
Constructed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to accommodate shops and boutiques which may be easy to visit during rainy days, the Passages of Paris were the precursor to modern shopping malls as you may know them today. Liberated to wander along and filled with hidden gems for example vintage shops and small eateries, some of the best picks include Passage des Panoramas and Passage du Grand Cerf.
Step inside the best of Paris’ Churches
Free to go to, wander around, and admire: if you believed that there aren't any churches to visit in Paris since the fire at Notre Dame, then you’d be wrong! Paris hosts countless chapels, Basilicas, and churches, a few of which have stood the exam of your time and have been in situ for centuries.
For example, are you aware that you can go to the relics of the Patron Saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve? Or that there’s a wooden painted church within the 19th arrondissement of the city. All this and much more should be discovered should you simply become familiar with probably the most unusual churches in Paris.
Visit a museum throughout the rain in Paris
Though Paris may well be a living, breathing, and ever-changing museum, much traffic are surprised to discover the city hosts well over a hundred and fifty cultural spaces! Even when you’re ‘not a museum person,’ there will surely be something that catches your eye.
From the world-famous Louvre Museum (home to the Hireling shepherd and the Winged Victory of Samothrace) to the smaller and off-the-beaten-path Musée d’Orsay. And when it comes to experiencing museum culture in Paris during a day you need it in the city, some lesser-known hidden gems include Musée de la Vie Romantique in the base of Montmartre and the Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground museum) in the Bercy area.
Hang out in a Parisian café to flee the rain
Coffee in Paris is a favourite pastime of numerous a nearby resident, and will soon become yours too should you spend of sufficient length going through the Town of Light. On every street corner, you’ll soon discover a plethora of typically French cafés that are just as charming inside his or her exteriors suggest.
Some of my favourite picks for authentically French coffee shops include Le Consulat in Montmartre and Café de Flore in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood from the city. And for those looking for fantastic coffee, the best cafés for speciality coffee range from the Broken Arm in Le Marais and Fragments within the 3rd arrondissement from the city.
Learn steps to make and bake macarons!
Yes, you read that correctly! If you’re truly stuck for ideas when it comes to a rainy day in Paris, you very well may want to consider forgetting about the weather and tucking into France’s favourite cookie! Though there’s a large debate as to who really sells the best macarons in Paris, book this class and you’ll soon be baking a load of your own!
Hide in the rain and peruse some of Paris’ best bookstores instead
Of course, because of its status as a world-famous literary city, Paris has no lack of beautiful bookshops worth exploring. A few of the very best are to be found in the Latin Quarter of the city, a place so-called because of the fact that students from the nearby Sorbonne University might have conversed with one another in Latin.
Today, the Latin Quarter is still predominantly students district and is home to several University Campuses. This area of Paris is also where many from the remains of Roman Paris are concentrated, including the old Roman arena and the former Roman baths. So when it comes to bookshops, my favourites are the Abbey Bookshop (29 Rue de la Parcheminerie) and Shakespeare and Co. (37 Rue en B^ucherie).
Watch a classic film
Looking for additional things you can do in Paris in the rain? Don’t leave the Latin Quarter yet! In the end, it’s here where you’ll find a fantastic choice of vintage cinemas offering screenings of unique movies and foreign films. Several cinemas can be found along rue Champollion, that is just steps away from Place en Sorbonne. Afterwards, head to the square to warm up with a chocolat chaud at one of the numerous cafés to be found here.
Take a Seine River Cruise
It may well surprise you, however, you can still take a River Seine Cruise, even if it’s raining in Paris! If you might see less than if the weather were clearer, you’ll still be able to spy the towering Tour Eiffel, the time of Musée d’Orsay and the magnificent Louvre.
And it may also surprise you to learn that a Seine River Cruise doesn’t need to break your budget. For instance, I love that more affordable cruises like this one are readily available for those on a budget, while romantic dinner cruises like this one will give you memories you'll always remember.
Enjoy Paris via Citro”en 2CV
One of the activities that's ideal to sunny weather though can nonetheless be enjoyed throughout the rain would be to explore Paris inside a Citro”en 2CV. These classic and vintage French cars were in production between 1948-1990. Today, these classic cars are the perfect way to experience Paris from a new perspective as well as have clear covers for rainy days in Paris.
Leave Paris during the day!
If you actually wish to see France with no rain, then you can always leave the city during the day. Thanks to its status as the capital of l’Hexagone, Paris is well-positioned and has easy transport links towards the rest of France and beyond. Trains and buses is usually pretty reliable and affordable, meaning day trips from Paris couldn’t be easier.
For example, though you could always go to the Palace of Versailles or even the medieval town of Provins, if the weather is bad in those destinations, then you could always go further afield. After all, from Paris, it’s possible to take excursions to Paris, Brussels, and even Antwerp!
Visit the Paris Catacombs
Deep beneath the streets of Paris there’s a secret maze of passages and tunnels that snake for miles on end. Though most of the Paris Catacombs are closed towards the public for safety reasons, one of the best things you can do in Paris while it is raining is to go to the 14th arrondissement where one can head underground and go to the Paris catacombs on your own. Purchase your Catacomb tickets within advance (including a sound guide as well as an audio guide).