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Paris in the Spring

The Stuff of Songs


Sacre Coeur, Paris, France, springtime
Chris Ladd/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
If you're thinking of booking a trip to Paris in the springtime, you'll be joining droves of other travelers in search of the idyllic Paris encountered in Hollywood films and iconic photos. You may have seen movies such as "An American in Paris", featuring a jaunty Gene Kelly courting the lovely Leslie Caron in a version of Paris so hyper-colorful it seems unreal. It turns out it was unreal-- the "shots" of Paris were all filmed on a set.

While the "real" city is a tad less dramatic as it thaws from its wintery gloom, it certainly isn't likely to disappoint you, either. Be forewarned, though: you'll have to be prepared to share.

Some Pros:

  • The city waxes colorful and poetic as trees and flowers burst out of their wintery dormancy, brightening the mood and making for some fantastic photo ops. So make the most of it by exploring some of Paris' many wonderful parks and gardens. While most people head straight for the Tuileries or the Jardin du Luxembourg (both memorable,) also make sure to check out lesser-known green spots worth trekking a bit outside of the center for. The Buttes-Chaumont is one favorite of mine: a romantic-style park with sweeping views over the entire city, nestled in a sleepy and untrodden corner of the northeast.

    You should also consider getting out of the city proper for a good day trip. Top contenders include the palace and sumptuous, vast gardens at Versailles, or the subtle beauty of Monet's gardens at Giverny. (See more about day trips from Paris here.)

  • Locals are known to be in a better mood. Take advantage of the friendlier atmosphere and try using some basic French to interact: don't be shy! (Learn some basic travel words and expressions in French here.)

  • Ambling or lazing outdoors for long stretches is again on the agenda. Think about shopping for a special picnic at one of Paris' wonderful bakeries, buy some sunscreen, break out a book, and enjoy.

    If you prefer walking, check out our complete guide to exploring Paris neighborhoods, and also consult our list of the most romantic walks in Paris. I recommend starting from any point, and just wandering. The city will never fail to surprise you,and spring promises to be a pleasant and magical time for a good, aimless stroll.

  • Paris' famed cafe terrace culture is back in full force, so it's time to loaf like a local. Check out our list of iconic, classic Parisian cafes-- those that have stood the test of time, and have been places of inspiration and conversation for countless writers and artists. Student? Make sure to have a look at our list of student-friendly cafes in Paris. It'll help you pinpoint a good and cheap place to sip espresso, work, hang out with friends or check e-mail.

So what are some of the cons?:

Spring may be an ideal time to visit the city for some, but if you're crowd-shy or on a tight budget, it may not be the best season to attempt a trip to Paris. Here are some downsides:

  • Air and train fares go up as high season returns, so it's essential to book at least six months to a year ahead of your springtime trip (Look for deals on a travel package at Expedia)

  • Similarly, you may need to book a hotel months in advance, as occupancy rates peak in spring and summer. Check out our guide to where to stay in Paris to make a smart and informed decision on accommodations. Ready to book? (Compare hotel rates at Kayak)

  • You can expect longer lines, especially for entry to popular Paris attractions. To avoid spending too much of your day with stiff legs, I suggest that you consider purchasing a pass that allows you to cut lines at major attractions. The Paris Museum Pass is a good choice, although some of our readers find it a bit pricey.

  • Allergy-prone or asthmatic? Paris tends to have high airborne pollen and pollution levels at certain junctions in the spring. Make sure you bring along appropriate medications if you are sensitive to pollen or pollutants.

More Ideas on What to See and Do:

Month-by-Month Guides to Paris in the Spring:

Book Your Spring Travel Package to Paris Now:

  • You can find good deals on flights to Paris at Expedia.com: (Buy direct)
  • Paris by train: Buy Eurostar or Thalys tickets via Rail Europe
  • Get Some Inspiration: Pictures of Paris in the Spring

    Check out our pictures of Paris during the Spring for more inspiration, and to see shots of some of the more popular events and attractions from March through May.

    1. About.com
    2. Travel
    3. Paris Travel
    4. Planning Your Trip
    5. Paris by Season
    6. Visiting Paris in the Spring Travel Guide

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