Paris is still running at full tilt in August as visitors flock to the city during school vacations, even if Parisians are heading in the opposite direction. The long, hot days put an emphasis on outdoor events, but all the city attractions, big and small, are buzzing. If you are wondering what makes summer in the City of Light so extraordinary, read on to discover the best things to do in Paris in August.
The 18 best things to do in Paris in August
Join the party at the Rock en Seine music festivalMusic Festival in Paris
A music festival since 2005, the Rock en Seine is one of the leading things to do in Paris in August.
The festival fills the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud on the outskirts of Paris. The former royal estate is a delightful place to visit any time, with vast green spaces, a chateau, and Marie Antionette’s rose garden. But none of that matters when 40,000 daily revelers hit the park for 3 nights of musical-inspired mayhem.
Past acts include Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Green Day, Cypress Hill, Nick Cave, and more. A real mix of genres that will appeal to music fans who love a good time.
Watch the Assomption procession along the Seine (August 15 annually)Holidays in France
August 15 is a public holiday that sees Paris shut down for the day, at least in business districts. But the religious holiday is marked with a famous mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral, preceded by a colorful procession along the Seine. It is a diverting sight, even if you’re not a churchgoer.
Although Notre-Dame is being repaired following the devastating fire in 2019 (scheduled to reopen in 2024), the procession has been an annual event since 1638 and still takes place in the shadow of Paris’s iconic landmark.
Other Assomption Day processions also take place at churches in the city. Another highlight is the magnificent Sacré-Cœur basilica in Montmartre where you can also savor stunning views over Paris.
Enjoy a cooling drink and views from Paris’s rooftop barsRooftop Bar in Paris
Rooftop terrace bars are dotted all over Paris. Many enjoy commanding views over the city landmarks. Some are only open during the summer, so take advantage of the late sunsets and head up to the skyline for cocktails and views.
Some of our favorite rooftop bars are:
Le Perchoir Marais (33 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004)—Situated on top of the BHV Marais department store, this bar enjoys views of the handsome Hôtel de Ville and citywide views. Le Perchoir operates several rooftop bars, but Le Marais is the best for views of the Eiffel Tower.
Terrass” Rooftop Bar (12 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018) – A rooftop bar with style atop the Terras” Hotel. The views sweep across the city and the Montmartre district.
Le Rooftop at L’Oiseau Blanc (19 Av. Kléber, 75116) – Elegant and expensive, the 2 Michelin star restaurant and bar above the L’Oiseau Blanc hotel is a classy establishment for cocktails and cityscape vistas.
Catch a free outdoor screening during La Chaise et l’écranFestival in Paris
Chaise et l’écran translates as ‘chair and screen‘. The idea behind this mini-festival is for people to bring a chair and enjoy an outdoor film screening.
Every year, several films (usually French) are selected and shown at various venues around the Popincourt neighborhood. All screenings are free. The atmosphere is convivial and welcoming. Check online to find out what films have been selected and where to find screenings.
Take your family to the Musée des Arts et MétiersMuseum in 3. Arrondissement
The Museum of Arts and Crafts is an amazing museum that is a total delight for both adults and children. If you’re looking to blend education and fun, a visit to the museum in Le Marais is one of the most compelling things to do in Paris in August for families. It is stuffed full of scientific inventions, not to mention brilliant arts and crafts. Many of the displays are interactive and shine an informative light on scientific and engineering progress via the latest inventions that changed history.
Founded in 1794 the Museum has amassed an eclectic collection of exhibits, including the original model of the Statue of Liberty and the first Foucault pendulum. Visits to the Musée des Arts et Métiers are free on the first Sunday of the month and from 6pm on Fridays, so make a note in your diary.
Go to the adventure playground in Jardin Nelson MandelaPlayground in 1. Arrondissement
Talking of keeping kids amused… If you’re looking for a park for them to blow off steam in the center of Paris, head to the adventure playground in Jardin Nelson Mandela, overlooked by the august Église Saint-Eustache.
The playground is not huge, but is filled with climbing frames children will love. If you want to take a moment’s pause while your little ones go wild, the park is conveniently located near the iconic landmarks of the 1st arrondissement.
Enjoy your time in the Jardin des TuileriesPark in Quartier Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
Situated in the elegant Tuileries Garden is a pleasure ground for all ages. Bursting with food trucks and rides (new and alarmingly vintage), the fair is an entertaining diversion from the high culture of the nearby Louvre and other museums.
There’s a little secret, too. Some adrenaline rides roar high above the rooftops of the neighborhood. For just a few Euros, you can see citywide views. But only for a few seconds before hurtling back down to ground level.
Stroll along the planted promenade Coulée Verte René-DumontPark in Paris
Snaking 2.9-miles (4.7 km) through the 12th arrondissement is the (partially) elevated walkway, Coulée Verte René-Dumont. It is the newest ‘park’ in Paris and a delightful escape from the bustle of the city center.
The thin pathway follows a disused railway and is lined with plants, green spaces, and views. Relaxing in public parks is one of the most popular things to do in Paris in August, yet the walkway tends to be one of the more relaxed spaces in summer.
If you want to see a different side of Paris, the promenade plantée (planted walkway) is a welcome escape. At the end of the walkway are more green spaces (Canal Saint-Martin and the vast Bois de Vincennes), and plenty of places to stop for refreshments along the way. If you want a calming summer walk, the Coulée Verte René-Dumont is ideal.
Soak jazz or classical music at the Festivals do Parc FloralForest in Quartier du Bel-Air
At the eastern end of the Coulée Verte René-Dumont is Paris’s largest park, Bois de Vincennes. Nestled in Vincennes Woods is the botanic garden Parc floral de Paris, which hosts a series of open-air concerts throughout the summer.
Jazz and classical music are on the agenda, with free concerts in the afternoons (entry to the park is €2.50.) Each week, a ticketed evening concert is hosted. Nothing says summer more than open-air concerts in Paris, and the Festivals do Parc Floral hosts some of the best in Paris in August.
Parc Floral de Paris at Les PestaclesMusic Festival in Paris
In conjunction with the jazz and classical music concerts in the Parc floral de Paris is a series of concerts aimed at younger audiences. The concerts are free (park entry is €2.50), with shows aimed at very young children (under 6) and older audiences (7-12).
If you’re seeking things to do in Paris in August that your children will enjoy, check out the program. There’s a good chance you’ll find a concert they will appreciate. Afterward, you can explore the pretty botanic gardens, making it a full and fun day out from the city center.
Scape to the beach in ParisBeach in 19. Arrondissement
Another great day out for families is to head to the Bassin de la Villette, the manmade waterway between canals in the 19th arrondissement.
During the Paris Plages season, swimming pools are opened in the artificial waterway so Parisians and tourists can cool off. There is boating and lots of side events in the neighborhood, notably in nearby Parc de la Villette and during the Été du Canal in Canal de l’Ourcq (see next entry.)
There are also some great bars and cafés in the vicinity, making Villette one of the coolest places to hang out during the summer.
Otherwise, head to the riverbanks of the Seine (Rives de Seine) to sit back on deckchairs like you’re at the beach and enjoy the riverside view. You won’t need your swimsuit for the Paris ‘beaches’ along the Seine though, the river is definitely not for swimming in!
Canalside fun during the Été du CanalBeach in 19. ArrondissementOur highlight
The canals of Paris are green lungs where Parisians can escape and enjoy leisurely walks through some of the trendiest neighborhoods in Paris. During the summer, Canal de l’Ourcq hosts a series of small events and activities that leans into the area’s popularity when the city heats up.
From cheap ferry rides to floating concerts, the water is the main star as locals make the most of late sunsets to enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Sit back and enjoy the spectacular light show, La Nuit Aux Invalides (July to September annually - 2023 dates not released yet)Museum in 7. ArrondissementOur highlight
One of the most awe-inspiring things to do in Paris in August is to watch the dramatic and immersive light show La Nuit Aux Invalides. Projected onto the historically significant Hôtel National des Invalides, the spectacle charts the history of France in 50 eye-opening minutes. The core show follows the life and legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose mausoleum is housed within the Invalides complex.
With tickets starting from just €5, La Nuit Aux Invalides is a magical show that leaves a lasting impression. One of the highlights of the summer in the French capital.
Surprises abound at the Silhouette Festival of short filmsCinema & OpenAir Cinema in 19. Arrondissement
A unique and exciting film festival takes place in the modernist Parc de la Butte-du-Chapeau-Rouge. The park is famed for its hilltop view over Paris, yet is increasingly known for the bizarre short film festival designed to surprise, scare, and elicit a reaction from audiences.
The selection of films is diverse and screened in creative ways that are intended to draw gasps. The Silhouette Festival is undoubtedly one of the most offbeat things to do in Paris in August. And nobody knows what to expect next year, just as the organizers intended.
More summer events during The Festival Paris l'Eté (July - August annually)Festival in Paris
An annual event since 1990, the Paris Summer Festival supports a varied program of local festivals in quartiers across Paris. Often free and outdoors, the series of events includes concerts, theater shows, and other live performances in popular public spaces.
Many events occur in the shadow of monuments, and visitors stumble upon them while exploring the leading sights in the capital. The idea is to surprise and delight tourists as they roam around the city. However, you can access the complete program and build your itinerary around it by visiting the Festival Paris l’Eté website.
Commemorate the liberation of Paris at the Musée de la libérationMuseum in Quartier du MontparnasseOur highlight
On August 25, 1944, Paris was liberated from Nazi rule. Celebrations of the momentous occasion are muted in Paris, with more activities taking place during the le jour de la libération in May (Victory in Europe Day.) However, you can mark the occasion and learn more about the titanic struggle to liberate the French capital in the fascinating Musée de la Libération.
The museum is also home to the Musée du Général Leclerc de Hauteclocque (the military leader of the Free French) and the Musée Jean Moulin (leader of the French Resistance.) Together, they shine a light on one of the most traumatic yet jubilant periods in French history. Of all the things to do in Paris in August, a visit to the Liberation Museum is an absorbing yet poignant reminder of Paris’s complicated history.
Movie time at the Cinéma en Plein air de la Villette (July to August annually)Park in 19. ArrondissementOur highlight
One of the hotly anticipated things to do in Paris in August is the free cinema screening in Paris’s third-largest park, Parc de La Villette. From arthouse French films to international blockbusters, the diverse program invites movie fans and nature lovers to come together and enjoy a leisurely evening under the stars.
Some films are shown in English (usually if they were originally filmed in English), but whatever film is on, you are assured of a good night out. Bring a bottle and a picnic to make the most of this ever-popular event.
Take a hop-on, hop-off open-top bus tour of the cityHop on Hop off in Paris
Some of the most stunning sights in Paris can be reached on the popular hop-on, hop-off bus routes. With the sun at its zenith in August, it is a great time to grab a seat on the open-air top deck to whisk you around iconic landmarks. With the streets below crowded with visitors, it is an efficient and rewarding way to see the city without breaking too much of a sweat.
Is August in Paris a good time for a trip?
The summer in August is one awesome time to visit! Jump in the Seine, read in the sun, or enjoy one of the numerous musical events.
What is the weather like in Paris in August?
As you might hope, the weather in Paris in August is relatively hot. Average temperatures range from 59 °F (15 °C) to 76 °F (24.5 °C), but regularly top 86 °F (30 °C.) Exceptional canicules (heat waves) are not uncommon, so sunblock and hats are essentials. Even the customary Parisian rain slows down in August, with just over 12 days of rainfall on average during the month. If you like summer weather, August is a prime time to visit Paris.
Are there any Jours fériés (Public holidays) in Paris in August?
15th – Assomption (The Feast of the Assumption of Mary)
Paris in August: What is closed?
Don’t worry, you will be able to visit a lot of bars, restaurants, and other stores in Paris in August, because mostly only small boutiques and cafés close in August.
What to do in Paris in August 2023?
It is indeed quite hot in Paris in August, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any activities to enjoy. You can spend the time on the Parisian beach, get a little sizzle from the sun or just enjoy the sunset at bombastic temperatures.