Paris and springtime go hand-in-hand. Parisians and visitors take the opportunity to throw off the trappings of winter and find a sunny spot at an outdoor café. Patrons at lively wine bars like La Palette in the Latin Quarter fill the pavement tables to people-watch and sip wine or coffee. If the weather turns grey, there’s always a snug bistro nearby to warm up with a bowl of French onion soup.
A glamorous buzz fills Paris during spring fashion week in March, when the world’s designers, celebrities and superstar models come to gossip and strut. Though the shows held near the Louvre are for industry only, department stores like Galleries Lafayette and Printemps hold fashion shows, and the Paris boutiques dress up for the event.
When the trees are in blossom and the flowers are blooming, the springtime Paris sunshine puts a bounce in everyone’s step. Riverside quays are lined with booksellers, the chestnut trees on the Champs-Élysées are tipped with freshly minted green.
Paris specialises in city walks, and whether you choose the grand public buildings of the Palais-Royal or the neighborhood backstreets of Belleville, spring is the best time to take a wander. Or go for a bike ride through the city on a self-service Vélib bicycle provided by the City of Paris. Hire a bike from Bastille and cycle north through the Paris suburbs to the Bois de Vincennes parklands.
A Paris spring break at Easter means special church services at Notre Dame Cathedral and festive meals. It also means plenty of chocolate, with children’s Easter egg hunts organised at parks like Buttes-Chaumont and Bois de Bologne. Chocolate shops all over Paris fill their windows with artfully displayed chocolate bunnies, hens, eggs, bells and fish. Standout chocolatiers include Patrick Roger in the Latin Quarter, Christian Constant near the Luxembourg Gardens and Fauchon, on the Right Bank of the River Seine near the Madeleine church.
For one night in May, the museums and galleries of Paris stay open until midnight and host an array of cultural shows and events. There might be film screenings at the Louvre Museum, string quartets at the Carnavalet Museum, late-night modern art exhibits at the Pompidou Centre and contemporary dance at the Orsay Museum. Entrance to the museums and events is free for the evening.
Spring softens the Luxembourg Garden’s tree-lined walkways with dappled green, and the garden beds are a riot of color as hyacinths, tulips and apple trees bloom. As the weather warms up, people play games of outdoor chess or sit beside the tranquil ponds, while children ride the merry-go-round and ponies, and watch the puppet shows.