A rainy day in Paris isn’t exceptional: it rains in Paris 170 days per year on average. That’s almost every two days on average. Worse, it sometimes rains for the entire weekend or even longer in autumn and winter. So you’d better have a plan B if you don’t want to get wet. What about 50 plan Bs? I’m confident you’ll find something you like in my list of things to do in Paris in the rain!
I grew up near the French capital and used to call Paris “home”. Now that I live in Brisbane, in the Sunshine State of Australia, my friends often tell me I am lucky with the climate, and that’s why I can enjoy so much my weekends. I am not going to pretend this isn’t true, the climate isn’t one of the pros of living in Paris. But I don’t think the weather should stop you from doing fun things in Paris.
There are cool things to do in Paris when it rains.
I didn’t only want to make a list that you could exhaust quickly. There are too many rainy days in Paris to list only a dozen activities. Of course, I listed the usual activities, but I also looked for some other ones that you may not have heard or thought about yet. Whether you like history, nature, art, shopping or food, you’ll find something to do on that list of Paris activities!
Challenge accepted! Here are 50 things to do in Paris in the rain:
It’s simply the most beautiful venue I ever visited. If you can attend a show, it will even be a more memorable experience. But even just for a visit, the “19th-century architectural masterpiece” is worth the detour.
2. Visit Le Grand Palais
Not only is it a fantastic place to increase your science knowledge, but it also has an impressive interior to admire.
3. Visit the world’s oldest gothic edifice
The Basilica of Saint-Denis is just outside Paris and may make you feel less disappointed that Notre Dame is now off-limits. The Basilica of Saint-Denis was built before the famous Cathedral Notre Dame, in the first half of the 12th century. For centuries, the kings of France and their families were buried there.
4. Visit the Pantheon
The former church is an architectural gem where some of the most illustrious French people rest.
5. Visit the Invalides
You can learn about the military history of France at the Invalides, which also hosts Napoleon’s tomb (click here to book online*).
6. Explore the catacombs
If you’re not scared of stairs and the gloomy atmosphere, the Paris catacombs are an excellent activity in Paris when it rains as you’ll be underground. There aren’t many ossuaries like this in the world. But visiting tunnels with walls covered by bones isn’t for everyone. Make sure you book online (see a guided tour here*) as the queue is often very long.
7. Explore Paris sewers
Another activity that’s underground in Paris, so perfect for a rainy day. The Musée des égouts de Paris (Paris Sewers Museum) is located in the sewers and will please those interested in engineering, Les Miserables or just in unusual tourist attractions.
8. Visit art museums
The most famous ones like Orsay, Centre Pompidou and Le Louvre may be crowded, but they’re still good picks as you’ll never finish exploring everything they can offer. For example, have you ever noticed the talented Louvre copyists at the Louvre Museum? There are also many smaller museums worth visiting in Paris, like Carnavalet, Petit Palais, Modern Art, Arts Decoratifs…
9. Visit the Museum of Chocolate
Even those who aren’t fans of museums may be interested in this one! Let me start by mentioning the all-you-can-eat tasting…
It’s a small museum, but a good opportunity to learn more about chocolate. You can spend more time in the museum by joining live demonstrations and even workshops on some days. Book online here*
10. Visit the Sainte Chapelle
The Sainte Chapelle is at the Palais de la Cité, the old residence of French Kings until the 14th century. It is famous for its thousand fantastic stained glasses.
11. Visit the College des Bernardins
The 13th-century Cistercian building looks nice from the outside, but the best part of it is indoors. The nef is 70-metre long and 14-meter wide and hosts magnificent gothic arches and pillars. 50 million euros were spent to restore it.
12. Visit Victor Hugo’s house
Victor Hugo lived in the Marais district from 1832 to 1848 and wrote a large part of Les Miserables there.
13. Visit the Bourse de Commerce
The historic building is now a museum that aims to make art and creation more accessible and will please curious art fans.
14. Live History at the Conciergerie
The augmented reality of the HistoPad at the Conciergerie will take you back in time in the medieval palace that became a famous prison during the French Revolution.
15. Visit Richelieu Library
It is one of the most beautiful libraries in Paris and its history goes back to the 18th century. It’s another architectural gem in Paris. The oval room with lights coming in from the glass roof is impressive.
16. Experience the haunted Paris Manoir
You can hear about Parisian legends at the haunted Paris Manoir and play the Skeleton Key, the escape games with live actors.
17. Explore covered passages
Passage des Panoramas is the oldest one, Gallerie Vivienne is the most elegant one and Passage du Grand Cerf is worth a visit too. Find your way easily with a tour guide – click here to book online*.
18. Go shopping at the Galleries LaFayette
Paris is famous for shopping, and the Galleries Lafayettes are great when it rains in Paris. But it’s not only about buying things. Look up to see the glass roof, it’s impressive!
17. Enjoy a French beauty and shopping experience
French are reputed for beauty and fashion. No need for the sun to shine to treat yourself! How about hiring a personal shopper and receiving French tips? Check out this Parisian experience*!
18. Create your perfume
Parisian perfumes are known to be sophisticated. It’s a good place to learn more about the technique to create perfume and craft your own with a French expert.
19. Sip a hot chocolate at Angelina
Angelina was Coco Chanel’s favourite cafe. She came regularly for a hot chocolate and sat at table 10. Hot chocolate feels so good when it’s raining. And they’re also very reputed for their pastries. The legendary tea room has a beautiful belle-epoque setting.
20. Hop on the Bustronome
Why stick to one-view seating at a restaurant when you can enjoy all the best city views in one meal? The Bustronome is a perfect activity when it’s raining in Paris. You visit the city on a bus, so you don’t get wet. The upper deck on the bus has glass sides and a ceiling so you get excellent views but still are protected from the rain. Inside the bus, it’s a fine dining restaurant.
21. Eat at a Michelin restaurant
Paris is one of the most Michelin-starred cities in the world. If you are a foodie, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to try a
22. Visit 1728 restaurant
With its stunning tapestries, mirrors, paintings, sculptures, and ceilings, 1728 is more than just a gastronomic restaurant. The mansion was built in 1728. The experience of mixing fine art and dining will seduce History lovers. It was the residence of historical figures Madame de Pompadour (a member of the French court and mistress of King Louis XV) and LaFayette (a very famous military officer).
23. Visit Maison Souquet
The former brothel has been converted into a bar with a Belle Epoque atmosphere.
24. Learn how to bake
Go behind the scenes at a boulangerie and learn the secrets of French baking (click here to book online*)
25. Learn about macarons
You can visit La Maison du Macarons or even learn how to make French macarons (click here to book online*).
26. Learn French cuisine
Is there a better moment than a rainy day in Paris to learn how to cook? Join a French Cooking class (click here to book online*)!
27. Learn cheesemaking and wine
There isn’t a better country than France to learn about cheese and wine. Foreigners often feel overwhelmed when trying to choose cheese and wine at the supermarket. There are so many of them. A guided tasting tour is an easier way to discover one of my favourite things about France (click here to book online*).
28. Blend your own wine
If tasting isn’t enough for you, you can join a winemaking workshop and blend your own wine (click here to book online*).
29. Taste French beers
Although French wines are more famous than French beers, a rainy day in Paris could be an opportunity to learn about French beers. There are a few places in Paris that offer beer tasting activities, such as La Fine Mousse or Bierocratie. If you’re interested in joining a tour, check this one*.
30. Visit the Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des Tuileries has big
31. Visit the Butterfly Garden
This is another greenhouse, in Vincennes, where you won’t get wet if it rains.
32. Visit Jardin d’Auteuil
The Jardin d’Auteuil has a tropical jungle in a greenhouse too.
33. Watch a comedy show
There are many comedy shows in Paris. But the selection is
34. Watch a horse race
Watch a horse race and bet at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil or Vincennes.
35. Take photos of Paris in the rain
Yes, you’ll get wet for this one. But it can be worth it!
36. Experience skydiving
It’s not really skydiving, but you can experience a free fall indoors with iFLY at La Villette.
37. Visit the Stade de France or Parc des Princes
France’s largest stadium, Stade de France, has hosted the largest number of prestigious sporting events in the World. It’s special for many French people as it’s where our national football team won their first World Cup title. It’s a big stadium, and it’s always a pleasure to go behind the scenes. Click here to book online*
You may also be able to visit the Parc des Princes, famous for hosting the Paris Saint Germain football team, if you’re there during weekends or school holidays and there’s no game scheduled.
38. Join an immersive escape game
Inside used to offer an exciting escape game at the Parc des Prince (Paris Saint Germain Stadium), and then the Opera Garnier. Check out their website to find out what’s on when you’re in Paris.
39. Go to a concert
There are so many venues in Paris where you can see live performances.
40. Visit metro stations
You wouldn’t want to stay longer than what’s necessary to catch your train in most metro stations in Paris. Still, there are a few that are worth checking out: Arts et Métiers, Louvre-Rivoli, Cluny-La Sorbonne, Madeleine or Pont Neuf for example. Check out if ADEMAS offers guided tours when you’re in Paris.
41. Watch a movie at a special theatre
Paris has old theatres that will make your movie session special, such as the Louxor, a movie theatre from the 1920s, or at the splendid and symbolic Grand Rex.
42. Befriend stars or be part of History
Pose with the stars and those who made French History at the wax museum Grevin.
43. Go to Disneyland
Although it’s better with the sun, you’ll queue a lot less on a rainy day and still have fun!
44. Have fun being wet
Go swimming and play in the pools of Aquaboulevard Park or the Villages Nature Paris.
45. Visit Versailles Castle
Most visitors don’t keep Versailles as a plan B for a rainy day: it’s the most visited French castle.
46. Hire an old car to drive around the city
Hire a Citroen Traction or 2CV to go around the city.
It’s easy to reach the Champagne region by train and visiting the cellars will keep you dry. At least your clothes.
48. Watch a traditional cabaret show
Moulin Rouge, Lido, Paradis Latin… These Parisian shows are very popular with tourists.
49. Cruise the Seine River
If you seat on the lower deck, you’ll be protected from the rain!
50. Go south if the weather is better
What about you? What’s your score from that list? What do you like doing on a rainy day in Paris? Share your experience in the comments below!
Planning a trip to Paris? If you don’t know where to stay, I recommend reading this guide to find the right neighbourhood for you. If you’re visiting Paris for the first time, you’ll also be interested in reading these tips that will make your trip easier.
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