A rainy day in Paris isn’t exceptional: it rains in Paris 170 days per year on average. That’s like almost every two days. 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 am 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. But I don’t think the weather should stop you from doing 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:

1. Visit the Opera Garnier

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, that 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 is nice from the outside, but the best part of it is inside. 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 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*.

Passage du Grand Cerf, Paris

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. Check out this experience*

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 ceiling so you get excellent views. 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 Michelin-starred restaurant in the country where Michelin stars were created. You could even try three with this tour (click here to book online*).

22. Visit 1728 restaurant

With its stunning tapestries, mirrors, paintings, sculptures, 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 (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 Macaron (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 the 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 greenhouses that will protect you from the rain. In one visit, you can kind of travel to four different environments.

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 limited when you don’t speak French. This one about stereotypes in Paris that will teach you how to become a Parisian, in English. Click here for more info*

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! Visit this page for inspiration.

36. Experience sky diving

It’s not really skydiving, but you can experience a free fall indoor with iFLY at La Villette.

37. Visit the Stade de France

France’s largest stadium has hosted the largest number of prestigious sporting events in the World. It’s a big stadium and it’s always a pleasure to go behind the scenes. Click here to book online*

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

Listen to a concert at the Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris.

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! Read this story about a memorable day at Disneyland despite terrible weather.

44. Have fun being wet

Go swimming and playing in the pools of the 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.

47. Take a day trip to a Champagne Winery

It’s easy to reach the Champagne region by train and the 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

Lyon, Marseille or Bordeaux (and so many other cities) are feasible as a day trip from Paris with the hi-speed train.

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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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Mitali

    That’s a perfect article for a person like me who easily gets irritated when it rains while traveling. And Paris will always be close to my heart. 🙂

    1. Eloise

      Hi, Mitali! The rain while travelling is never fun, but I rather it happens when I’m in a city! 😉

  2. Michela

    What a great list of things to do in Paris in a rainy day! I have been to Paris only once, and the weather was good. However as for me, I think that I would go with hiding in a boulangerie, or the citè de la musique sounds good too!

    1. Eloise

      Take me with you to the boulangerie, Michela! That’s a fantastic idea! 😀

  3. Brittany

    This is an awesome list of things to do! I’m sure people are disappointed when it rains there but how can they be with all of these fun options?

    1. Eloise

      Thanks, Brittany. If you don’t have a plan B, the rain can be a bad surprise… And that’s why these kinds of lists exist :p

  4. Amy

    Really useful list, I’m heading to Paris later in the year. Fingers crossed the weather isn’t too bad. What one thing on the list should i defiantly do?

    1. Eloise

      I hope you’ll have lovely weather, Amy. Hopefully, with all the rain they already had this year over there, you’ll be safe later in the year! I’m not a big museum fan. My favourite thing to do on that list may be #1 The Opera Garnier. I found it beautiful and Parisian. And anyone who likes shopping will love the covered passages. Enjoy Paris! 😀

  5. Ashfina

    This is a useful list. I am keen to visit when it snows, would you reckon a good time to visit Paris? It will be my first time and it’s my dream trip so I want a perfect weather to enjoy.

    1. Eloise

      Hi, Ashfina. Paris in the snow is super pretty but very rare. It’s quite hard to organise. Usually, the snow doesn’t stay. There are probably official statistics about when it snowed in Paris, but from my experience, it’s more often in January or early February. And you’d risk a rainy weather at this period (plus, it’s cold!). My favourite time to visit Paris is in May/June. Weather is usually good, but not hot!

  6. Linda de Beer

    Firstly, I wouldn’t want to be in Paris on a rainy day. But if I were, this is a great list of things to do especially if you want to avoid the crowds. As you rightly say, Notre Dame will be packed. I’ll opt for the sewers and some of the lesser known museums before settling for a hot chocolate at Angelina.

    1. Eloise

      Hi, Linda. I find Paris isn’t bad when it rains as there are so many things to do indoors! The sewers may be very busy too; their popularity has been growing in the last few years. But it’s still worth a shot!

  7. Josephine Sandig

    Great principle for a post. I’ve pinned this for later, when (if) I experience a rainy day in Paris – Now I quite want to 😉

    1. Eloise

      Hi Josephine! I hope you’ll never need it 😉

  8. Urbansider Paris

    50 Things! This is a useful list 🙂 We wrote a short list too

  9. Matoka

    I think that this list is great! I’ve checked the weather for next week and I’m visiting. Unfortunately there will be chances of rain every day. I’m still going since this trip was replanned.

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