With its cobblestone streets and flower shops, Paris really is the perfect springtime city. It may sound clichéd, but clichés sometimes exist for a reason. When the weather is fine and the buds are in bloom, the city’s magic can’t be denied. The hazy sun sets in the Seine, bathing the city in a dusty glow. The long, dreary French winter draws to a close and life floods the streets again. The days grow longer and the crowded terrace cafés beckon with cool drinks and cheese boards, while the city’s parks and gardens wake up from hibernation to reveal lush fields and young, soft grasses, ideal for picnics. Here’s how to fully embrace a perfect Parisian spring day.
1. Fill your belly
Start the day with a hearty meal: Skip the Snooze button and take a morning stroll toward the Canal Saint Martin, past the low-key bistros of the bustling 10th arondissement. Stop by Holybelly, the city’s hot spot for serious breakfast, and put your name on the list. (There is always a wait, even during the week.) Have no fear though; good coffee is just a step away, and you can always get your cafe crème à emporter (to go) from boutique caffeine haven Ten Belles. Sip it while sitting beside the canal, or on a bench in the sun, until it’s time to eat.
2. Take a walk to the Jewish quarter
Paris is a city for movers, and walking is the perfect way to burn off your breakfast, so head down into the Marais and wander the historic streets of the Jewish quarter, with its kosher bakeries and falafel sellers. If you get hungry again, don’t let just any stand entice you: Israeli import Miznon makes the best lamb kebab sandwich in the city, served with fresh cilantro and herbs in a warm pita.
3. Head toward the Seine
The closer you get to the Seine, the more strongly you can feel spring— blossoming trees line the pedestrian walkways on both sides of the river, and the booksellers and antique dealers will be open for business. You can head directly into the Latin Quarter if you continue due south, crossing the charming Pont Marie bridge and meandering down the streets of the Île Saint-Louis, home of Berthillon, the grand-dame of French ice cream.
4. Bask in the sun in Paris’s most famous garden
Your destination, of course, is the Jardin du Luxembourg, with its sun-dappled fountains and expansive lawns, which have inspired the likes of Claude Monet and Ernest Hemingway. Before you go in, grab picnic treats at La Coopérative laitiere du Beaufortain, where they offer farmer cheeses, charcuterie, and jams, as well as bottles of wine. On sunny days, the garden can be crowded, but once you’ve found your spot on the grass, it’s yours for hours. Reclining lawn chairs placed around the large central fountain are just the ticket for a catnap.
Not that you need one, but springtime in Paris means no more excuses for staying in—and trust us: Once you get out, you won’t want to go home again. Whether you’re kicking your feet up in the Tuileries Gardens, window shopping in Saint Michel, or lunching al fresco with a glass of rosé, a springtime Parisian sojourn is a dream come true.