Summer in the city :: Paris Stay-cation

Sunday, July 21, 2013

There will be no grande vacance pour moi this year. Work prevents me from joining all the other Parisiens leaving the city in droves for their five-weeks-holiday every year, but, honestly, I don't mind. The streets are already calm, the metro is quiet and there are no queues at my local boulangerie for our 5pm baguette.
Contrary to the eerie mass exodus that happens every été, the city and a handful of its arrondissements have organised a slew of events to keep us and our fellow Juillettistes and Aoûtiens, that have chosen to spend our summer amongst the sandstone Haussmans as opposed to sandcastles, content. The following are just a couple of those that I'm most looking forward to enjoying during my Parisian 'stay-cation'.

City Beach
Image source
Love it or think it's gross, the Paris Plage is probably the most popular and celebrated of all the summer offerings. The 5000 tons of sand shipped in to create the yearly pop-up beach just satiates the regular yearnings I get for a trip to the seaside, which being a two hour drive away from Paris is a far cry from the 15 minute trip I was blessed with growing up. It's also the only place I feel comfortable stripping down to a cossie in the middle of the city to lie in the sun for a significant amount of time without feeling all weird and self-concious.
Paris Plage
Voie Georges Pompidou (M° Sully-Morand to M° Louvre-Rivoli) + La Villette (M° Stalingrad to rue de Crimée)
Open everyday 9am - midnight
July 20 - August 18
Free access
More info.

Films under the stars
Image source
Open air cinemas are just magic. There's nothing like being completely absorbed in a film that's being projected on a screen the size of  house while a light breeze washes over the heads of everyone around you. Combine the fact that this open air cinema is free and you can take your own food and bev to picnic and you have yourself a winning combination.
A very eclectic line up has been chosen for the program this year; amongst French, German, Finnish and Iranian films are 'Where the Wild Things Are' (25/07), 'Be kind, Rewind' (27/07), 'The Dirty Dozen' (28/07), 'The Social Network' (10/08), 'A Prairie Home Companion' (21/08), 'Tetro' (23/08), 'Taking Woodstock' (24/08).
Cinéma en plein air
Prairie du triangle, Parc de la Villette
Films commence at nightfall
July 24 - August 28
Free access. Deck chair hire; single: 7€, x5 ticket: 20€, Carte Villette (18€) holders: free
Full program:

Free train travel
Image source
For a while now the Île-de-France region has been de-zoned for Navigo holders on weekends, meaning those with the metro transport pass can travel throughout all the 5 zones of the region on Saturday and Sunday despite only having subscribed for zones 1 & 2, ie Paris proper. However, for a trial period of just over one month during the summer, the Stif and Ratp have extended this service to include weekdays also so those with a Navigo can travel fare-free from Paris to Versailles, Fountainbleu, St Germain-en-Laye and the two airports, which will no doubt please the vacationers. St Germain en Laye is one of my favourite day trips from the city, and after a couple of recent meet ups with Melanie in the city, who actually lives in Versailles, I have no excuse to return the favour and go visit her in her town. If only the Transilien lines went as far as the coast! 
Dézonage du Pass Navigo for the summer
July 13 - August 18
Free for Navigo holders. Navigo subscription, one month: 65€10, one week: 19€80

Canal boat rides for 1€
Image source
The canal north of Stalingrad is uncharted territory for me, I hardly go there despite all the fun things I hear that comes out of this watered part of the city. To change that and get more acquainted with the area I'm keen hop on one of my favourite modes of transport of all time - a boat! The local council of Seine-Saint-Denis are charging 1€ on Saturdays and 2€ on Sundays for their shuttle boat service along the canal from the Bassin de la Villette, behind Stalingrad, to Bobigny just outside of the city.  Lasting for one hour, the ride would the perfect way to cool down in the afternoon, especially as next week temperatures are reported to nudge close to 40°C! Ouf!! They've listed here all there is to see and eat along the way for you to make the most of the nautical jaunt, and should you wish to go even a little further there's a second 1€ shuttle boat that will take to you to the guinguette Chat qui Pêche at Aulnay/Pavillons-sous-Bois for some lunch. 
Les navettes de l'Ourcq
Bassin de La Villette - Paris/ Parc de La Villette/ Pantin/ Bobigny
From 12 noon then on the half hour from 12h30 until 19h (Paris) and 20h (Bobigny)
June 29 - August 25
Saturdays: 1€, Sundays: 2€
Further info

Fun Fair
I have to hand it to the French, when they do a fair, they do it well. Again this year the La fête foraine du Jardin des Tuileries have been set up in the centre of the city, changing the skyline of the city's most famous stretch of landmarks with its ferris wheel and that tall chair thing that goes around really fast - I don't know what it's called, but it's my favourite. Even if rides aren't your thing there's various games-of-skill caravans and outlets selling barbe à papa ('fairy floss', but it literally translates to 'Dad's beard' - isn't that neat?!) and churros for your tummy to take part in the fun fair, too.

La fête foraine du Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries gardens, Rivoli side
Sun - Thurs: 11h - 23h45, Fri + Sat: 11h - 0h45
June 24 - August 21
Free entry, rides various prices

And, to provide the soundtrack for the next two months, here's a little rock and roll...



  1. I also grew up fifteen minutes from the beach but we did just make the two hour trip from Paris to the beach. It was so worth it. Now I'm not sure if Paris Plages will seem the same. Enjoy some quiet time in Paris!

    1. Thank you, Nicola! You and your family, also! Your trip to Deauville looked gorgeous! So lucky is was not yet crowded. We are heading to Etretat next week for two days, I'm hoping it's not swarmed! Enjoy your summer!! xx

  2. I adore this post! I just put the link in my latest post. Such good information. I wish the days were longer (and I wasn't doing my thesis) so I could enjoy all of this! xx

    1. Thanks lovely!! It's handy having it all in the one place, and reminds me not to miss out on any of it! Any of these would be a great thesis-break, should you need it!!
      Bisous! xx

  3. Oh wow quelle belle collection de toutes ces choses de vacances .. C'est vraiment si bon ou tous étaient sont utiles pour les vacances ... Merci pour le post ..!