Visiting Paris in June: How to Tap Its Early-Summer Magic

Last Updated on May 2, 2024

Sunset over the Seine River in Paris, on a June evening. Image credit: Joe de Souza/Creative Commons
Sunset over the Seine River in Paris, on a June evening. Image credit: Joe de Souza/Creative Commons

Thinking of visiting Paris in June? Good idea. Of all the summer months, this may just be the most pleasant. The temperatures generally remain on the mild side, and even though the occasional thunderstorm cuts picnics and strolls short, the muggy, overpowering heat of July and August isn’t usually present. Read on to learn how to fully bring out its early-summer charms.

The Upside: Enjoying the Long Days, Outdoors

The weather gets increasingly warmer in June, allowing visitors to spend much of their time outdoors. Music festivals and concerts fill the streets and parks, and are usually either cheap or entirely free. Denizens crowd sunny terraces to sip white wine (and increasingly, craft beers).

They stage impromptu picnics on the banks of the Seine and the Canal St Martin, and amble aimlessly on seemingly endless early summer evenings. They also flock to the shops in late June for summer soldes (sales) an event that will overjoy some and send others in the opposite direction. And for those who can afford courtside tickets, the French Open tennis matches at Roland-Garros are an undeniable seasonal highlight.

The Downsides: Crowds, Cost & Erratic Weather

June does have its drawbacks, too, and they’re similar to those of other months falling in high season. If you come at this time of year, you’ll be arriving in peak season: don’t expect hotel prices, air or train fares to be at their lowest. To lock in good deals, I strongly suggest you book well ahead. You can compare prices on flights and hotels at Expedia or Booking.com, and find deals on trains over at Rail Europe.

It will also be a *bit of a challenge* to avoid crowded conditions at exhibits, shops and popular museums. And while you can expect some sunny, clear days, Paris is a city that remains rainy year-round– so you’ll have to set aside any image you may have of spending all your time in the fresh air.

"Crowds

Nevertheless convinced this may be the time of year for you? If so, read on for my full tips on how to pack, things to see and do and, well, how to suck all the marrow out of this generally pleasant month in the capital– to paraphrase Thoreau. 

Weather Trends in June, & Some Packing Tips

Jardin des Plantes in Paris/Image by Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

In June, you can generally expect mild weather conditions. Those seeking a “just-right” balance between warm and cool will enjoy the averages during this time of year. In the early morning, temps can hover on the chilly side– you may even need to keep your scarf and long sleeves on.

As the afternoon progresses, the mercury tends to climb into the early to mid-70s (early 20s in C)– ideal for anyone who loathes sweltering heat but still hankers for a bit of warmth. Do be aware, though, that in the past few years, some very hot days have been recorded in Paris during the month of June– likely as a consequence of climate change.

The inevitable rain: As mentioned earlier, rain is a year-round fact in the French capital– and June is no exception. While summer storms aren’t usually as strong now as they are later in the season, they can still come on suddenly and violently.

It may be worth bringing a rain jacket with hood along on any longer stroll. If you’re like the locals, you’ll simply dress for sun and then take shelter under an awning, or inside a museum or cafe. You could even call it a charming escape.

Minimum Temperature: 14 degrees C/57 degrees F
Maximum Temperature: 23 degrees C/73.4  degrees F (do note that in recent years, even warmer max temps have been registered)
Average temp: 18.5 degrees C/65.3 degrees F
Average monthly precipitation: 56 mm/2.2 inches

What to Pack for a June trip to Paris?

Make sure to bring along waterproof clothing for the rainier and stormier days. This includes a good, light jacket and closed-toed, waterproof shoes: walking around the city with soggy shoes and/or socks is never desirable.

It’s also a good idea to pack a couple of long-sleeved shirts or blouses, and jeans, alongside lighter summer wear. Don’t neglect to bring along plenty of sunscreen, either: even on hazy days, it’s necessary to protect against insidious UV rays. And in France, sunscreen is preposterously expensive, so you may be better off stocking up at home.

June in Paris: Best Things to See & Do?

Luckily, you aren’t likely to be spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to do. There’s plenty on in June– more than enough to keep your calendar full with potential activities and outings. See a few of my suggestions below, and you can also consult this page at the tourist office for a full calendar of events, festivals and various happenings this year.

1. Enjoy a few good terraces, “à la parisienne”…

Paname Brewing company, a great new terrace in Paris' 19th arrondissement, is a local favorite. Paname Brewing Company/Official FB page
Paname Brewing company, a great new terrace in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, is a local favorite. Paname Brewing Company/Official FB page

What would Paris be without its cafe and bar terraces? They figure so predictably in paintings, photographs and films depicting the city for a reason: Parisians can’t seem to get enough of them. An enduring and important part of the local cultural fabric, terraces lie at the very heart of social life in many neighborhoods around the capital.

You can read my piece over at TripSavvy on some of the best rooftop terraces in the city, as well as this list of some of the capital’s enduringly charming sidewalk cafes.

In case you’re wondering, the chairs commonly face outward not only to save space on the sidewalk (although that’s often part of it): the tradition also relates to the habitude très parisienne (very Parisian habit) of people-watching while sipping a coffee, perrier with lemon, or summery blanche (white beer) on the terrace.

If you’re the object of what feels like brazen observation, there’s no need to feel awkward or put off: just look right back, perhaps lowering your sunglasses to make a point. The French generally know how to take what they dish out– at least in my experience.

A packed back-garden terrace at Cafe A in Paris. Image credit: Courtesy of Cafe A

A note for anyone irked by or sensitive to cigarette smoke, however: since France passed its anti-smoking law a few years ago, smokers have become pretty dominant out on many terraces, since they aren’t allowed to light up indoors.

Partly covered “semi-terraces” can be especially smoky and unpleasant– I can vouch for this. Choosing a larger terrace with more space should help.

2. Enjoy music in the open air

The Fete de la Musique brings all-night performances to Paris every June 21st. Nicolas Vigier/Public domain
The Fete de la Musique brings all-night performances to Paris every June 21st. Nicolas Vigier/Public domain

June is the beginning of music festival season in the capital, and anyone on a restricted budget will be overjoyed to know that free concerts and shows abound at this time of year. Take note of the following dates, and then go revel in everything from jazz to indie rock and hip-hop.

On June 21st, the Fete de la Musique (shown above) brings in the summer solstice on a festive note. This all-night music festival sees dozens of free concerts take over street corners, bars, river quays and enormous Parisian squares– all for free. There are a few big-name acts that draw crowds, but my preferred way of enjoying the event is simply roaming the streets at random, taking in a song or two from amateur performers before moving on to hear others.

See a guide to this year’s festivities and highlights here— and don’t hesitate to take full advantage of a Paris overtaken by joyful noise.

Jazz Concerts at the Parc Florale:
"Jazz

Next up, the end of June is an ideal time for jazz enjoyed in the open air, with concerts staged every year at the Parc Floral de Vincennes just east of Paris (and easily accessible by metro by taking line 1 to the Chateau de Vincennes). Tickets are reasonably priced, and this is a wonderful way to enjoy music, early-summer blooms and perhaps even a picnic complete with a bit of wine.

{The Best Spots for Picnics in Paris}

3. Celebrate Paris Pride

June is also LGBT Pride Month, and every year a massive, 500,000-people strong parade and march turns the streets into a joyous, music-filled celebration of diversity.

In 2024, Paris Gay Pride/LGBT Marché des Fiertés falls on Saturday June 29th. Find full information on the event and others in June at my full guide. 

4. Get ye out of the city limits

Monet's gardens at Giverny: an ideal spot for a quick jaunt outside the city, or even an overnight stay.
Monet’s gardens at Giverny: an ideal spot for a quick jaunt outside the city, or even an overnight stay. Image credit: David McFadden/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.

I’ve given this advice in many places on this site, including in my complete guide to visiting Paris in the spring months— but it’s worth repeating. Especially given the crowds that you’ll have to contend with at this time of the year, getting out of the city for some fresh air and a bit of space will likely feel essential.

You might go frolic around the extensive, lush gardens at Versailles or the quietly poetic Japanese gardens at Giverny, Claude Monet’s chosen haven.

Or you may opt for a day-long trip over to Provins, one of the prettiest and best-preserved fortified medieval towns in France, much less the region.

Book skip-the-line tickets to Versailles (via Tiqets.com)

Or– as I will always heartily recommend on a sunny day– take a long, lazy river cruise on the Marne River, sipping a glass of champagne or rosé and perhaps stopping for a picnic on the lush, green banks of the river. The whole area was painted countless times by the likes of Cézanne, Pissarro, Sisley, Manet, Monet and even Van Gogh.

Related: Are Seine River Cruises Really Worth the Money? 

Traditional guinguettes (riverside cafes) were 19th-century centers for music and socializing, and a few remain today as quaint getaways from modern life. There’s little more idyllic in the early summer than climbing aboard and spending a few hours drifting down the wild riverways, where many bird species still thrive. Far from the urban blight? You bet.

5. Soak in a Little Pre-Summer Olympics Vibes in Paris

The 2024 Summer Olympics will be hosted in Paris— the first time in 100 years that the capital has done so (the last games were in 1924!). Millions of visitors are expected to throng on the capital in July for the Opening Ceremonies on July 26th, and in the lead-up to the big events, the city is likely to take on an increasingly festive atmosphere.

tourists should be prepared for some different conditions in Paris during the 2024 Olympic Games. Image: representation of the Opening Ceremonies as planned along the seine/Paris Tourist Office

In June, things are still a bit low-key, but here are a few events and activities to consider if you’re in town this year and want to soak in a bit of Pre-games ambience:

Nuit Blanche 2024 (a Free Art Event)

This all-night event featuring free outdoor and indoor exhibitions will take place on June 1st, 2024 and have a focus on sports themes and art/artists from the French overseas territories, such as Martinique and the Reunion Islands. Many outdoor art installations and performances take over the city, and several museums open their doors for free late into the night .

For more information on Nuit Blanche in 2024, see this page.

New Olympic disciplines spotlighted at “Spot 24”

Through late July, visitors can enjoy a vast exhibition space dedicated to the Olympics called “Spot 24”, highlighting “six new Olympic disciplines that will be represented at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games”, according to the website Paris Je t’aime.

BMX freestyle, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, 3×3 basketball and breaking are the new competitive spots that are spotlighted in the exhibit, which also explores their ties to urban culture.

For more info and tickets (children under 10 and visitors with disabilities get free entry), visit this page.

  • Address: Paris Visitor Centre/Tourist Office near Eiffel Tower – 101 quai Jacques Chirac, 75015 Paris (15th arrondissement)
  • Metro: Bir-Hakeim (Line 6)

6. Art & culture: Exhibits & shows to beeline to in June 2024 (UPDATES COMING SOON)

There are plenty of exciting shows on this year, as museums and galleries re-open to the public after months of lockdown. See this page for a fuller list of exhibitions and shows on in June and later this summer, and check out my recommendations below.

“The Pharaohs of Egypt ” at the Atelier des Lumières

The Pharaohs of Egypt show at the Atelier des Lumieres in Paris/Image by © Culturespaces / C. de la Motte Rouge
© Culturespaces / C. de la Motte Rouge

Many predicted the concept would rapidly lose steam, or be deemed hokey and passé after a first flush of enthusiasm among audiences. Yet the Atelier des Lumières and its immersive, all-digital, multisensory shows are still going strong, with a much-awaited show on the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt running through early 2025. Architecture, art, music and history come together to create an experience that’s become a hit with visitors, who show no signs of declining enthusiasm for these shows.

They’re also showing a new multimedia exhibit called “Orientalism” that explores the eponymous movement in French painting, and highlights the work, practices and legacies of the artists Ingres, Renoir and Delacroix.

Orientalism show at the Atelier des Lumieres, Paris/© Culturespaces / C. de la Motte Rouge

To avoid disappointment, book tickets as soon as you can for both these shows: tickets are selling out quickly.

When: Through January 5th, 2025 (Book tickets here) or buy timed entrance tickets here (via Tiqets).

Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism (at the Musée d’Orsay)

The Musée d’Orsay, which harbors one of the most important collections of Impressionist and “postimpressionist” works in the world, is celebrating the iconoclasts who invented its then-bold and countercultural techniques through a 150th-anniversary retrospective. 

As the museum puts it on their website: 

50 years ago, on April 15, 1874, the first impressionist exhibition opened in Paris. “Hungry for independence”, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley and Cézanne finally decided to free themselves from the rules by holding their own exhibition, outside official channels: impressionism was born. To celebrate this anniversary, Musée d’Orsay is presenting some 130 works and bringing a fresh eye to bear on this key date, regarded as the day that launched the avant-gardes.

The Orsay event, which is expected to attract large crowds (beware and book early!) will place works that were first shown in the 1874 “rebel exhibit” alongside those of the traditionalist, official Salon in Paris that same year.

This should allow visitors to get a sense of what it might have been like to encounter groundbreaking paintings, sculptures, drawings and other works from the likes of Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Paul Cézanne with fresh eyes. 

“The World as it Is” (at the Bourse de Commerce)

© Luc Tuymans Studio / David Zwirner — Luc Tuymans, Eternity, 2021.

The Bourse de Commerce (home of the Pinault Collection) is currently hosting a sprawling, ambitious show whose key theme is how some of the globe’s most talented artists view, and interpret, the contemporary world and its events.

{Related: The Best Small Museums in Paris}

Showing some 10,000 paintings, photographs and other works from the Pinault Collection’s vast vaults, the exhibit is a definite must-see this spring and summer for contemporary art fans.

A massive installation in the museum’s central rotunda from the artist Kismsooja greets visitors as theyt enter the space, creating mesmerizing reflections meant to literally make visitors part of the artwork. In the main exhibition rooms, meanwhile, you can expect major works from the likes of Jeff Koons, ˜Cindy Sherman, Doris Salcedo, Damien Hirst and many other contemporary art heavyweights.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

That’s great news. If you do take the plunge, don’t forget travel insurance. It can offer the peace of mind of knowing that in case of an accident or illness, you’ll be covered while roaming abroad.

You can generate an instant quote for travel insurance and compare policies at World Nomads.

Like This? Pin & Share

June in Paris can be marvelous, but also stressful. Here's what to see and do. Pinterest image by Paris Unlocked

*Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links. If you book products or services though by clicking on these it comes at no cost to you, but will help to fund more free, in-depth articles and travel tips here at Paris Unlocked. Many thanks.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Browse