What to do in Paris this summer
Based on Time Out’s list of the 50 best
Eating & Drinking
Sup wild oysters at Le Mary Céleste
The international team behind wildly popular taqueria Candelaria and rock’n’roll dive Glass have done it again with Le Mary Céleste. During happy hour (and in season) you can get wild oysters for as little as €1 apiece – the rest of the year, it’s ceviche and an intriguing menu of small Asian-influenced dishes, plus natural wines, Brooklyn beers, superior cocktails and a whole lot of buzz.
Say yes to a night with Joséphine
Opened at the beginning of this year, Joséphine sashayed its way into the lead of the bars around the grungy nearby Rue Oberkampf. A glamorous speakeasy-style den of sophisticated cocktails, wines and rare whiskies, its look is supposedly inspired by titillating 1920s dance hall star Joséphine Baker, and the work of 1940s American tattoo artists. A glass panel reveals the well-stocked wine cellar beneath the dance floor, and there’s even a fumoir – the indoor rooms that are a loophole in the smoking ban.
(Finally) drink good coffee
Anyone subjected to a gritty shot of Cafés Richard with their morning croissant will understand why coffee in Paris has a bad rep, but the scent of freshly-ground beans is finally on the air. A slew of hip roast-savvy cafés have started to cater to people passionate about their brew – both experts from abroad and Parisian converts to the cult of quality caffeine. Try a weekend tasting session at Café Aouba in the Marché d’Aligre, a Portuguese espresso with a creamy pata de neis at Comme à Lisbonne in the Marais, or a cup from a steampunk-look ’60s ‘coffee siphon’ at Le Coutume Café.
Art & Culture
Drive on in to Cinema Paradiso
Break out your soda pop and prepare to snuggle: it’s the biggest drive-in cinema ever in a capital city. OK, so the 1,000 film fans who can fit into each screening at the glass-roofed Grand Palais will be seated in pre-parked Fiat 500s, but who wants to drive in Paris? With roller discos, food stalls, games arcade, a concept store and a brief to expand worldwide, this is going to be huge.
Go all Gatsby at Le Louxor
Opened in 1921 and once a temple of silent cinema, the Egyptian art deco Louxor fell on hard times after WW2 and became a drug den, ’80s club and gay disco before being left abandoned for 25 years. It re-opened triumphantly as a cinema in April 2013, with a new brief to promote cultural, artistic and educational projects. At the very least, admire the fabulous architecture from the third floor bar.
Pirouette at Les Etés de la Danse
Every year, the sumptuous central concert hall Théâtre du Châtelet brings a major dance company from overseas to Paris. Most theatres in Paris take a break over the summer, so it’s one of July’s few opportunities to see classical ballet. This year’s showcase: the Vienna National Ballet doing Don Quixote, and a special tribute to Rudolf Nureyev.
Music & Nightlife
Hear al fresco jazz
With its jazz age legacy from the Années Folles, jazz has a seriously strong profile in Paris, and the summer offers unique opportunities to enjoy it in stunning outdoor venues. Ibrahim Maalouf and Salif Keita play the free, open air La Défense Festival, while at the Paris Jazz Festival in the beautiful Parc Floral, 31 concerts are spread across eight weekends. In September, Bryan Ferry, Jamie Cullum and more are in the line-up for Jazz à La Villette.
Give in to Wanderlust
The place to be for Parisian fashionistas, the vast Seine-side club at quay level in the Cité de la Mode et du Design celebrates its second summer this year, delivering more of the cream of minimal techno, house and electro. Entry is free, but Wanderlust is also much more than just a club: look out for their programme of film screenings, gigs, fashion shows, yoga and weekend mini-festivals with pop-up food and shopping ventures. Elsewhere on the site, head up to the roof to check out spanking new and super hot terrace and club Nüba.
Things to Do
Be a beach bum at Paris Plages
If there’s one event that sums up Paris in the summer, this is it. Back in 2002, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë began the tradition of lining the banks of the Seine with sand, deckchairs, food stalls and volleyball nets, creating a series of city beaches for those stuck in town during the long hot months. Since 2007 the project has extended along the length of the canal in Bassin de la Villette, making an idyllic summer landscape of pétanque, boules, picnicking, sunbathing and watersports.
Unearth strange treasures at La Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Brilliantly bonkers, this elegant Marais gallery spread over two adjoining 17th century town houses is the anti-museum, full of muskets, stuffed polar bears and cabinets of (dry) animal poo. Different rooms are devoted to the owl, wolf, boar and stag, documenting the history of hunting and man’s larger relationship with the natural world.
Float away in Le Ballon de Paris
The Parc André Citroën is a fun, postmodern version of a French formal garden, designed by Gilles Clément and Alain Prévost. It’s got glasshouses, computerised fountains, waterfalls, a wilderness and themed gardens featuring different coloured plants and even sounds. The cherry on top is the tethered Ballon de Paris, which takes up 50 people a time for panoramic views over the city, while doubling as pollution monitoring station that changes colour from green to orange to blue depending on the air quality.
Be swept away by La Musée de la Vie Romantique
When Dutch artist Ary Scheffer built this small villa in 1830, the area teemed with composers, writers and artists. Novelist George Sand was a guest at Scheffer’s soirées, along with great names such as Chopin and Liszt. The museum is devoted to Sand, plus Scheffer’s paintings and other mementoes of the Romantic era. Newly renovated in 2013, the museum’s tree-lined courtyard café and greenhouse are the perfect summer secret garden.
See Love Happens blog Luxury Shopping Guide to Paris here.