What to Do in Paris on Rainy Days ? Our 19 Favorite Activities

It is best to visit Paris when skies are blue to discover all the treasures scattered throughout the capital. Since the weather is a risk that we all know about, Parisians have plenty of ideas available to avoid letting an unfortunate shower get them down. Here are several options to turn these rainy days into happy and enriching experiences!

eiffel tower rain
It’s raining in Paris… Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

 

Visit The Tropical Aquarium of Porte Dorée

Aquarium Tropical
Credits: ©Allan Watt

Did the Quai Branly Museum give you a taste for the exotic? If so, you can continue your day with a visit to the tropical aquarium Porte Dorée.

It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and you can get there by Metro (line 8, Portée Dorée station), by bus (line 46), and by tram (line T3a).

Built in 1931, this aquarium puts on display and heightens awareness for flora and fauna from tropical waters. There are 5000 species waiting for you, and among them, crocodiles.

Who said that rainy days in Paris are boring?

 

Go check covered pathways

A covered pathway
Credits: ©Moonik

The covered pathways are just another part of Paris’ characteristic architecture.

Built in the 19th century, these galleries are, still today, a stylish place to wait for a shower to end. If you like art, artisanal creations, small shops, and antiques, you’ll definitely find a souvenir to bring back from your stay in Paris.

The oldest is the Passage des Panoramas at 11 Boulevard Montmartre (Metro stop Bourse on line 3 or Grands Boulevards on lines 8 and 9).

On this topicThe Top 7 of the Most Beautiful Parisian Covered Pathways

 

Visit the Quai Branly Museum

branly
Credits: ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

The idea that immediately comes to mind after seeing the first raindrops is to go see a temporary exhibit or the permanent collections in a museum.

However, the Louvre is swarmed, and as for the Grand Palais and the Musee d’Orsay, the lines to get in are getting longer and longer under the rain (unless you already have an express entry ticket).

So avoid the crowds and head to museums that you don’t think of as much, but are worth the visit. We recommend, in this category, the Quai Branly Museum by the Eiffel Tower.

This modern museum is dedicated to art from Africa and Oceania. It never ceases to spark the interest of the French as well as foreigners with its exhibits/events like Tattooers, tattooed or Beloved Hair.

 

Go To a Tea Salon

The Laduree tea salon
Credits: ©Laktatjakka

To warm yourself back up, you can obviously go have a coffee in a Parisian bistro.

But, if you want to immerse yourself in the décor of real institutions in the world of tea salons, we can only recommend going to Ladurée on the Champs Elysées. Exquisite pastries and the house special, the macaron, go marvelously well with some tea.

Are you a chocolate enthusiast? The 100-year-old shop, Angelina, is made for you.

Like Coco Chanel, treat yourself to the famous old-style hot chocolate, a subtle mix of three kinds of African cacao. There you’ll also find elaborate pastries like the Mont-Blanc, which, along with their hot chocolate, contributed to the shop’s fame.

Once you’ve been won over by the shop’s delicacies and charming décor, you can go around the shop and leave with a package of delicious cookies or even a small bottle of hot chocolate.

226 rue Rivoli, Metro stop Concorcorde (lines 1, 8, and 12).

 

Visit The Greenhouses of Jardin des Plantes

In the 5th arrondissement, you can also immerse yourself in a warm atmosphere while strolling through the greenhouses at Jardin des Plantes.

Travel step by step alongside plants that only grow in New Caledonia (and in these exceptional greenhouses) and go back in time to understand our flora’s evolution.

Metro stop Place Monge (line 7).

 

Visit Churches

Notre Dame de Paris

Update February 19, 2020: Due to it being rebuilt, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is currently closed to the public. You can still walk up to -and around- it in order to savor its resplendent architecture which still qualifies it as one of Paris’ iconic monuments.

Churches are architectural marvels, both on the inside and outside.

The rain is a good occasion to revisit these structures and, in the stillness, check out their windows and architecture.

Once you’ve visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, there is an underground activity right by you. In fact, you can head to the Crypt of Parvis Notre-Dame to learn more about the neighborhood’s architecture thanks to results from excavations that were completed before the cathedral’s renovation in the 1980s.

Metro stop Cité, line 4.

 

Go To the Palais de la Découverte’s Planetarium

Gray skies aren’t the end of the world if you go to the Palais de la Découverte’s Planetarium. Above your heads stands a dome 15 meters in diameter that immerses you in a starry sky.

Adults and children alike will be delighted by this activity that makes us dream beyond ourselves, and allows us to better understand the solar system.

Metro stop Champs-Elysées Clémenceau, lines 1 and 13.

 

Watch a Session of Paris Story

If you’d rather visit the big department stores of Boulevard Haussmann, you are right by a place that can teach you a lot about Paris.

Located between the Lindt and Nespresso shops is Paris Story. A one-hour film goes through the history of Paris, as well as several additional stories. It is shown every day with the first showing at 10 am and the last at 6 pm.

Metro station Opéra, lines 3, 7, and 8 as well as station Chaussée d’Antin, lines 7 and 9.

 

Go Shopping

Mall

Obviously, when it is raining, shopping is a popular choice.

The Parisian department stores being a must during your visit, we can recommend going to Le Bon Marché.

Missed by many tourists, Le Bon Marché is one of the oldest stores of its kind. It is mostly visited by Parisians and the atmosphere is a little different.

There you’ll find up-and-coming creators and exclusive cosmetic brands.

Taking the bridge from there, you’ll reach La Grande Epicerie, another building dedicated to gastronomy.

This specialty store brings together the best of what France has to offer and more.

You can even dine in and try some shellfish or cheese.

Metro station Sèvres-Babylone, lines 10 and 12.

 

Go Enjoy a Swimming Pool

Josephine Baker swimming pool
Credits : Dinkum / Wikimedia Commons under CC0

Would you rather sing in the shower rather than in the rain? The beautiful Parisian pools can also be a nice place to work out until the rain stops.

The Pool at Butte-aux-Cailles being listed as a historical monument, you’ll probably end up swimming on your back so you can admire its ceiling.

Metro station Corvisart, line 6.

If you dream of going on a boat tour along the Seine, you’ll definitely like the Josephine Baker Pool. Placed right along the Seine, the glass sides give the impression that you are directly swimming on the water’s current.

Metro station Quai de la Gare, line 6.

 

Get Immersed In an Escape Game

When it’s raining outside, the temptation can be strong to lock yourself up in a warm and comfy room.

Escape games could very much take your word value.

Literally locked up in a room, you are now playing as a secret agent, a prisoner, an airline staff member or anything else.

Your goal? Escaping before your time is up. Bring with you friends and family to help solve this puzzle.

Paris has a large number of escape games scattered all around the city. The Game has dozens of enigmatic sceneries to pick from whereas the mysterious box from La Boîte will plunge you into the dark with only your senses left to get out. Claustrophobic people better stay away.

 

Sit Down In a Café-Théâtre

“Café-théâtre” is a very French concept. With the first one created in 1966, in Paris, they offer the fun of a show associated with a full meal and/or a drink. “Café-théâtres”, as opposed to cabarets, are often a lot cheaper and aren’t held at a specified time.

From opening to closing time, various artists, magicians, singers, humorists come and go.

No matter what your preference is, going from the very classy Café Oscar (Facebook page in French), specialized in comedy, to the Double Fond, also known as the “café of magic”, there will always be a “café-théatre” for you to enjoy.

Don’t miss out on the renowned Chez Ma Cousine (website in French), in Montmartre, which celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2018.

 

Play With Kitties In a Neko Café

café des chats
© Café des Chats

While humans don’t like rain, they aren’t the only ones. Coming straight from Japan, neko cafés (from the Japanese “neko” that means “cat”) will have you enjoy a snack surrounded by friendly felines.

The concept is getting more and more popular in Europe and Paris couldn’t escape from it.

Come eat a tasty hamburger with a cat sleeping on your legs at Café des Chats (website in French).

Many breeds are also waiting for you at Chat Mallow (website in French).

 

Enjoy a Cinema Classic

One of the major activities to come to mind when it’s raining outside is probably cinema.

Why not go watch a French or international cinema classic at the Filmothèque du Quartier Latin?

If you are more interested in the atmosphere than in the movie, Paris also has some of the most gorgeous screening rooms you have ever seen.

Le Louxor (website in French) and its Youssef Chahine room inspired from Ancient Egypt, the more retro Studio 28 (website in French) or the very notorious Grand Rex with its projection room which seems to be out of the Opéra Garnier will amaze you.

 

Go Ice Skating

When winter comes, ice rinks seem to flourish like flowers, in Paris. From December to January, it will is impossible for you to miss the Patinoire du Grand Palais, the biggest temporary skating rink with its 3000m² of ice and stunning ceilings in the world.

For the rest of the year, you can head to the Patinoire Pailleron (website in French) in the 16th district.

 

Take Part In a Workshop

What if the bad weather was the occasion for you to learn something new?

Cooking or baking classes, knitting workshops or creation of bio cosmetics, Paris will never run out of things to teach you.

If there’s one thing France is well-known for, it’s its wines; why not try out wine tasting with Oeno Paris (website in French)? And if beer is more your thing, La Beer Fabrique (website in French) will have you create and taste your own draft beer in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

L’Atelier des Chefs (website in French) offers cooking workshops every day, for the young and the old. Les Ateliers d’Alinéor (website in French) will help you in your creation of costume jewellery.

 

Visit the Musée des Arts Forains

Musée des Arts Forains, Manèges, Jeux, Fête, Spectacle
Credits : Laika Ac under Creative Commons 2.0

Paris and its thousands of museums.

We all know about the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and, now, even about the Musée du Quai Branly.

But have you ever heard about the less known Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground Arts Museum)?

Located inside the Pavillons de Bercy, the museum exhibits circus and funfairs’ attractions dated from the 19th to the 20th century.

Unlike normal museums, the collection isn’t locked up behind windows and you are more than welcome to touch and even try out some of the oldest attractions.

 

Take the Leap In a Skydiving Simulator

If the weather isn’t good enough for a real parachute jump from a plane, why not try out the experience… on the ground!

Besides being a lot more affordable, economically speaking, skydiving simulators such as iFLY are open even for kids older than five.

All that is left for you to do is jump!

 

Fly Over Paris From the Ground

survol de Paris en réalité virtuelle

Skydiving is too much for you?

No worries!

FlyView Paris offers a more peaceful experience that will have you fly over Paris without even standing up from your chair.

Well-secured in a jet pack replica and virtual reality glasses on your eyes, extend your wings and take a brand new look on the French capital city.

 

Now you see that whether you appreciate art, gastronomy, sport, history, or shopping, the rain will not ruin your stay in Paris. On the other hand, you will be able to do some rather unique activities.

But if the real problem isn’t the weather but it’s because it’s Sunday and many places are closed, check our article on what to do in Paris on Sunday.

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