A breath of fresh air in Paris : how to make the most of the great outdoors

Feel the summer breeze on a bistro terrace, sunbathe on the banks of the Seine, wander the pathways of the Luxembourg garden... there are so many opportunities to slow down in Paris, whether planned or impulsive. Even in this busy city, it’s impossible not to relax and get close to nature with all its trees, grass and waterways.

We don’t necessarily think of Paris for its green spaces or canals. And yet – if you go for a stroll on the quays of the Canal de l'Ourq or the Canal Saint-Martin at the end of the day, you’ll be surprised by the festive atmosphere that reigns with its spontaneous gatherings. This is the place for a typically Parisian picnic with a red-and-white-checked tablecloth, a fresh Camembert and a fine vintage.

Buttes-Chaumont,Tuileries, Champs de Mars, Luxembourg...

You have to take time to explore Paris on foot – and everything from its large gardens to its secret squares, and from fountains to markets – to encounter the best of the capital’s outdoor lifestyle, and to live like a local. Jogging beside centuries-old trees, past lakes and between flowerbeds? It’s all possible here at all four corners of the city, from the Montsouris park in the south to Buttes-Chaumont in the north, passing the Tuileries, Champs de Mars and Luxembourg as you cross the center. You mustn’t overlook the two ‘lungs’ of Paris either: the eastern Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne to the west. Breathe and find peace in any of these lush, green environments.

Market browsing and boat trips

Less athletic visitors can opt for a simple walk, a boat ride or even a game of pétanque, an activity that irresistibly evokes long, sunny afternoons, and doesn’t only flourish in the south of France. In summer you can also stroll around the famous flea market in Saint-Ouen to pick up an Art-Déco ceiling lamp or a vintage chest-of-drawers. Feel like enjoying something cultured with friends? Festivals come thick and fast throughout the summer in Paris – soak up the atmosphere with an open-air concert or at an outdoor cinema. Let yourself go… because in Paris you can breathe.