Paris in the Springtime: What to Do and Where to Stay
As the song goes, "I love Paris in the springtime." Of course, Fitzgerald goes on to claim that she loves Paris in every season, and the romantic City of Light is certainly lovely all year long. But it can be argued that the French capital never shines quite so brightly as it does in the spring. When the city is in full bloom, its iconic cafes, parks, and bustling avenues come to life after a winter indoors. To be fair, living "la vie en rose" comes with a steep price tag at this time of year. but for a once in a lifetime getaway, you can't miss this iconic springtime experience. We've collected some of our favorite things to do in Paris in the spring, and have added some brand new hotels to the site that are perfect for your seasonal stay.
1. Explore a city in bloom.
Springtime is synonymous with blossoming flowers, and there are few cities that capture such vibrancy of color as Paris does after months of cold, grey winter days. The city's famed gardens -- Tuileries and Luxembourg being among the most popular -- burst to life with daffodils, lavender, and paulownia plants and trees. The gorgeous colors and delicious fragrances are entrancing, and they make for gorgeous photos ops.
Stay: Hotel de l'Abbaye Saint-Germain
A cozy and luxurious oasis in the center of the Saint Germain quarter -- and just a short walk from the Luxembourg Gardens -- this boutique hotel is praised for its stylish decor and tranquil garden where guests can enjoy breakfast.
2. Taste a lighter Parisian cuisine.
French chefs take seasonal menus very seriously. Winter fare is a delicious -- but heavy -- assortment of cream sauces, foie gras, and a repetitive vegetable melange. But in the spring, menus reawaken with lighter fare comprised of the country's freshest produce. Melons, cherries, peas, tomatoes, peaches, and plums are just some of the offerings on parade. Oysters -- a perennial favorite throughout all of France -- can be found everywhere and are in their prime season through the end of April.
Stay: Hotel Fouquet's Barriere
Located on the Champs Élysées, the Fouquet's Barrière is one of the most famous and exclusive luxury hotels in Paris. The hotel's extensive features include a Michelin-starred restaurant where you can sample of some of Paris' finest fare.
3. Soak up the cafe culture.
Paris is known for its cafes. Some of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th century waxed poetic from these open-air establishments. They are places not just for food and drink, but convivial debates among friends. Wiling away an entire afternoon in the sun with a bottle of wine and a close group of friends is basically the Parisian ideal (and was Hemingway's, as well).
Stay: K+K Hotel Cayre
This upscale and contemporary hotel is situated just off of the Boulevard Saint Germain, within walking distance of cafes, luxury shops, and popular attractions such as the Louvre. The 125 rooms are sophisticated and have thoughtful extras such as coffeemakers and heated bathroom floors.
4. Spend a day on the Seine.
There's nothing more romantic than strolling alongside the Seine in the springtime. Whether you're sharing a kiss atop one of the city's many bridges, or exploring Paris by boat, being near the water is essential at this time of year. The cobbled streets around the Seine are similarly picturesque, with hidden gardens and courtyards waiting to be discovered.
Stay: Hotel du Champ de Mars
This charming, budget-friendly boutique hotel is situated in the 7th arrondissement, just off of the cobblestoned, cafe-lined Rue Cler and a 10-minute walk from both the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. The 25 rooms are on the small side, but tastefully decorated in a traditional Parisian country-style decor.
5. Become a flaneur.
The French refer to one who ambles about town as a flaneur. During the spring's fine weather, you see countless of these individuals prowling the streets of the city. Strolling down Paris' wide, Hausmanized avenues or discovering its older, narrow streets is something every visitor should do. Leave the metro (though, as more people choose to enjoy the warmer weather, you'll find they are blissfully uncrowded) and stretch your legs.
Stay: La Maison Favart
This upscale, 30-room boutique hotel is one of the best choices in Paris, and offers surprisingly competitive rates for the level of luxury. It is named for the founder of the Opera Comique across the street, and the decor blends influences of the 18th century theater with modern trends. Popular sights such as the Louvre are within walking distance.
6. Escape for a day out of town.
Paris in the springtime is lovely, but the immediate countryside surrounding the French capital is just as enchanting. Plan a day to Versailles or Monet's gardens at Giverny and bask in the sunshine at these storied spots. After a day out of Paris, you'll be sure to fall in love with it all over again upon your return.
Stay: Hotel Pas de Calais
This attractive mid-range boutique hotel with just 38 rooms is less than 50 meters from the Boulevard Saint Germain and within walking distance of Notre Dame Cathedral. You won't want to leave it behind for long, but the hotel is happy to help coordinate day trips from the city.
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