It rains regularly in the French capital, so it’s just as well the city can entertain whatever the weather.
One of the things that makes Paris such a fabulous city to visit is the fact that it is just as beautiful and interesting in the rain as it is in the sunshine. When you book your trip to Paris, you cannot be completely certain that you will avoid rain so it’s best to go armed with a few ideas about what to do should the weather turn out to be bad.
Much of the pleasure of Paris comes from experiencing the streets and generally taking your trip outdoors. When it rains, this can actually be just as good as when it is sunny. You just have to make sure you have an umbrella, some good shoes and a coat in your suitcase.
Walking around Paris in the rain is a delight, especially if you stroll on the Rive Gauche looking down upon the Seine with the city skyline ahead of you and the Parisian streets surrounding you. You can take regular pit stops at cafes and bars to stay warm.
However, you may be more interested in getting inside for longer periods at a time, in which case you need to find the best museums and galleries. Everyone knows about the Pompidou Centre, the Pantheon, the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay and the tourists fill these places in the rain, so it’s wise to seek out some lesser known gems.
For art, there is the Maison Européenne de la Photographie which regularly hosts three thoughtful and interesting exhibitions at a time. There is also the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – two quiet galleries next to one another that provide a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the others.
For history, there are three more wonderful places to go, starting with the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle situated next to the lovely Jardins des Plantes. This is a stunning example of a natural history museum with loads to see. It is also very family friendly.
The Musée Carnavalet in the Marais is a fantastic museum full of character. It presents a history of Paris, which is a lovely touch when you are getting to know the city better.
Finally there is the Musée des Arts et Métiers. This museum is best visited late on when it is really quiet and it would take hours to see everything it has to offer. The museum is full of the wonders of science, industry and technology and it’s a must-see for those who are interested in such things.
Add these destinations to some of the more famous galleries and museums and you’ll have a great time in Paris whatever the weather.
Eustace Brent took a Paris shuttle to all sorts of destinations in the French capital last autumn to find the best places to spend rainy days.