I have 2 favorite months for visiting Paris: April and October. And while I have been to Paris n every month (and over 50 trips in total) I have been to Paris the most during these 2 months. April in Paris is magical. The weather is generally good, if the various months were bears in Goldilocks and the
Three 12 Bears, April would be the baby bear that is “just right” existing between it being too cold and too hot!
When the musical goddess Ella Fitzgerald sings about April in Paris, every traveler’s heart sings, at least the ones that are familiar with Paris!
I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace
Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise
I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace
Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart
– Lyrics by Count Basie
Paris holds a beauty that captures the imagination every day of the year, but April adds something magical to it. April brings misty mornings eclipsed by sunny afternoons, swelling birdsong, and the scent of freshly blooming flowers to the City of Light.
Here are just a few reasons to visit Paris in April.
This post is being published in April 2020 at which time no one is traveling to Paris (at least not tourists!) but people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for travel towards the end of 2021, so April 2022 IS possible!
On this page
Why should you visit Paris in April?
- The Affordability. Have you ever heard the expression “shoulder season?” Well, April in Paris is it! April marks the early beginnings of the tourist season. Hotel prices are cheaper than stays during the peak tourist season between July and September.
- The Crowds. Paris is the second most visited country in all of Europe. Peak tourist seasons of July to September see crowds of thousands of tourists swarm Paris. In April, the crowds are much smaller. Any attractions you visit won’t have mile-long lines or crowds of people blocking the view, these troubles mainly plague the high season of the summer. If Easter falls in April, you may even have fewer Parisians in town although you will still have other European tourists.
- The Locals. When visiting Paris outside of peak tourism season, you’ll experience it as the locals do. In fact, you may get to know some locals, since many stay in Paris until peak tourist season when Parisians head for the country to avoid the crowd.
- The Weather. Paris in the summer sees warm weather in the near-eighties with seventy percent humidity. Comparatively, April holds a steady sixty-degree temperature with the lowest humidity of the year, at around fifty percent. While cool rain may fall periodically, the weather remains fairly mild during April as Paris warms up from the winter.
- The Scenery. Warmer spring temperatures mean beautiful foliage and blossoming flowers in Paris’ boulevards and parks. Cherry blossoms, apple trees, peonies, and tulips burst to life in a vibrant display of colors. These gorgeous spring buds begin to fade in May and April is the prime viewing time for the gorgeous scenery.
What can you do in Paris in April?
There are thousands of things to do in Paris every day of the year. The benefit of visiting Paris in Spring? You get to enjoy the indoor offerings while still having beautiful weather to enjoy the outdoors as well! When visiting Paris, consider picking destinations and attractions that fit a variety of interests because, as previously mentioned, there truly are tons of things to do in the city!
Visit some of the many parks and gardens
The parks and gardens of Paris never disappoint. In April, there are no hordes of tourists cramming through the trails and paths of the gardens. You can enjoy strolling beneath the linden trees and cherry blossoms without feeling rushed in one of Paris’ many parks or gardens.
- Jardin des Tuileries. When visiting Paris, one must stop at the Jardin de Tuileries to truly understand the French royalty’s love of gardens. These beautiful paths, mingled with fountains and ponds, were originally built by Queen Catherine d’Medici in the 16th century. Walk among gorgeous arrays of flowers and trees and enjoy the works of Monet in the Musée de l’Orangerie during your time in this historic oasis. I’ve written an entire guide to this park.
- Parc de la Villette. Young by Parisian standards, the Parc de la Villette in the 19th Arrondissement boasts a unique modern design by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. Take a guided tour or wander this unique garden alone, enjoying the Garden of Mirrors, the Garden of Mists, or the Garden of Acrobatics. For lunch, swing by the burger bar and continue on your exploring.
- Jardin des Plantes. The Jardin des Plantes in the 5th Arrondissement opened to the public in 1640. This once-royal garden hosts a small zoo and over 10,000 plant species. There’s even an abandoned lab in the garden that was home to the discovery of radioactivity in 1896!
- Jardin du Luxembourg. This garden in the 6th Arrondissement was created in 1612 when Marie de’ Medici constructed a new residence the Luxembourg Palace, which ultimately became the location for the French Senate. It is near the Latin Quarter and is one of the most popular and beautiful gardens in Paris.
- A wonderful thing to do in any Parisian park is to have a picnic! Here are 9 spots to choose from.
La Promenade Plantée
Spring is the perfect time to visit la Promenade plantée (also known as Coulée verte René-Dumont) raised railroad track (which was in disrepair until it was converted to this walkway in 1993) with flowers galore! Get a fantastic view of the city as you stroll along this 2.7 mile/4.5km elevated walkway with tons of green space. Located in the 12th arrondissement and you can find it along Avenue Daumesnil very close to the Bastille metro.
Enjoy the Cafés
Nothing screams Parisian breakfast more than café crème and a croissant. Of course, cafés are open all year round, but April is the first month you can sit outside on the terrace (or sidewalk) without freezing or sitting under a heat lamp! Eat like a local and find a small corner café to sip espresso and read Le Parisien paper, or discover one of the popular breakfast restaurants like the organic offerings at Chambelland or enjoy the fine offerings at Blé Sucré. Check out my guides if you aren’t sure how to order your coffee in Paris or what to eat for breakfast.
The Paris Marathon is one of the largest in the world with as many 65,000 runners from all over the world taking part in this race that weaves through the city of Paris. It starts at the Arc de Triomphe and finishes at Avenue Foch in the 16th Arrondissement. If you are visiting Paris in April you should be aware of what day the marathon falls on because it can impact your ability to get around some of the major city streets.
April Showers…things to do in Paris if it rains
- Art Paris Art Show: Taking place at the Grand Palais in the 8th Arrondissement, this annual event features contemporary art with new artists exhibited every year.
- Foire du Trone: Also known as “Fun Fair” this is basically a carnival that dates back to 857 and takes place in the Bois de Vincennes in the 12th Arrondissement.
- Paris Color Run: (Depending on the year, sometimes this event happens in March in Paris.) Paris takes part in this world event, for every kilometer of the race there is a “color” zone where volunteers throw 100% natural corn starch-based colored powder. Participants try to cross as many color zones as possible before hitting the finish line.
- Foire de Paris starts in April (and runs through May). This show features household goods – like a kitchen home show that takes place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in the 15th Arrondissement.
- PAD Paris Art and Design Fair is an event dedicated to modern and contemporary furniture and design. It takes place in the Jardin des Tuileries facing 234 rue de Rivoliand opposite rue de Castiglione (where the Westin is) in the 1st Arrondissement.
- International Rare Book & Autograph Fair takes place in the Grand Palais in the 8th Arrondissement.
Culinary Delights of April in Paris
Oh, you know me. This is always my favorite part! No trip to Paris is complete without a deep exploration of all the eats. You should definitely try the classics, but don’t forget the season as well!
- French Cuisine Festival (Gout de France): Depending on the year, this can also take place in March. A food festival that celebrates traditional French dishes served in the “old” way as well as transformations. There are food booths, trucks and markets, demonstrations and workshops, and meet-and-greets with chefs. It’s a great way to see food from all across the country.
- Rhum Fest Paris: I learned about this one while watching a detective series on TV, it is an event dedicated to rum and takes place in the Bois de Vincennes in the 12th Arrondissement.
- Le Food Market: Held 1 Thursday each month, this mini street food festival showcases cuisine from around the world. The market takes place at 23 rue Boyer in the 20th Arrondissement.
- Sugar Paris: A food festival for those with a sweet tooth! This event dedicated to sucre takes place at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles in the 15th Arrondissement.
What to eat in Paris in April
Many restaurants offer season menus so it is always good to know what is actually in season! Paris has many tastes to experience, but during the spring there are some seasonal specialties. If you visit the marchés (farmer’s market) you will see many of these items listed below.
- Fruits in season: apricots, cherries (cerises) grapefruit (pamplemousse), blackberries (mûres), lemons (citron), apples, pears, and some species of strawberries (La Ciflorette, Cléry, Darselect, and Gariguette).
- Vegetables in season: You’ll also find avocados, carrots, radishes (radis), endives, morille mushrooms, fennel (fenouil), Fava beans (haricots de Fava or fève), spinach (épinard), garlic (ail), onions, leeks (poireau), red and green cabbage (chou rouge and chou vert), cauliflower (chou fleur), chard (blette), sorrel (oseille), rhubarb, lettuce, asparagus, zuchinni, dandelions (pissenlit), peas, artichokes (artichaut), frisée (a Mr. Misadventure favorite), mâche (my favorite).
- Herbs in season so they will show up on your plate in restaurants and be widely available in markets for making meals if you are renting an apartment or condo: chervil is also known as French parsley (cerfeuil), watercress (cresson) which is fantastic in soup too, and parsley (persil).
- Seafood is in season: halibut (flétan), crab (tourteau) and turbot.
- Did you know that there are seasonal cheeses (fromages)? It’s true! Spring is the best season for cheese! Especially cheeses from any mountainous region like Banon (goat’s milk), Boulette, Cabecou, Crottin de Chavignol, Epoisses, Fontina, Livarot, Maroilles, Roquefort, Saint-Marcellin, and Saint-Pierre. April through May is spring goat cheese (chèvre). Also good in April are: Cerney, Sainte Maure, Valencay, Selles Sur Cher, Beaufort, Mimolette, Morbier, Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie de Meaux, and Brie de Melun.
- In the restaurants (tips for dining in Paris here), spring means lighter dishes. With all the lettuces in season, you will season wonderful salades (including salade niçoise and salades with chèvre) and other dishes that are bright with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Lamb appears on the menu as well and if you can find it spring sardines are delightful! Lots of spinach quiches and souffles. More spring vegetables appear in Estouffade Printanière vegetable stew. On the dessert menu will be the usual tarts and fruit sorbets, but you will also see cherry clafouti.
Save on food costs by visiting the local markets and shops.
Paris restaurants can be expensive, and while it’s worth splurging on one good meal, you don’t want to blow your entire travel budget just on food. Luckily, you can find a lot of treats at the local markets (here’s the etiquette). You can also ask the hotel staff or locals to recommend small cafes and bistros that they go to. This may save you from “tourist rates” and will definitely have good food. April is wonderful for picnics (just be careful of wet grass.). Buy at the local market and head to one of the 9 ideal picnic spots in Paris.
Important tips to remember
Dress in layers.
I have a full post on what to pack and wear for spring in Paris, make sure to check that out. Rain frequently falls in Paris during April. Pack a light rain jacket, comfortable pants and shoes, and an umbrella for your trip. Mornings can be cold, and then gradually becomes warmer as the day passes. So, it’s best to wear a scarf and dress in layers, so you can shed the jacket at the end of the day.
School children are on vacation for Spring Break between the beginning of April and early May, so make hotel and transportation reservations ahead of time.
Take the metro.
While walking around Paris is certainly one of the best ways to really enjoy its culture and architecture, taking public transportation can help save time—especially if you want to maximize your stay. Your hotel can provide you with a map of the metro, and most establishments will list the name of the nearest station.
I share this in my Paris for the First Time post, my market etiquette post, and my Paris dining post. Don’t arrive in France without knowing a word of French. Two words specifically: BONJOUR (hello) and MERCI (thank you). Be sure and learn the basics: “please,” “police,” “emergency,” “bathroom.” etc. (here is a guide to bathrooms in Paris).
Many hotels, airlines, and travel agencies provide trip itineraries and travel packages for tourists. However, keep in mind that while these simplify the planning of a trip, travel packages seldom explore the haunts and hole-in-the-wall locations that Parisian locals prefer. Make time to explore away from the mainstream and the off-the-beaten-path while in Paris.
Why is April the best time to visit Paris?
Bar-none, April is the best month out of the traditional tourist season to visit Paris. You’ll miss the crowds, costs, and stress that comes with visiting during peak season in the summer, while still enjoying the vibrant scenery, activities, and cuisine Paris has to offer.
Have you ever visited Paris in April? What was your experience? Did you go to any events? Do share!
Illustrations commissioned from Linden Eller.
For a visual summary of this post, check out my April in Paris web story!
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