Paris is an amazing city, but many tourists feel dismayed when their trip is marred by bad weather. A good portion of the fall and winter months is notoriously gray and rainy, which means you may need to have a backup plan when the weather isn’t cooperating. For those who don’t find the idea of strolling through Paris in the rain appealing, fear not! Paris has lots to offer in the name of indoor activities to keep you entertained.
Truth be told, you’ll probably want to visit Paris’s world-renowned museums anyway, so why not save it for rainy days. The Louvre Museum (4 Place du Louvre, Metro Louvre or Chatelet), with its hours of history to admire and enjoy, is perfect for spending an entire morning or afternoon in one place. If its contemporary art that interests you, check out the Centre Georges Pompidou (19 Rue Beaubourg, Metro Rambuteau), which has a diverse collection in its permanent exhibit, which always offers something new, even for repeat visitors. The temporary exhibits by some of the world’s most famous modern artists are not to be missed. If it’s sculpture you’re after, head to the Rodin Museum (79 Rue de Varenne, Metro Varenne), which is packed with works from famous French artist Auguste Rodin. Enjoy the bronze and marble sculptures, large and small, and wait for the rain to clear so you can head into the rose garden attached to the back end of the museum. There, you’ll see Rodin’s most famous work, the Thinker.
Take the winding staircase down 19 meters until you are deep into the Paris Catacombs, an ossuary that holds the remains of nearly six million people. In this underground cemetery, you’ll be face to face with actual human skulls and bones piled high. Water drips from the low ceilings as you snake through the narrow tunnels, creating a truly spooky experience.
Nurse Something Hot at a Café
Paris weather being what it is, most locals aren’t put off by a little bout of rain – and you shouldn’t be either. Grab your umbrella and head to one of the thousands of cafes around the city. Nothing is more romantic and typically French than watching the rain from the inside of a chic Parisian café while sipping your chocolat chaud. For an extra special treat, head to Ladurée (75 Champs-Elysee, Metro George V) and stay for while in this upscale café/restaurant, enjoying their famous macarons and other delectable pastries.
France is known for its cinema and going to the movies is one of the top activities of the French when the weather goes down the tubes. If you’re looking for blockbusters, check out the huge selection at Les Halles inside the Forum Les Halles (101 Rue Berger, Metro Les Halles or Chatelet) shopping complex. For more indie flicks, head over to the Mk2 Beaubourg Cinema (50 Rue Rambuteau, Metro Rambuteau) not far away near the Georges Pompidou museum or down south to Les Sept Parnassiens (98 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Metro Vavin) near the Montparnasse metro station. Most cinemas in Paris show films in their original version and there is usually at least one film showing in English.
You came to Paris partly to shop, right? While part of the fun of shopping in the French capital is going from store to store, this activity is not much fun when it’s raining. You’re better off sticking to areas that offer several shops in one place, to avoid getting soaked. Forum des Halles (101 Rue Berger, Metro Les Halles or Chatelet) is a massive mall, with most everything your heart desires in the name of clothes, shoes, books, music, trinkets and food. It can get a bit rowdy at night, where the mall transforms into a teenage after-school hangout. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, head to Les Passages, a series of covered galleries from the 18th and 19th centuries that snake through the center of the city for several blocks with lots of unique shops on offer. Start at Grand Boulevard metro and make your way towards Richelieu Drouot.
We hope you make the most of your time in Paris, regardless of the weather!