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This is Paris, and it’s going to rain. No matter what the season, it is very likely that you will deal with gray skies and the threat of showers at least once during your stay in Paris. You can either consider it a downside to your stay or make the best of it with my suggestions below.
Wait It Out in a Café
If I told you I enjoy people-watching, does that make me sound creepy? Scope out a good spot on a covered terrace and nurse a chocolat chaud. It’s the perfect way to pass the time during a sudden downpour.
Visit a Museum
Museums are the obvious choice. And because this is a completely unoriginal idea, you might want to consider heading to some lesser-known museums in order to avoid everyone who also had this brilliant plan. (They’re heading to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, BTW. I have nothing against Musée d’Orsay. It’s actually one of my top three favorite museums in Paris.) Luckily, there are tons of museums to choose from. Many museums are free all year round or on the first Sunday of the month. How about Victor Hugo’s House or Musée national Picasso? Don’t forget to look underground as well. Anyone fancy checking out the sewer system?? Maybe something a little unusual like Les Catacombes? I’ve been there three times!
Warm Up in a Greenhouse
Flowers are sure to brighten your day, and they won’t mind one bit if your wet umbrella drips a little water on them. There are greenhouses located in Jardin des Plantes and in Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil.
Discover the Passages Couverts
Get in your steps for the day and stay dry, all while exploring the Parisian covered passages. You’ll find various boutiques, cafés and beautiful architecture. In Paris, you can have it all!
Window Shop in a Department Store
Department stores are a great way to “window shop” while remaining warm and dry. I really like Le Bon Marché, which also houses a number of contemporary and installation art pieces. The whole store is beautiful and airy. Some other department stores to check out are Galeries Lafayette and BHV Marais. Les Halles is a big mall with a wide range of stores, restaurants, and a movie theater.
Hide Out in a Library
I friggin’ love libraries; the older and mustier smelling, the better! Who’s with me? Ducking into a library is my absolute favorite go-to on a rainy, cold day. Some libraries have limited access for visitors. Check out the Bibliothèque nationale de France for more information about current exhibits, hours, and access to France’s national libraries.
Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in France. It’s a sweet little library, often brimming with studious patrons. Considering all the people around that I was potentially disturbing, I was a little irked by the squeaky floors. I swear if you’re intimidated about it, the floorboards can sense it, so just walk in like you belong there.
Visit a Place of Worship
Whether you are religious or not, you might still enjoy checking out the architecture, the symbols, and the set-up in any number of places of worship. Be respectful of posted rules, service times, and those who are there to worship. Pictures are not always allowed. If you’re not sure about something, just ask! La Grande Mosquée offers guided tours just about every day, for only a few euros. My experience is limited to the hot mint tea and a tour of the building, so I can’t speak for the hammam services offered.
Bring an Umbrella
You looked at the weather before heading out—0% chance of rain. You even peeked outside—a perfect clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight. You left the safety of your room in confidence, thinking you could get away without that heavy umbrella weighing down your bag. Bad call. Because you’ve just ensured a downpour. There’s a chance I’m speaking from experience.
Get yourself a lightweight, compact travel umbrella. I keep this one from Ke.movan in my purse at all times. It’s on the small side, but it’s sturdy and it does the job. Best of all, it really doesn’t weigh down my bag so it’s not an inconvenience at all.