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Paris in May is a sight to behold. It might even be my favourite month in Paris. I’ll have to give the roses a shout-out. In May, Paris is bursting with rose blooms and the fragrance floats down cobbled streets, and through the parks, and is beautiful enough to stop you in your tracks. It was the month of May that I first encountered Pierre de Ronsard Roses.
Overall, May is a great time to visit Paris for those who enjoy comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds than the busy summer season. The weather is generally suitable for outdoor activities, such as strolling along the Seine River or visiting the many outdoor markets and cafes throughout the city.
May In Paris: The Weather
In May, the Paris weather is generally mild and pleasant, with springtime temperatures starting to warm up after the cooler months of March and April.
In May, temperatures range from lows of 50°F (10°C) to highs of 68°F (20°C) and the average rainfall is 2.2in (57mm).
At the beginning of May, sunset is at around 9:15 pm. Towards the end of the month, the day length is around 15 hours long, and sunset is at approximately 9:45 pm. I love the longer days!
Paris In May What To Wear?
The weather is variable so pack clothes that you can wear in layers. Bring comfortable walking shoes as strolling in Paris is the best way to get to know the city. Here are some suggestions for what to wear:
- Light layers: During the day, temperatures can range from cool to warm, so it’s a good idea to wear light layers. A lightweight jacket or cardigan is a good option.
- Scarf: A scarf can add warmth and style to any outfit. It’s also useful for covering up if it’s windy or raining.
- Umbrella or rain jacket: It’s a good idea to pack a compact umbrella or a rain jacket that can be easily carried in a bag.
- Light clothing: Pack some light pieces such as dresses, and skirts, along with tops that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
- A cross-body bag. This one is for men and women. This purse is a travel anti-theft shoulder bag. There are multiple advantages of a crossbody bag, but especially to tuck it under your arm for safekeeping on the Paris métro.
Planning Your Paris Trip
Check out the best rates for flights.
Hotels (see just below)
Popular Paris Guided Tours and Tickets
Be sure to book in advance for the most popular things to do. Book your one-hour Seine cruise, a timed-entry ticket to the Louvre, and a skip-the-line ticket to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And don’t forget Versailles and Disneyland! Museum-lovers will want to purchase the Paris Museum Pass. A Seine Dinner Cruise is pretty fabulous at this time of the year!
25 Essential Paris Travel Tips will prepare you for Paris! Here are 39 best Paris experiences and also some terrific hidden gems. Only have one day in Paris? Follow this itinerary!
If you really want to explore secret Paris? There are over 60 secret spots in my eBook, Paris for the Curious Stroller.
Where To Stay In Paris
Booking your accommodation in Paris well in advance is always a good idea. Here is a list of boutique hotels in le Marais with great locations and ambience.
- Hôtel la Comtesse with an Eiffel Tower view
- Chouchou Hotel with an eclectic vibe
- Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte in the heart of the Marais
- Hôtel des Académies et des Arts in Saint-Germain des Prés (the left bank)
Prefer staying in an apartment? Here are some fabulous Paris apartments:
- Portrait of Splendour literally filled with portraits, in the Marais
- Joyau de Marais
- The Panthéon Pageantry
The May Holidays
Holidays are everything to the French. Springtime is the top season for holidays. In France, a public holiday or bank holiday or statutory holiday is called a Jour Ferié. This means that businesses will be closed.
The other French phrase you may hear tossed around is “faire le pont.” “Faire le pont” or “making the bridge” is adding extra holiday days to extend a public holiday.
There are FOUR holidays in May 2023 that all fall on weekdays. It’s a great month for long weekends in France in May 2023.
Monday, May 1st, 2023, Labour Day and May Day: (public holiday/ jour ferié) Yes, there are two celebrations on May 1 in France. On Labour Day (Fête du Travail), all workers must legally have a paid day off from work. Expect demonstrations (manifestations) around the city and almost everything will be closed.
Monday, May Day 1st (La Fête de Mugeut) is celebrated by giving a little pot or bouquet of Muguet (lily of the valley) to your loved ones and friends to bring them luck. Lily of the Valley fills the florist shops and is sold on street corners.
Monday, May 8, 2023, Armistice Day (V-E Day): (public holiday/ jour ferié) This important day, Remembrance Day, marks the official end of WWII. One of the main events is the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. There are also church services and military parades.
Thursday, May 18, 2023, Ascension: (public holiday/ jour ferié) This day commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven. It always falls on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter.
Monday, May 29, 2023, Pentecost: (public holiday/ jour ferié) Pentecost (Whit Monday) falls exactly 50 days after Easter and always on a Monday. It is a day that Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Should I Even Come In May?
Even with all the French holidays in May, it is an ideal month to visit. These public holidays provide opportunities to experience cultural events and festivities that may not be available at other times of the year.
Just remember that on May 1, everything will be closed. On May 8, many large stores will be closed.
Celebrations And Events: Paris In May 2023
Foire de Trône
March 31, 2023 to May 29, 2023
The Foire de Trône is one of the oldest fairs in France, dating back to the 12th century. The fair takes place in the Pelouse de Reuilly in the 12th arrondissment of Paris, and features a wide range of attractions and rides for all ages, from traditional carousels and Ferris wheels to high-speed roller coasters and thrilling thrill rides.
Paris Beer Festival
May 8 to May 14, 2023
Calling all beer lovers. This is a week devoted to craft beer in Paris. The first days of the festival see microbreweries and bars hosting events. The last two days (the 13th and 14th) are held at Ground Control (in the 12th arrondissment) where there will be 50 microbreweries gathered! Samples anyone?!
Nuit des Musées
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Museums night is just a great event. Many museums are free and open until midnight. There are jazz quartets and light shows and an incredibly festive and artsy vibe. Which of these museums will you visit?
Taste of Paris
May 11 to 14, 2023
This four-day festival takes place at the Grand Palais Ephémère. Taste the most delicious food in Paris at pop-up restaurants. Mmmm… Make sure you book your ticket in advance for this popular event.
Saint-Germain Jazz Festival
May 10 to 17, 2023
Who doesn’t love a Paris jazz festival? Jazz is performed in cafés, churches and museums. Buy your tickets in advance.
Fête du Pain (French Bread Festival)
May 13 to Sunday, May 21, 2023
This festival takes place in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. The scent of baguettes coming from the ovens is enough to stop you in your tracks and take a sample! May 16 is the day that honours St Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. Read all about how the French eat their baguettes.
Paris Café Festival
May 13 and May 14, 2023
Speciality coffee lovers, this event is for you! In its third year, this festival celebrates with roast masters, latte art, and live music. Tickets are 9€ for a half day.
Find out more Paris Café Festival
The French Open At Stade Roland Garros
May 28 to June 11, 2023
The French Open happens here in Paris on clay courts. It’s the only Grand Slam tennis event to take place on clay.
Things To Do In Paris In May
1. Find All The Glorious Spring Flowers
What a beautiful time of year to visit! With the city blossoming and the fragrance floating along cobbled streets, you can’t help but be taken with the blooms. Follow this guide to the best spring blossoms in Paris.
2. Flâner In The Classic Neighborhoods
The best way to enjoy Paris is to walk. Morning. Noon. Night! Embrace the long May days and wander. Flâner like the Parisians. Amble, saunter and observe your surroundings. Here are some tips on how best to flâner in Paris.
Toss on your silk scarf and head out to one of the best neighbourhoods for walking. Here are a few suggestions:
- le Marais – Place des Vosges, gorgeous mansions, shopping…
- Saint Germain des Prés – iconic left bank Paris
- Ile de la Cité – the heartbeat of Paris
- Ile Saint-Louis – oldest village in Paris…
- Montmartre – Sacré Coeur, staircases and oozing charm…
- the 7th arrondissement – Eiffel Tower & views, La Grande Epicierie…
- Canal Saint-Martin – iron bridges, boutiques, wine by the canal
Or start to flâner on one of these Paris streets.
3. Relax In The Gardens
One of the best things about visiting Paris at this time of the year is the opportunity to enjoy the city’s parks and gardens in full bloom. The Jardin des Tuileries and the Luxembourg Gardens are both stunning at this time of year, with an abundance of colourful flowers and greenery. Get off the tourist trail and stroll through Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Or, head to Parc de Bagatelle to see the stunning gardens and sassy peacocks!
4. Picnic By The Seine
Do like the Parisians do and picnic by the Seine. On a warm spring evening, the Seine will be lined with people chatting, eating, and having a drink together. It’s part of the culture.
5. Visit A Smaller Museum
Is there an exhibition that calls to you? Paris is full of marvellous exhibitions and many new ones start in the spring. Perhaps you have already been to the Louvre Museum. Try visiting a smaller museum like the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Musée Jacquemart-André or one of my favourites, The Cluny Museum. Passionate museum-goers will love the 2,4, or 6-day Paris Museum Pass.
Read More | My guide to 20 Paris museums.
6. People Watch From A Café
Sitting at a Parisian café and people-watching is like stepping into a scene from a movie. Watch the world go by and observe the unique fashion, charm, and energy of Parisians. You’ll witness an array of fascinating characters as they go about their day. Whether you’re taking a break from sightseeing or simply enjoying the hustle and bustle of city life, people-watching in Paris is a charming and unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss.
7. Take a Day Trip
Obviously planning a day trip is for travellers who have ample time. Paris is not to be rushed but it is also in a fantastic location for visiting other parts of France. Here are 18 suggested day trips from Paris. Recommended day trips in May are:
- Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Versailles Palace and Gardens – the Musical Fountains and Garden Shows have begun!
- Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Château de Fontainebleau
- Visiting the Château de Chantilly – the stunning flower show is on from May 12 to 14, 2023
- the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Provins
- Giverny – Monet’s home and magnificent gardens
- Auvers-sur-Oise – Van Gogh’s final stop
8. Visit Disneyland
Disneyland Paris is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. The best days of the week to visit Disneyland Paris are Tuesdays and Thursdays. The weather at Disneyland Paris in May is similar to Paris.
Here are some great planning tips for Disneyland Paris.
Buy your tickets in advance for Disneyland.
9. Cycle By The Seine River
Cycling by the Seine River is an unforgettable experience that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. Rent a bike at one of the many Velib Stations around Paris. Or take a guided tour like one of these: A 4-hour bike tour or a 3-hour bike tour.
The Seine provides a scenic backdrop to the stunning Parisian architecture and landmarks that line its banks. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, Notre Dame to the Musée d’Orsay, there is no shortage of breathtaking sights to take in during a leisurely bike ride. Read about How Not to Get Your Velib Stolen
Cycling past the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be tempted to stop by! Book Your Eiffel Tower ticket here.
I hope you found this Paris travel guide helpful.
Until next time,
More Paris Travel Info…
Other Seasonal Articles:
- Paris in the Spring: How to Enjoy the Best Season
- Where To Find the Best Spring Flowers
- Paris in the Summer
- Paris in the Fall
- Paris in the Snow
- Paris in the Winter
- Paris in February