Paris On a Rainy Day: 15 Things To Do
One thing the French capital of Paris has an abundance of is rain. This northern European city has a climate strongly affected by the Gulf Stream coming off the North Atlantic, with the result that Paris sees around 24 to 25 inches (670 - 641 mm) of rain each year. And while the bulk of this rain falls in the wettest months of October, December, and May, it can rain in Paris at just about any time of year.
For that reason, it pays to be prepared. Even in the height of summer, Paris is prone to rain showers that come with little warning and disappear just as fast. A light rain jacket or umbrella is always a good idea in Paris. In France's capital city, you never really know what kind of weather you're going to get.
But Paris is beautiful, no matter what the weather is doing. And with so many incredible indoor activities in the city like the stunning art galleries, incredible restaurants, and beautiful churches, you can still have a fantastic time in the City of Light in any kind of weather. A rainy day in Paris doesn't have to ruin your trip, and visiting Paris in the rain can even be its own kind of fun.
Leave your bags behind at a luggage storage in Paris, grab an umbrella or rain jacket, and get ready to enjoy the liquid sunshine in one of the world's most romantic cities. You can enjoy Paris on a rainy day by taking advantage of these great rainy day activities.
There are no prizes for guessing what Paris attraction takes the top spot on this list of things to do in bad weather. The sprawling Louvre Museum is a must-visit in Paris no matter what the weather is doing, but on a rainy day, it's even better. The world-famous collection of art in this incredible museum can occupy hours of your time, and there's so much to see here that you'll almost be glad of a rainy day in Paris to give you the chance to catch up.
This art museum is best known for famous works of art like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. But let yourself explore the permanent collections and temporary exhibits, and you may find some hidden gems. After all, this is one of the biggest museums in the world, and strolling through the hallways is like wandering through different chapters of history. You can pick up an audio guide that will explain more about what you're seeing and guide you to the museum's highlights, or just wander at will and spend time absorbing the artistic atmosphere of this incredible art gallery.
If you like your vacations a little on the spooky side, a rainy day in Paris is the ideal opportunity to explore the Paris Catacombs. This expansive network of tunnels beneath the city streets is the final resting place of over 6 million Parisians, and their skeletal remains are artfully arranged and open for the public to visit. Dating back to the 18th century, the catacombs run beneath virtually the entire modern city of Paris, and have never been comprehensively mapped. However, the sections that are open to the public will give you a good sense of what the catacombs offer, and are the ideal way to enjoy a little bit of a thrill while you stay out of the rain.
Maybe it's partly because there are so many rainy days in Paris that the city is home to so many incredible museums. The Louvre deserves a day all by itself to get to grips with its artistic treasures, but it's far from the only world-class museum in Paris. And fans of painting, especially the work of the Impressionists, shouldn't miss visiting the incredible Musée d'Orsay on one of the city's many rainy days.
This museum, located in a converted railway station, has an incredible collection of paintings from some of the world's most famous painters. You can spend hours here exploring the work of Manet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and other masters of French painting, as well as enjoying the stunning architecture of this unique building.
Do Some Shopping
Paris is known as an international capital of fashion, and so you'd expect the city to be home to some incredible retail opportunities. Window shopping along the Champs Elysees is a must even on the sunniest of days, but if you want to do some serious shopping, a rainy day is an ideal opportunity. When the weather outside is less than perfect, there's nothing better than spending some time browsing in one of Paris's many department stores or high-end boutiques.
You could start your shopping spree at the world-famous Galeries Lafayette, a beautiful Art Nouveau building that's home to designer labels and some of the best shopping in the city. If you're looking for something a little more low-key, head to one of Paris's vintage stores where you can find some incredible bargains on clothes, furniture, and other items. You could also check out the world's first department store at Le Bon Marché or visit the Bazar de 'l'Hotel de Ville in Le Marais to explore some of the other top shopping destinations in Paris.
Take a Cooking Class
If you're a foodie, then you'll love the chance to take a cooking class on one of Paris's many rainy days. French cuisine is world-renowned, and there's no better place to learn how to cook it than in the city where it was perfected. You can find cooking classes for all levels of experience, from complete beginners to those who want to perfect their skills.
Most classes will give you the chance to cook a multi-course meal, and you'll usually get to eat what you make for lunch or dinner. This is a great way to spend a rainy day in Paris, and you'll come away with some new skills (and recipes) to show off to your friends and family.
Take a Turkish Bath
Nothing drives away the chill of a rainy day in Paris like the warm atmosphere of a traditional Turkish bath or Hammam. You'll find these iconic steam baths throughout the city, and many of them offer luxury treatments as well as the chance to relax in the steam room.
A trip to the Hammam is the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring Paris, and you'll come out feeling refreshed and relaxed. If you're looking for a truly luxurious experience, book an appointment at one of Paris's top spas for a day of pampering that you'll never forget.
Explore a greenhouse
Paris is in many ways a city of gardens. And while you may not be excited to visit the city's open-air parks in the rain, Paris boasts some incredible greenhouses where you can get a taste of the tropics and avoid the chill of the streets outside. Wandering through the tropical plants of the greenhouses is one of the best things to do in Paris when it rains, and you'll be amazed at the variety of plants and flowers on display.
One of the most popular greenhouses is the Jardin des Plantes, which is home to an incredible array of plant life, as well as a zoo, museum, and botanical garden. This is one rainy day activity that's sure to please everyone in your group.
Live the Café Life
Paris's Café scene is legendary, and for good reason. When the rain starts to fall, there are few better places to be than inside enjoying a drink or a meal in a Paris café. Ask any two Parisians what the best cafés in the city are, and you'll probably get at least three different opinions. But ultimately, in this city, it's hard to go wrong. Take a walk through the lively Latin Quarter or explore the beautiful sidestreets around Place de la Concorde and you'll find lots of cafés and bistros you can drop in to and do some people watching. Plus, this is an activity that is quintessentially Parisian, so you won't be missing out.
Tour the Palais Garnier
The Palais Garnier is one of the most iconic buildings in Paris, and it's well worth a visit on a rainy day. This opulent opera house was built in the 19th century and is considered one of the finest examples of French architecture. Even if you're not interested in opera, the building itself is a work of art and is well worth a visit.
The Palais Garnier offers tours in English, and you'll learn all about the history of the building and its place in Parisian culture. This is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Paris, and it's an activity that will appeal to everyone in your group. Even better, if you can get a ticket, you could enjoy a show at this iconic theater the way Parisians have been doing here since 1875.
See the Cabaret
Paris has been famous for its cabarets since the 19th century, and this is one rainy day activity that's sure to delight. Cabarets like the Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris offer lavish shows with stunning costumes, talented dancers, and of course, champagne.
A night at the cabaret is a truly unique experience, and it's the perfect way to add some excitement to a rainy day in Paris. Just be sure to buy your tickets in advance, as these shows often sell out well in advance.
Quai Branly Museum
Sometimes it seems that Paris has as many museums as it does raindrops on a November day. But if you're tired out from all the magnificent artwork of the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, you can experience something different at the Quai Branly Museum.
This fascinating museum is dedicated to the art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, and it's one of the best places to learn about the diversity of human culture. The Quai Branly Museum is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Paris, and it's an activity that will educate and entertain everyone in your group.
The regular rain has shaped the architecture and culture of Paris, and that's nowhere more obvious than in the city's iconic covered passages. These 19th-century pedestrian walkways were built to protect shoppers from the rain, and they're now a beloved part of Parisian life.
There are dozens of covered passages scattered throughout the city, and each one has its own unique atmosphere. From the trendy boutiques of Galerie Vero-Dodat to the antique dealers of Passage des Panoramas, you're sure to find something to your taste. And of course, if the rain gets too heavy, you can always duck into one of the many cafés and bistros that line the passages.
Visit the Tea Rooms
Nothing drives away the chill of the rain than a warm cup of tea or chocolat chaud - hot chocolate. Paris is full of great tea rooms where you can enjoy your favorite hot drinks on a cold day, and many of them are located in the covered passages.
If you're looking for a truly Parisian experience, head to Angelina on Rue de Rivoli. This historic tea room is famous for its hot chocolate, and it's the perfect place to take refuge from the rain.
The history of Paris is just about everywhere you look. But if you don't feel like walking the streets in the rain, you can get a crash course in the history of the city at Paris Story. This hour-long film will keep you out of the weather and teach you everything you need to know about the city of light.
Paris Story is shown in English, and it's a great way to spend a rainy day in Paris.
Explore the Churches
Paris is home to some truly stunning churches that make great places to visit in the rain. Damaged by fire in 2019, the most iconic of them all, Notre Dame de Paris, isn't open to visitors at the moment. But you can still visit other famous Parisian churches like Sacré-Coeur and Sainte-Chapelle.
Both of these churches offer free admission, and they're great places to take shelter from the rain while you admire the stunning architecture.
If you visit Paris for any length of time, chances are good you'll run into some rain no matter what time of year you visit. But rain doesn't have to stop your enjoyment of the city. While you may not want to climb the Eiffel Tower during bad weather, the city has tons of indoor activities that make for fantastic places to visit in Paris when it rains.