March 31, 2019
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. The air becomes just a bit warmer, the trees start to bloom, and if you're lucky you can even leave your jacket at home on some days. There's nothing quite like hearing the birds chirping, and everyone being out and about again.
While Spring traditions are similar on both sides of the pond, the French do add their own flair to this invigorating season. Here are the most captivating activities that French people enjoy in the Spring; some of which you can easily replicate in the US and some you may only be able to enjoy on your next trip to France.
Whenever I settled into a new city or neighborhood, I always look for one or two coffee shops or bakery with outdoor seating. Sitting outside with a few friends or a good book is the perfect way for me to find calm and happiness - and of course, it reminds me of my last trip to Paris.
If you're visiting Paris, my favorite sidewalk café is Café de Flore, located on the left bank, close to La Sorbonne. It is always lively, and full of a mix of students, Parisian friends meeting up, and tourists alike.
Parc de St Cloud is one of my favorite Parisian parks. It is technically outside of Paris, in the town of - you may have guessed - St Cloud, but it is absolutely worth going to. This park is located on the site of the St Cloud castle, which used to be a royal residence. As soon as you get there, you will be impressed by its size and dominance over Paris.
It is the perfect place for a spring stroll or if you want to work off the too many French treats you may have had. There are lots of stairs and straight running paths to do fun circuits.
If you have the chance to live near a national or state park, I can't recommend enough going during the first couple of nice spring day. Usually, the crowds aren't there yet, but it is already magnificent.
While it may be a bit crowded, there's no better time than Spring to go visit Monet's house and gardens in Giverny. In fact, the Foundation Claude Monet is only open from late March until November.
In the Spring, you'll be able to transport yourself to the time when Claude Monet painted his famous water lilies series of painting. During Spring, the gardens light up from within and are truly mesmerizing. I recommend going during the week to avoid crowds.
I know what you're thinking - this is only for tourists - and the truth is, yes, there will be lots of tourists with you. However, this is such a enjoyable Parisian activity that many French people do it too, especially on a warm weekend.
The Bateau-Mouches are the quintessential Paris river cruise. If you've never been to Paris, it is also a perfect way to get you situated and start to understand how the city is set up. In an hour or two, you will sail on the Seine and see many of Paris' most exciting monuments. Spring is also the perfect time to sit on the upper deck without being too hot, and take it all the views.
Not without controversy, a few years ago, the Mayor of Paris decided to close an additional road to convert it entirely into a pedestrian path. While in the winter, it seems a little wasteful, cafés and restaurants come to life as soon as temperature hit the 60s. As you walk the "Quais de Seine", you'll find a variety of places, from elegant restaurants to simple food trucks set along the Parisian river. You can easily find a seat as long as you get there right before Parisians leave work (around 7pm).
And because the sun sets so late in Paris in the Spring and Summer, you'll be able to witness an amazing sunset no matter how much is on your to-do list for the day.
My two favorite addresses are En Attendant Rosa and le Jardin Sauvage.