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Paris in May: Weather, Festivals, & Things to Do

When we welcome spring, only a few cities around the world become as attractive as Paris in May. And for a good reason! 

The French capital becomes even more magical and makes it straight to the top of our list. 

Keep reading to find out why you can’t miss out on a Parisian adventure this season and all the things to do in Paris in May.

From weather and covid restriction tips to wisteria hysteria and exclusive events going around the city only this month, there are plenty of reasons to plan a trip to Paris in May.

We’ll show you everything you can do to enjoy a magical May in the French capital. Bon voyage!

The beautiful wisteria flowers of the Au Vieux Paris cafe
Paris in May – Au Vieux Paris cafe – Elena Skalovskaia /

Why You Must Visit Paris in May

As we say goodbye to cold weather and the flowers start blooming again, there’s no other city in the world that becomes more romantic and appealing than Paris in May. And the best part, those in town know it too well. 

Exclusive festivals, events, and exhibits take over all around Paris, ready to make everyone fall in love with the French capital. 

On top of that, strolls next to the Seine River, Eiffel Tower-viewing picnics, and the best Parisian Petit dejeuner (breakfast) become even more appealing. 

Yes! You probably didn’t think it was possible to have better weather without the summer crowds, but it is! Welcome you to your Parisian magical getaway.

Pssst: If you’re still not sure when to go, here’s a guide on the best time to visit Paris by month and season.

Aerial view of Paris from the towers of the cathedral of Notre Dame
Paris from the towers of the Notre Dame – Jerome LABOUYRIE / Shutterstock

Where to Stay in Paris in May

It can be a bit overwhelming to look for accommodation in Paris since there are so many options.

For that reason, we decided to give you the perfect location to stay based on this month’s features, but we also wrote a detailed review of the best places to stay in Paris.

In the Marais, you’ll find the Le Temple de Jeanne. This pleasant hotel is near the Métro Saint-Paul (rue de Fourcy), where you can find wisteria plants. If the weather cooperates, you’ll see them in bloom!

Paris Weather in May

April and May are known as the shoulder season, in other words, they are the best time for everything. 

With the temperatures increasing around and sun rays coming in, we start the picnic season while making it perfect for a cultural stroll, Paris gourmet tasting spree, and days inside the most fascinating museums.

You can expect around 15 days of sun and a lot of rain here and there, but nothing to spoil plans, as the city has enough to offer indoors and outdoors and enough picture-worthy locations. 

With the average temperature reaching 59°F, May in Paris weather will definitely be the best you can enjoy. 

  • Minimum temperature: 51°F
  • Maximum temperature: 69°F
  • Average rainfall: 2.48 inches
  • Average sunshine hours: Roughly seven hours
People relaxing at Luxembourg Garden in Paris
Elena Skalovskaia / Shutterstock

What to Wear in Paris in May

May can be the wettest month of the year in Paris, but with the warm bursts of sunshine waiting for you around the corner, the prettiest raincoats, and the chicest umbrellas, you have nothing to worry about. 

The weather can be neither hot nor cold, so it could be tricky to pack for your getaway. So, here are some items you can’t miss in your suitcase to make your Paris in May trip simply perfect and worry-free.

But hey. In case you do forget something, don’t sweat. You’ll find enough to-die-for stores and vintage one-of-a-kind little stops everywhere.

Let’s be honest, you’ll end up doing some shopping anyway, but this is just because you want to ensure the essential items are coming with you.

  • Scarves: A scarf is one of the essential items to add to your packing list for Paris in spring, as you can wear it in multiple ways and in pretty much any kind of weather. The best part is they look incredibly chic and are highly popular among Parisians, so you’ll be right there among french finest shopping trends.
  • Long Overcoat or French Coat: The best part of spring is that you can play with layers. And nothing goes better with any kind of top and bottom than a long coat. And given may give us a bit of rain, you’ll always be ready to conquer the Parisian stress of any weather.
  • Floral and Maxi Dress or Skirts: Nothing says spring like flowers, so take those dresses out and get ready to light up the streets of Paris in May. And don’t worry, even on those colder days, you can wear it with stockings to keep you warm yet stylish.
  • Jeans: It’s true that jeans are indeed timeless and seasonless. So, make sure to bring your comfy denim along with you. They look good on literally everyone, and Parisians know this. You’ll see.

What to Do in Paris in May

Here are a few things to do in Paris that are particularly interesting in May.

1. Enjoy a Picnic by the River or in a Park 

People sunbathing and picnicking at Place des Vosges
ChristopherGeorge / Shutterstock

Parisians make a true art of the spring picnic, really. We all know the French are very serious about their food. Well, it couldn’t be any less for a picnic by the park. 

You see, in Paris, a picnic It’s not just a quick meal on the grass or a bench, it’s an event. 

And for it, the best spots range from formal parks and gardens to riverside quays and quiet little squares with Parisian landmark views. Luckily, Paris has enough of both. 

The riverside quays and banks in Paris are alluring spots for spontaneous or formal picnics, and you’ll see why the minute you sit down.

2. Walk a Self-Guided Architecture Tour

Parisian balconies

We’ve all heard it: Paris is a museum city. But this is not just a cliché phrase; it’s a magical truth. And that’s why a stroll across Paris is also a stroll through history. 

It’s a metropolis where you’ll encounter all mesmerizing architectural styles.

So, get on your comfy shoes or jump on the many rental bikes or scooters you can find all over the city and start getting some culture on. 

Take a self-guided tour of Parisian architecture to witness some of the city’s most stunning buildings while you learn more about the capital’s centuries-long history.

3. Discoiver La Foire du Trone

La Foire du Trone. It is the biggest annual Foraine festival
La Foire du Trone: the biggest annual Foraine festival- Jacky D /

The Foire du Trône is a Parisian funfair. Located in the 12th arrondissement, formerly also called “Gingerbread Fair,” before it was moved to the lawn of Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes, it’s all fun and games. 

Its organizer is the City of Paris, and it’s the largest traveling fair in France. 

4. Hunt Out Wisteria

Purple tables of outdoor Parisian cafe and wisteria in full bloom

Spring gives us magical weather, more sunlight, and beautiful views. But also, maybe even more importantly, it gives us flowers. And there’s no other flower spot hunting that’s more fun than wisteria.

Historically, wisteria symbolizes long life and immortality. Wisteria can live up to 100 years or even older. 

Also, nowadays, it is highly popular and a perfect picture spot. Luckily, Paris has enough to keep you busy and happy.

5. Stroll Around the Parks and Gardens

Empty chairs and table at Luxembourg Garden

As big cities go, the bustling and hustling can be a bit overwhelming. But, lucky for us, Paris in May has enough green spots to keep us full of air and peace. 

So, for those days when you can’t get out of town super-fast – and the sea is hours away –the french capital has a disproportionate number of brilliant parks and gardens to kick back and relax in.

6. Climb the Eiffel Tower 

View from the Eiffel Tower
View from the Eiffel Tower

Well, we know that you’re not heading to Paris in May without considering the french iron lady on your travel list. 

And for a great reason. Discover the crazy beautiful views the Eiffel Tower offers by climbing up to the top part.

You can take a lift there or climb up the stairs and then lift it. It all depends on your time, preference, and, yes, money. 

As you may imagine, walking up the 674 steps that take you to the 2nd floor is cheaper and with a lot fewer queues than taking the lift. Get all the prices and info here.

7. Sip a Beverage in a Sunny Terrace

Whether face to face with the Eiffel Tower, hidden in a lush garden, or looking over the rooftops of Paris. Terraces are an attractive spot worldwide, but especially in the French capital.

Events in Paris in May

1. Museums at Night

  • When: May 21st, 2022

The year 2022 will see the return of the Night of the Museums in its original format to the delight of the curious and cultural fans. 

Many museums and monuments in Paris and the Ile-de-France region will be open free of charge for most of the evening. 

In addition, many activities – workshops, guided tours, musical performances, and more are proposed. Not to be missed!

Louvre Museum Pyramid at night

2. Artists’ Open House in Belleville Galleries 

  • When: May 20th to 23rd, 2022

The Portes Ouvertes (open doors) event takes place over a long weekend in late May, transforming Belleville into a fascinating showcase. 

Local artists display their latest or best work, conversing with fellow creators and enthusiasts. 

You’ll get to take in pieces in nearly all mediums under the sun: painting, illustration, sculpture, woodworking, street art, photography, performance art, and video. 

3. Roland Garros 

  • When: May 22nd to June 5th, 2022

Calling all tennis fans all over the world! If you’re in Paris in May, you can’t miss The French Open, also known as Roland-Garros. 

The tournament is the premier clay court championship globally and the only Grand Slam tournament currently held on this surface.

4. Bread Festival

  • When: May 16th, 2022

Bread, as everyone knows, plays a big part in the daily life of the French people. In fact, 12 million people a day in France visit a bread shop. 

From baguettes to boules, the long thin sticks of light bread, to the tasty round balls of bread, bread in France is part of the daily fabric of life.

Well, guess what? There’s even a festival to celebrate these magical creations. 

Since 1996 a festival of bread has been held to celebrate the art of making real, traditional French bread called La Fête du Pain.

Window of bakery with fresh breads in Paris

5. Jazz Festival (or Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés) 

  • When: May 16th, 2022

This magical souriée held annually in May was founded in 2001 by Joël Le Roy, Frédéric Charbaut, and Donatienne Hantin. 

The performances take place in public places and streets as well as indoors and are partly free (like a vocal jazz concert on Place Saint-Germain-des-Près).

6. Taste of Paris 

  • When: May 9th, 2022

Now, back to what makes France simply magical: the food. Yes, precisely as you can imagine, this festival gathers the best of Paris gourmet delights. 

It’s an event held at the Grand Palais for its 5th edition on May 9th. On the menu, a new cast of prestigious chefs will treat gourmets in ephemeral restaurants and workshops and demonstrations. Bonne appetite!

Things to Note When Traveling to Paris in May

Now that we know all the must-see things and must-eat delights you can enjoy in Paris in May, don’t forget to keep up with the restrictions still in place this year. 

Luckily, the French government has a very detailed list for any country, where you’ll find all the documents needed and vaccine requirements to keep in mind while preparing for this enchanting trip.

Paris Travel Resources

You’re visiting Paris! How exciting is that?! Because we want you to have a fantastic vacation, we wrote a few helpful guides here on the blog.

For instance, we have a complete itinerary for 2 days in Paris and 4 days in Paris.

If you would like to go on a day trip from Paris and visit other places beyond Versailles and Disneyland Paris.

As for the other months of the year, we have guides to visit Paris in January, February, March, April, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

Bon voyage!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for France, make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year now, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you'll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what was stolen.

Because, for just a couple of dollars a day (depending on how long your policy is for), you're going to get lots of things covered. Be smart and get travel insurance.