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Last updated on 25. April 2022 by Lena
Everything you need to know if you spend this May in Paris
May is a wonderful month to visit Paris, I would even say it’s the best time to travel to Paris. Spring is in full swing: blossoms, flowers, and fresh green leaves everywhere. The days are long and sunny, and the mild temperatures are filling the terraces. It’s the perfect weather for all sorts of activities, in and out.
May is also the month with the most bank holidays. Three to be exact. In most years, this means up to three long weekends that are flooding Paris with tourists. But in 2022, two of them are falling on a Sunday. Therefore, it won’t have too much effect, neither regarding crowds nor shop closures.
Good reads for your next trip to Paris:
Paris in April 2022 – What to See, Eat, Pack & Do!
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Spring in Paris 2022 – Best tips for your trip to Paris in spring time
This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclosure for more info.Last updated by Lena in August 2022 Spring in Paris, there is hardly any better time for visiting Paris. You can basically feel how the city comes back to life. Paris in the…
May in Paris means lovely spring days. You will likely be granted much sunshine and only a few occasional showers. Even the late-blooming trees are wearing green, and picnics and apéros by the Seine are not related to luck anymore.
The temperatures are rising, and the days are becoming significantly longer. Attractions and sights are running on the summer schedule. There is always plenty to do and see in Paris, and in May, you will have more time to fill your schedule.
But whether you are interested in museums, food, sightseeing, music festivals, or strolling the many streets in Paris: May is a fantastic time to visit Paris.
If you are visiting Paris at the end of May, also check out our guide for Paris in June!
Best Paris Deals: May 2022
» Seine River Illumination Cruise – book here & get up to 15% off
» Paris Walking Tour Pass – book here & get up to 50% off
» Eiffel Tower, Versailles & Arc de Triomphe Combo Tour – book here & get up to 20% off
» Skip-the-Line Arc de Triomphe Entry with Seine Cruise – book here & get up to 15% off
» Virtually Really Flight over Paris – book here to get 9% off
How’s the May weather in Paris?
May is the first month of the year when it is more than likely that you have nice weather.
Temperatures are mild, often even warm. The max high is 19 °C (ca. 66° degree Fahrenheit) and you will rarely experience temperatures under 10 °C (ca. 50° degree Fahrenheit) on average. However, despite mild weather, you likely get some showers and drizzles, on average, there are 9 days with some rain in May in Paris.
But you shouldn’t worry too much about rainy days: it rarely rains an entire day in Paris, and Spring is overall known for rapid weather changes throughout the day. So, even if you see a few showers, the sun will typically shine soon after. Or at least the rain will stop quickly.
In April, you were still lucky when you could have one, in May it’s a regularity: Outdoor picnics and apéros by the Seine. The sun is warm by now, and you definitely need to apply sunscreen when spending an afternoon in one of the many Parisian parks. (if you are pale like me, you better use some all the time).
It gets warmer as May progresses and you can even be lucky enough to have a few summerly warm days.
Just remember that the weather in May in Paris still sees quick changes, and you always should have a Plan B in mind – and enjoy the sunshine as long as it lasts.
Travel Basics for your Trip to Paris
» Book your airport transfer here to arrive stress-free in Paris
» Consider Travel Insurance with COVID-19 coverage
» Know how to use the Metro in Paris
» Book attractions that sell out quickly in advance
» Don’t forget your Travel Adapter
What to wear in Paris in May 2022
For your trip to Paris in May, you don’t have to worry about surprise winter days anymore. It is spring. Expect lots of sunshine, some rain, and maybe chilly mornings and evenings, but nothing that requires winter gear.
However, to be ready for the challenges of ever-changing spring weather, it is best to dress in layers. Bring a few sweaters, a light scarf, and a jacket – and adapt. But don’t forget light t-shirts either.
Even though the sun is warming already, the evenings and mornings can be still a bit fresh. You don’t need a real down jacket anymore, but a sweater and a light jacket are definitely good to have.
If you want something lightweight that you can easily pack up in your purse, but that keeps you warm when spending an evening on a Parisian terrace, pack a puffer vest (like this one). You can easily wear it under your normal jacket or instead of your jacket, and it weighs literally as good as nothing. Perfect for you to carry it around all day in your bag without that it takes up much space.
In any case, I advise keeping a close eye on the forecast before leaving. It is likely that you experience temperatures around 16 degrees on average, but it’s also absolutely possible that it’s rather 26 degrees, and you can come in a full-on summer outfit!
You also should pack either a rain jacket or a little travel umbrella. This one is tiny and fits in every bag. A stylish raincoat like this one works as well. It has a fantastic name, don’t you think!?
When packing for your trip to Paris this May, make sure you bring the items below to be ready for the May weather.
An umbrella or rain jacket
Not cold, but likely a bit humid from time to time. That’s a short sum-up of the May weather that you can expect in Paris. Thus, you certainly need something to stay dry. Be it an umbrella, a poncho (practically, but admittedly very uncommon in Paris), or simply a rain jacket. I like this stylish rain trench coat.
A small and lightweight travel umbrella (this one is great!) is definitely good to have on a trip to Paris in spring. It is tiny enough to fit easily in your purse. To be fair, it might not be as practical as a rain jacket, but an umbrella is easier to tuck away when the sky clears up.
May is overall a sunny month, and no outfit is complete without a nice pair of sunglasses. Especially not in Paris. Parisians often don’t even take their shades off when riding the Metro! Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what kind of sunglasses you wear.
Comfortable shoes or sneakers
It is of course a no-brainer, that comfortable shoes during a city break are an absolute must-have. However, the rumor persists that Parisians are not wearing sneakers. Let me tell you: Everyone is wearing sneakers in Paris. If not all the time, then at least in leisure times, when going for a walk or shopping.
While there are thousands of different sneakers to choose from, Vans, Converse, or white sneakers like these ones are always a safe bet. You can dress them down or up, and they are even suitable for a casual restaurant after a long sightseeing day. A very popular sneaker brand in Paris is Veja.
Best things to do in Paris in May 2022
When traveling to Paris this May, you have to keep in mind that the first week of May is still Easter vacation for the French kids. While May is already quite busy, you have to expect more buzz in early May. It’s high season when many French families are traveling and visiting Paris with their kids.
I strongly advise planning ahead and booking as much as you can in advance. Here’s why:
- Paris is getting crowded during school vacations. Attractions are in high demand and spots are selling out quickly.
- Popular sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Catacombs book out weeks in advance, especially in the high season like Easter vacation.
- Covid-19 and social distancing measurements limit visitor numbers. Hence, most sights require prebooking.
- Some ticket booths on site are closed or require you to queue for hours
You see now, why I am insisting that you book your entrance tickets in advance to avoid disappointment or wasting time in queues.
Note: In 2022, only one of the May bank holidays (Ascension 26th of May) falls on a weekday and allows for a long weekend. This means many French tourists will use the Ascension weekend to visit Paris.
To make it easier for you and save you time, you find in the following a list of sights that you absolutely need to book before you arrive in Paris. For your convenience, I added links to my most trusted ticket provider:
- The Eiffel Tower – click here for tickets to the summit!
- The Louvre – Click here to see the Mona Lisa
- The Catacombs – click here to enter Paris’ underground
- The Castle of Versailles – book your ticket here
Of course, you also can buy tickets also on the sight’s homepages. However, the downside is that they usually don’t have a cancellation policy. While reserving your Paris tickets with get your guide grants you a 24h cancellation and full refund policy.
A strong point in times like these, but it also puts you in a safe spot when booking in advance: you remain flexible if your plans change.
Explore the Hidden Gems of Paris
A city like Paris has thousands of hidden gems and secret attractions that are well worth the visit. Sunny spring days like you’ll have in May are inviting to stride non-touristy neighborhoods and explore Paris off the beaten path. Here are a few of my favorite activities that are far from the buzz:
- Belleville – a quirky neighborhood known for street art and viewpoints (read more about the street art here)
- Petite Ceinture – abandoned railways transformed into a park (click here for the complete guide)
- The Human Zoo – a beautiful park that was the ground of the Colonial Exhibition. Read our post about it to know why it’s called “Human Zoo of Paris“
Take a Day Trip to the Gardens of Monet in Giverny
The renowned impressionist painter Claude Monet lived most of his life in the little town of Giverny in Normandy, just an hour west of Paris. While you maybe never have heard of the village, you certainly have seen the paintings of his garden. Above all, his well-known water lily artworks.
May is a wonderful month to visit Giverny when everything is blooming and blossoming and the warm days are letting you enjoy this gorgeous garden even more. The easiest way to travel to Giverny is by simply booking a tour.
Giverny is close enough to Paris that you can even make it a half-day trip and continue your sightseeing program in Paris in the afternoon. Also, check our post about how to visit Giverny best for more travel options and information.
Take a look at our article about the best and easiest day trips from Paris by train to get more ideas.
Visit the best Parisian museums
The Parisian museums are not just excellent and world-famous, they are also perfect on a rainy day. As lovely as the weather might be during May, you most likely will have some showers and drizzles as well. But either way, seeing a few of the Parisian museums in Paris is basically obligatory.
I recommend looking into purchasing the Paris Museums Pass, if you didn’t book it already. This all-on-one pass provides you with free admission to more than 50 of THE most memorable Museums and Monuments of Paris and pays off as soon as you visit these 5 Paris highlights:
- The Louvre (book here)
- Panthéon (book here)
- Musée d’Orsay (book here)
- Sainte-Chapelle (book here)
- the Versailles Palace (book here)
You can see the complete list of benefits here.
Explore Montmartre with a local guide
Montmartre is hands down one of the most admirable and also most unusual areas of Paris. Once upon a time, Montmartre was just a village outside the city gates. But even though it became part of Paris already in 1860, it kept its village charm and strong identity until today.
You probably knew that Montmartre is a ridge, and the views from up there are something you shouldn’t miss out on. Thus, strolling around the cobbled stones alleys is a must when visiting Paris.
Admittedly, walking Montmartre on your own isn’t too bad, but you will after all miss half of the magic that lies hidden in the anecdotes and stories. Montmartre has so many mysteries that it is definitely valuable to spend the extra penny and join a guided walking tour.
If you are traveling to Paris on a tighter budget, check out this tour. It is the most budget-friendly but also the most popular walking tour in Montmartre.
Head up the Eiffel Tower
Surely, THE most popular activity in Paris and Number 1 on everyone’s bucket list. Thus, when you visit Paris in May, the Eiffel Tower is a must visit.
If you travel to Paris in May, you should book your tickets in advance, though. The school vacation bank holidays are popular by many French families for travel and cultural outings and, like everyone else, they, of course, want to visit the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is often booked out, especially if you want to take the lift to the summit. I suggest checking with a ticket provider like GetYourGuide.
Their booking page is straightforward to navigate, you will be going to the top of the Eiffel Tower with a tour guide to learn all about the famous construction, and most important: The tickets are fully refundable up to 24h before the activity.
You can of course also reserve tickets at the official online sales page just keep in mind they are not refundable and booked out most of the time weeks in advance. But it’s in any case worth having a look as they tend to be a bit cheaper.
Take a cruise on the River Seine Cruise
When planning your day by the Eiffel Tower, why not include a scenic cruise on the river Seine? Most cruises’ departure point is right by the Eiffel Tower, which comes in very handy when planning your Paris itinerary.
But even if you don’t pair it with a visit to the Eiffel Tower, the Seine river cruise is one of the loveliest activities in Paris. It is touristy, sure, but you are granted incredible views of Paris and the complete change of perspective is simply spectacular.
A cruise on the Seine is as well a great thing to do in Paris at night!
As a little plus: a boat tour is nicely relaxing. With a bit of luck, you have even a mild and sunny spring day in May and you can sit outside and enjoy the sun while marveling at the Parisian sceneries.
Below, you find a little overview of the most popular Seine Cruises:
• Seine Cruise & Eiffel Tower bundle
• Seine Cruise & Crêpe Tasting
• 1h Seine Sightseeing Cruise
Learn how to bake tasty Macarons with a Parisian Chef
Macarons are the signature pastries of Paris, you find them at every corner and you absolutely need to try them. The little airy bites are creamy, crunchy, and extremely delicious, and who would have guessed, not too demanding to bake. Especially not when guided by a Parisian Pâtissier or Pâtissière who fills you in on the craft.
What is going on in Paris in May 2022?
You’ll never get bored when in Paris. From exhibitions, concerts, and seasonal events to holidays and traditional festivities—the Paris event calendar is not letting you catch your breath.
until May 09 – Foire de Paris, The Grand Paris Expo
The Foire de Paris happens yearly at the Convention Center at Porte de Versailles and is the largest general-purpose fair in Europe. It’s a great place to check out new products, clever inventions or just to buy retail goods, often at a reduced price.
until May 29 – Foire du Trône
The popular and massive springtime funfair has a more than 1000 (yes, a thousand) year-long tradition. Until the 29th of May, you find it near the Bois de Vincennes, where you can enjoy more than 350 attractions and as well food stalls selling candies, churros, and many other treats.
01 May – Fête de Travail (Labor Day)
The 1st of May is the only day of the year when you have to expect everything to be closed in Paris. Sights and museums included. The only sight that remains open is the Eiffel Tower! Hence, if you are in Paris on the 1st of May, book your Eiffel Tower tickets quickly!
Traditionally, women are offered muguet on the 1st of May, Lillies of the valley. You find vendors everywhere around this day.
08 May – Victory Day
Victory day is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of The Greater German Reich in 1945. Usually, the President lays down flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier by the Arc de Triomphe.
12-15 May – Taste of Paris Festival
One of the best food festivals in Paris, where the famous chefs come together and let you sample their extraordinary creations. Try Michelin Star cuisine, new trends, and food from rising stars in the cooking scene. Sample sized and served by the chefs themselves in pop-up restaurants.
14 May – Museums Night
The Museums Night is finally back! Visit many of the Parisian top Museums until midnight, participate in workshops, join a tour, see a screening… just to name a few of the activities that are happening during the Museums Night – and the best: it’free of charge!
16 – 21 May – Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival
The 21st Edition of the Saint-Germain-des Prés Jazz Festival has as well a full event calendar. If you are a Jazz fan or like to visit a concert while visiting Paris in May, this is your perfect occasion.
22 May – 05 June – French Open
This major tennis tournament is held each year in the stadium of Roland Garros in Paris. It’s quickly sold out but check here if there are still tickets available.
26 May – Ascension
A public holiday in France that falls on a Thursday in 2022. Shops will be closed, but museums and sights remain open. It will likely be the fullest weekend in May in Paris, as many French will “faire le pont“, using it as a bridge day to benefit from a long weekend. If you are traveling on this weekend to Paris, make sure to book your tickets in advance! Paris will be packed.
29 May – fête de mère/mother’s day
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