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Paris in the heat and kids

We are flying into Paris this week and I see it's going to be in the 90s. Our kids, 8 & 11, aren't used to the heat given that we live in San Francisco where our summers are in the mid-60s with fog. Our first full day is Wednesday and I'm considering the following itinerary:

Luxembourg gardens
La Gueze for lunch (a favorite of my husbands)
Cluny Museum
Dinner with friends
(I'm fighting the urge to throw more into this itinerary)

We are in Paris till Saturday so I'm trying to figure out how to best plan the remaining days. Would something similar to the above make sense? So, Park, museum during mid day heat, dinner, picnic or Seine night cruise? Another option I'm thinking of is renting bikes or going on a bike tour. We ride in SF so we're used to city riding but not so much riding in the heat. Any thoughts on this welcome too!

Posted by
2047 posts

Just heard they've opened the Seine "beach" until August 21. Sounds like something kids would enjoy.

Posted by
4509 posts

Some heat comments:

The heat will be dry by US standards, Europe rarely is muggy (maybe Venice)

Paris is pretty far north so the sun not so strong, same latitude as Vancouver.

It will cool down at night

Kids are resilient, they may not care. Lucky you won't be in DC for the same time frame, that's hot.

I'm surprised you're even giving a 93 forecast any thought; better than rain.

Posted by
3391 posts

We've spent quite a few summers in Paris and it can be downright hot...the heat usually last only for a few days and then breaks.
If it's hot in the middle of the day, AND YOUR KIDS ARE BRAVE (you know them best!), consider the catacombs. It's downright cold down there under the ground and is a nice respite from the heat...gets you cooled off for an hour or two! Make sure to get tickets ahead of time...the lines get extremely long.
You can rent little sailboats to push around the "bassin" in Luxembourg Gardens but it is in the direct sun.
Any museum or large church will be much cooler inside...the Louvre is absolutely HUGE and your children are of an age that some of it should hold their attention for a couple of hours...maybe focus on the Egyptian collection...afterwards you can head to the Jardin du Palais Royal for a snack and something to drink.
Luxembourg Gardens also has a well-shaded play structure not far from the tennis courts on the west side of the gardens. I used to take my son there frequently to meet other kids from all over the world and just have some fun play time.
The Paris Plage is always fun...they truck in tons of sand and build beaches on the quay along the Seine. There are lots of activities for kids to take part in.
If you want to make a day trip out of the city you can go to Versailles. Rather than fight the crushing crowds inside the palace, go behind the palace to the Grand Canal and rent bikes to ride around the grounds. There is plenty of shade, you can visit Marie Antoinette's Petite Hameau and get away from all the people fairly quickly. The grounds are quite vast and you can picnic in the woods, or next to a lake or a wheat field. It's really a nice day out!

Posted by
2114 posts

Maybe someone else can confirm, but best I recall (from a trip a decade ago), I don't think the Cluny is air conditioned. We were on a RS tour at the time, it was a hot day, and we just about melted.

Perhaps another person can recommend an air conditioned museum.

Bikes in the heat could be a challenge, if you and your kids are not used to biking in the heat.

If all else fails, take lots of cafe breaks with those wonderful shaved ice lemon drinks (specify non-alcohol when you order...we got surprised).

Seine cruise at night is very pleasant.

Posted by
665 posts

We (2 adults and a teen) were in Paris July 2014 amid a brutal heat wave. Honestly, it was hard to do anything, the heat was so oppressive -- it was much, much worse than Venice and Rome, just a week prior. Museums (Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie) were good daytime choices. We climbed the Eifell Tower at 9:00 p.m., which was definitely a good strategy. I'd say try to plan as much as you can for evenings, and if things aren't open evenings, try for early mornings. Plan your big leisurely meal for lunch time and find places with a/c. And just cross some things off your list (like climbing up Notre Dame) unless the heat breaks. Good luck!!

Posted by
7245 posts

I would recommend using the Metro as much as possible - consider the week pass. Then you can easily move between locations and head to parks each day for an hour.

Posted by
17854 posts

Don't count on much US style air conditioning. Everything will be warmer than what you are accustomed to. Dress light, hydrate, stay in the shade ..... and enjoy?

Posted by
8421 posts

Be flexible. We were in Paris last July when it was in the 90s and it was very humid. We are used to hot, humid weather where we live, but it still sapped our strength and willingness to go long distances in town. I can't imagine bike riding in that heat. If its sunny beware the sunburn. Wear hats.

Posted by
11507 posts

I have been in paris when its hot, and no, it did not cool down much at night at all! I will never forget sitting across from my hubby at a cafe, 10 at night, and a bead of sweat ran down his chest. Ugh.
Most museums are airconditioned , but not like we would expect( not as cool) plus in very crowded museums the crowds alone generate heat.
I can suggest the Inavalids Army museum, its never crowded and my kids enjoyed seeing the medieval weapons and horse armour. Plus here are marble ledges insude that i would sit on, they are so nice and cool.

Catacombs are always nice and cool, but for many young kids too scary( my 11 yr old did no want to visit them, but my 13 and 1 4 yr olds loved them.

Your kids are a good age for Paris Plage , there are sprinklers they can run under to cool down, and you can get a beer or cider from the consessions and watch kids play and eat ice cream. ,any local families take their dinner down there to eat , its lovely in he evening.

Take the days slow, the heat can wear you down. Stop for lots of ice cream.

Posted by
4509 posts

Forecast for Wednesday is 91 with a dew point of 60. This fairly comfortable weather. Trotting out horror stories from select heat waves is not very helpful when it's days away and the forecast isn't bad.

Posted by
3948 posts

Take the metro to the Jaurez stop and go to the even more kid friendly Paris Plage along the Bassin de la Villette. It starts this week. Google it for images of families having fun around the canal. On the weekends you can take a canal boat ride for 1-2€ up the Cite de Science.

Carry water with you when you are out and about.

Posted by
102 posts

We are also from the SF area and were in Italy recently. It felt quite hot to us, even though it wasn't a heat wave. Our hotels had air conditioning and we controlled the temperature so we're were able to make our rooms nice and cool. If you have that ability, you might consider mid-day breaks in the room. We even got take away lunch to eat in the room a few times because we really wanted that nice cool air conditioning.

Posted by
46 posts

Granted, it was many years ago that I was in Paris in the summer, but I remember Napoleon's Tomb at the Hotel des Invalides being a great place to cool down.

Posted by
2466 posts

Hopefully you are staying in a hotel, which will have reliable air-conditioning, so you can be comfortable at night.
It is now - and will be - brutally hot, with no clouds in the sky, for the next several days. You'll need to move much more slowly than you normally do, stay in the shade, and drink tap water even if you aren't thirsty. Wear lightweight, light colored clothes and hats. Don't eat large meals, stick to appetizers or main dish salads.
If you go on a bike ride, check the route - some are much more dangerous than others, and wouldn't be suitable for younger children. Perhaps the one in the Marais would be a good choice, but you should go on the earliest available tour, otherwise, you'll become overheated.
A nighttime cruise on the Seine is a very good idea - try to go as late as possible, when it will be coolest.
IMHO, Paris Plage is best enjoyed at the Bassin de la Villette end, where there is much more to do. The part of PP near Hotel de Ville is just sand, ice cream and a couple of cafes where you wouldn't want to eat. On the Left Bank, there are more cafes with better food, and some activities like hopscotch for kids.

Posted by
11507 posts

tom.. I melt and die in 90 degree weather.. you must be used to it to call it me its horrifying hot.. see that's my point.. it does depend on each persons heat tolerance.. and what they are used to..

Note.. kids can get heat stroke easier than adults, make sure they drink enough water.. and if they seem quieter than usual.. get them into a cool place to cool down
I have actually ducked into grocery stores because their cold sections are nice and cold.. I recommend the Monoprix on Boulevard St Michel.. a big food floor is on the basement level and besides being a great place to pick up some food, its a guaranteed cool down.

Posted by
9549 posts

Yes, I think Tom simply doesn't have an idea of what 93 degrees in Paris feels like.

I'm from Oklahoma, so I'm a bit more used to temperatures in the 100s in the summers. But it gets pretty miserable here with anything upwards of about 85. Things didn't used to get this hot, so nothing is really adapted for it. If the temperature stays up for several days running and it doesn't go down at night, sleeping becomes a faraway memory.

So yes, it sounds odd, but 93 is really yucky here and is when I stay inside with all the windows CLOSED so the hot air doesn't come in. But what do I know, I just live here.

Posted by
650 posts

Not exactly a kid spot, but we were at Neopleons tomb today and it might as well have been air conditioned. All that marble and thick wall keep it cool.

It's cooler on the river. A cruise might be good.

We are getting up early, napping after lunch and going back out in the evening. We saw lots of people out with kids this evening.

Posted by
838 posts

My advice is to bring (and wear!) sun hats. They really help in the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Move slowly! Eat ice cream! And take a break when you're feeling tired. Get out early when it is cooler. Take a rest in the late afternoon.

My kids really perked up when we had ice cream.

Posted by
2466 posts

PS - in case anyone is concerned about safety, the City has increased patrols in the parks, so that they will remain "family-friendly". We went last week to les Buttes Chaumont and it was full of people enjoying themselves.
Getting back via Metro is easy and safe, there are always people (even with young kids) out until at least midnight.

Posted by
11507 posts

Buttes Chaumont would be a lovely place for kids.. so much grass.. that you CAN walk on.. lol .. and trees, so shady.. Kid will love feeding the ducks too.

Posted by
3696 posts

Traveling to Europe in the summer when it is so hot I try to readjust my day. I will get up really early just to wander around, grab a coffee and see the city before everyone else gets going. I will usually take pictures, eat breakfast and make my way to whatever site I want to see... or do your bike ride.
Once it starts to get too hot with tons of other tourists I will try and grab lunch, go back to my hotel (maybe you will have a pool) let the kids swim, take a little siesta. Freshen up with a shower and go back out for the evening. If you go to some of the museums an hour or two before closing you will not find all the crowds or lines. Once the sun goes down it is far more pleasant, although it can still be hot it is easier for me to maintain my energy if I have not been dragging around in the worst heat of the day.

Posted by
10176 posts

It's all the concrete, old stones, and asphalt absorbing and reflecting the heat that saps your strength and doesn't let up into the night. Whereas tourists may look for air conditioning, few locals have it. So life slows down, everyone sleeps with their windows open but shutters closed listening to neighbors cough and snore. As Kim said, it didn't used to be this way. The first heat wave I encountered was in 1976, but then the next four summers were cool and cloudy in Paris with the sun poking out from behind the clouds for about only an hour a day. The city is adjusting as this seems to be the new reality.
Let us know how you and the children do.

Posted by
2466 posts

There are fountains, "mirrors" (basically continuously wet pavement), and drinking fountains in many areas of Paris. When it's really hot, the guards look the other way and let people plunge in.
Look for those tall green fountains with the statues of the 3 Muses - there's a label on the side describing what's in the city tap water - cool and drinkable. Carry your own bottle.

Unfortunately, security guards are confiscating empty or full bottles at the Eiffel Tower and other "sensitive" areas. You'll have to buy something to drink after you pass security.

Posted by
4509 posts

I see the forecast has dropped 10+ degrees so heat probably not an issue. I guess I have been at too many soccer games in the middle of the day at 95 with a 75 degree dew point with kids running all out without complaining to think much of kids walking in 92 with a 65 dew point.

Posted by
8340 posts

A good plan is to do outside activities primarily in the early morning and evening and choose inside (preferably air conditioned) activities during the main heat of the day.

We had a great time renting bikes while in Paris and riding along the river. I am sure your kids would enjoy that as well.