Sundays in Paris are considered sacred: public offices are closed, as are many restaurants, museums and some tourist attractions. The French often spend the day with family, enjoying a meal that lasts into the evening hours. But unlike elsewhere in France, where most towns close up entirely for the day, Paris still offers tons to do on this French day of rest. Places like the Eiffel Tower and the Georges Pompidou museum are open on Sundays, but if you’ve already expired these options during your stay, check out some of these ideas for spending a relaxed Sunday, loved by locals and tourists alike.
Leisurely Sunday Brunch à La Parisienne…
The French are admittedly not known for their brunches, but they are certainly known for their cuisine. So, while a French brunch may involve smoked salmon and croissants instead of the traditional Anglo-Saxon pancake-egg-bacon ensemble, it is still prepared with that famous French haute cuisine in mind. Delicious, albeit a tad pricey, the Paris brunch has become one of the hottest Sunday outings for everyone from twenty-something hipsters to the sophisticated rive gauche breed.
For a peaceful, bohemian-chic spot, try L’Estaminet or L’Echappee in the east of the city. For 20-25 euros, you can choose between a variety of sweet and savory dishes, hot and cold beverages, cakes, scones and French toast. If you’re looking for something slightly more upscale, indulge at Un Dimanche à Paris, where a brunch of foie gras, pear and crème de cassis, a mini-éclair and melted hot chocolate will cost you a pretty penny (55 euros) but will be worth every scrumptious bite.
Amble at Paris Markets
If you’re in Paris on a Sunday, you should probably head over for a good stroll at les puces de Clignancourt. This massive, snaking flea market in the north of the city is bursting with everything from sportswear and shoes to musical instruments, clothing and antiques. The largest flea market in Paris and perhaps the world (according to its claims), Les Puces’s 2,500 stalls are a fabulous place to get lost in, to find that hidden treasure, or simply to people-watch. Local brocantes (yard sales) are also popular in Paris on Sundays, and if you’re lucky, you may happen upon one as you sight-see.
Marché aux Puces, 7 impasse Simon, 75018
Laze the Day Away
While Paris’s sunny days are a dime a dozen, they are truly and utterly glorious when they arise. If you manage to catch Paris’s good weather on a Sunday, do like the Parisians and profitez – take advantage. Stroll along the Seine as you gaze at the Eiffel Tower, enjoy a rose-shaped gelato at Amorino, or take a picnic to the Canal St Martin in the east of the city. Meander through the Pere Lachaise cemetery while searching for the tombs of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Chopin. If you have a little extra time, head to the outskirts of the city to the sprawling Bois de Vincennes park. There, you’ll find rowboat and pony rides, and an idyllic lake with walking paths and grassy spots to picnic or lounge.
Sip Hot Cocoa
The French really know how to do chocolate, with dozens of specialty shops spread across the city. But for a true delicacy on a lazy Sunday, stop in at Angelina’s tearoom, just steps from the Louvre museum. There, you’ll find one of the best mugs of hot chocolate in Paris – think a chocolate bar melted into a thick, drinkable liquid – which is simply too heavenly for words. If that’s not your cup of tea, sink your teeth into one of their chocolate éclairs, multi-flavored macaroons or lemon tarts. They also serve breakfast and lunch.
Angelina’s: 226 rue de Rivoli, 75001
Take a Segway Tour
One of the best thing about Paris on Sundays is that the streets are marvelously quiet. Most Parisians are at home, having leisurely lunches with their family, or are out strolling and taking in the city just like you are. There are far fewer cars taking up space and sending out those choking emissions. It’s a perfect day for taking a Segway Tour of the city– a quirky, ecologically friendly, and thoroughly enjoyable way to see the city. Book a Segway tour now for a perfect Sunday in Paris, day or night!