Les vacances (the annual month-long vacation) is on everyone's mind as August approaches and tout le monde flee Paris for their annual vacation. But, it's a Paris Insiders secret that August is one of the best months to visit — the weather is great and, with much smaller crowds, the city becomes your own personal playground.
August 15 is a holiday in France (the Assumption) and many things in Paris will be shut down, including most stores.
Escape the summer heat by attending a classical music concert at the stained-glass masterpiece, La Sainte Chapelle, located on the île de la Cité (the big island in the Seine River). August is also the perfect time to take a day trip beyond the gates of Paris to the Monet's Gardens in Giverny, the summer fountain shows at the Palace of Versailles or the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy. One more thing — for readers of Paris Insiders Guide (that's you!) the Paris Pass is offering a 10% discount when you use Paris Insiders Exclusive Discount Code: INGUIDE10.
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This is an Insiders Secret we're happy to share. The Eiffel Tower gets well over 7 million visitors a year. That means the lines are always long. So, pre-book this skip-the-line tour that takes you on a champagne-fueled cruise down the Seine and then zips you past the lines and right up to the top of the tower for a view or Paris by night. Highly recommended.
A complete night on the town. This popular tour combines the best of Paris — visit the Eiffel Tower, take an evening dinner cruise along the Seine, and then be whisked over to the Moulin Rouge for champagne and a show. All the details are taken care of. Remember, you're on vacation, let someone else do the planning work!
Summer's a great time for this fun guided cycling tour around the most famous landmarks of Paris. Stop for a cone at the Bertillon the city's most celebrated ice cream shop and then hop on a river boat for a nighttime cruise along the Seine. A glass of wine is included, of course!
We love this summer 2-in-1 activity. Ride the train to Versailles (tickets included) to meet your guide and bikes. Cruise the countryside as you glide through forests and pastures, to the local market, to the gardens of Versailles and past the historic grounds & buildings. You use your VIP skip-the-line passes to explore the chateau as long as you like. This makes for a wonderful day, but be sure to book right now!
On a glorious August evening make time for this tour of the dark side of the City of Light. Explore the winding streets and hidden alleys of a city with over 2000 years of history. In that amount of time there have arisen lots of legends and stories about ghosts, the Black Plague, wars, and the unexplained. Our readers love this walking adventure led by an informative guide.
With three iconic activities this is sure to be one of your most memorable evenings in Paris. Start with a river cruise, watching the lights of Paris drift by. Then see more city lights on a tour of the rest of the city. Afterwards, relax over dinner at a restaurant on the the famous Champs — 3-courses plus wine, of course.
Here's another way to to have a lot of fun during an evening in Paris. 9 million people visit the Louvre every year, and that means lineups. But this tour walks you past the ticket lines and right to the best artwork in the Louvre. After the museum closes you go to a cute wine bar to end the evening with tastings.
One of our most appreciated pieces of advice is this — arrange your transportation from the airport into central Paris, in advance. Be prepared and know what's going to happen when you arrive. An easy and affordable way is to book a shuttle van service right to your hotel. It's convenient and cheaper than a Paris taxi.
But here's our very best tip, and a real Insiders Secret — transfer in a private car from the airport. After a long flight we appreciate the extra comfort of having our Paris pal and professional driver, Manu, meet us at the arrivals gate and whisk us into the city in his Mercedes S-Class. It's the only way to do it!
Versailles is a symbol both of grandeur and of royal decadence. So the chateaux and gardens are don't-miss destinations when you're in Paris — and so close that it's an easy day trip. Instead of worrying about trains, maps and guide books, we recommend you go the royal route. Book a private van with a driver/guide to make the past come alive. Includes transportation to and from your hotel.
If you're like us, you love getting behind the scenes. (Heck, that's why we call ourselves "Insiders Guide" !) This VIP tour lets you experience the Versailles most tourists will never see — the apartments, the personal library and the Royal Chapel built for Marie Antoinette. Tour the Hall of Mirrors just as the doors of the palace open and before the crowds arrive.
During the summer months catch the famous fountain show at Versailles. This tour takes all of the work out of getting there and includes entrance fees. You're picked up at your hotel and delivered back at the end of the day. The fountain displays are choreographed with music from the court of Louis XIV. A gourmet lunch is included at the Petite Venise restaurant.
If you want to feel even more special, try this — our Paris Concierge has created magnificent private tours to Versailles. Your driver/guide meets you at your Paris address in a private car and whisks you past the ticket lines for an extensive tour geared to your interests. The full-day tour includes a gourmet lunch.
This beautiful Renaissance valley is known for more that just its famous chateaux. The Loire Valley also produces world-renowned wines. This tour gets you guided tours into the 3 most famous castles and it also includes a guided wine tasting of the best varietals from the region. That all happens during a bountiful French lunch. It's like two trips in one!
It was 72 years ago that the end of WWII began on the beaches of Normandy. Ride through the beautiful Normandy countryside on your way to vist the most important sites of that war: memorials, landing beaches and cemeteries. We strongly recommend the small group tour in which your driver picks you up at your Paris address. Lunch is included.
August is just about the most perfect time to visit Claude Monet's home — the gardens will be at the peak of the season. Monet spent the last 43 years of his life painting his famous gardens, the Japanese bridge and the waterlilies. This is a small-group tour by Euro van with hotel pickup and return included.
Focus on the bubbly on a day trip to the famous Champagne country, only an hour from Paris. Get picked up at your Paris address and driven through the beautiful wine country to visit the most famous champagne houses. Finish with a guided tasting of the Grand Crus of Champagne. Sip as much as you want, your expert guide is doing the driving!
There's a world of France to explore just outside the gates of Paris. Here we've discussed only a few of the most popular day trips, but there are plenty more. Did you know that you can visit Bruges (Belgium), Mont Saint-Michel, and even London on a day trip from Paris? Read about the magical choices.
• Essential Day Trips – Our Reviews…
• Go Deeper into France – Private Day Tours from Paris…
What we like about the Paris Pass is that it saves money & time. You get into the museums for free and ride the Metro for free. But the big advantage is that you get to bypass the ticket lines. If you've ever stood in line for hours at the Louvre or d'Orsay, you'll appreciate how nice it would be to just walk up to the door and show your Paris Pass
Now, we're able to offer a special discount, exclusively for our readers, that gives you an additional 10% on all 4-day and 6-day passes. What used to be just a good deal is now a great deal. And, since the clock doesn't start ticking on the Paris Pass until you first use it, you can buy it up to a year in advance. Be sure to use the discount code: INGUIDE10.
This jewel of Paris with massive stained glass walls and soaring ceilings was built in the 13th century and was restored in the 19th century. This month, well-known classical musicians will perform timeless pieces at the stunning French Gothic church, La Sainte Chapelle. This will be the perfect way to spend a sizzling August evening in Paris.
Want to have a VIP experience at the 850 year old Cathedral? Only ticket holders are allowed during these special evening performances.
Here's the Big List of all concerts in August.
France, Paris, Wine — they just go together, don't they? Take the chance to learn about the country's wine regions and taste the wines, with guidance from an expert sommelier. We recommend the 2-hour grand cru tasting — it gives us a rare opportunity to taste some of the finest wines of France. It all takes place in a charming wine cellar very near the Louvre.
If wine and Paris go together, what about Paris, chocolate and pastries? Is it a wonder that our readers like this guided walking tour? Get behind-the-scenes of traditional French desserts, including regional specialities. Along with plenty of sampling of course!
French food? How about enjoying some of the best of it during a three-hour cruise down the Seine in a luxury yacht? This epicurean activity is curated by our Paris Concierge and features a three-course gourmet meal prepared by a Michelin chef. Night in the City of Lights — combine romance, fine dining, and a view of Paris riverside.
We all know that Paris is a food capital and you find out exactly why on this walking tour. Visit and sample tastings at small speciality shops in an iconic neighborhood with a food-expert guide. Boulangeries, cheese shops, charcuteries, foie gras merchants, a street market — there's a lot to experience and a lot learn about French food.
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Can't make it to the beach? No worries, the beach will come to you. 30 days of summer, 1350 tons of sand, 2 miles of Seine banks and 250 umbrellas.
• On the banks of the Seine
• Ends August 21, 2016
So many fantastic Paris museums, so little time. We've put together the highlights of popular exhibits during the month of August. You may not have heard about the painter Charles Gleyre, but he's been called the father of impressionist painting. After all, he taught the greats — Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Whistler. You do know about Picasso's paintings, but maybe not his sculptures. Discover his sculptures, prints, & photographs at the Picasso Museum.
Discover What's On When You're There
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