There are so many ways to spend a sunny day during a visit to Paris. After you’ve strolled the Champs-Élysées and lingered in the Louvre, there’s nothing quite like unwinding with a good book. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor reading spots—and some book suggestions—for when the warm weather rolls in.
The Left Bank
The UNESCO-recognized Left Bank of the Seine has long been known as a haven for creativity. Artists, intellectuals and students have flocked here throughout history and its appeal is still strong today. Along Les Berges, a recently pedestrianized stretch of the bank, you’ll find plenty of places to take a seat, settle in with a good read and enjoy the beautiful backdrop of boats passing by.
What to read: Anything from the bouquinistes, or booksellers, who can be found from Quai Voltaire to Quai de la Tournelle on the Left Bank. The iconic green boxes that line the Seine hold a huge variety of vintage books, maps, magazines and artwork.
The Tuileries Garden
Just across the river along the Right Bank lies the expansive Tuileries Garden, which has been a public park for hundreds of years. Full of greenery, sculptures and fountains, this is one of the best places to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy stunning views of the Louvre. Find a spot at one of the many green metal chairs scattered throughout the park, which is also one of our favorite places to picnic in Paris.
What to read: The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner is a funny and thought-provoking memoir—and one of our team’s favorite travel books. While it’s not set in Paris, it follows one man’s journey to the ten “happiest” countries in the world.
The Champ de Mars
The sprawling green space known as the Champ de Mars stretches out from the Eiffel Tower to the École Militaire in the 7th arrondissement. Even with its proximity to the legendary landmark, there is still plenty of room to relax here on a warm afternoon. Bring a blanket and soak up the sunshine in one of the city’s most picturesque spots. Stick around until nightfall to catch a glimpse of the illuminated, sparkling Eiffel Tower—a must-see during any visit to Paris.
What to read: For a captivating story set during World War II in France, check out Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winner All the Light We Cannot See.
A sidewalk cafe
If you love pairing your book with a side of caffeine, there’s no shortage of cafes to choose from when you’re in the French capital. Turn around every street corner and you’ll find an array of bustling sidewalk cafes—just grab a seat, order some coffee and open up your latest read. For a literary-themed visit, stop by Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain des Prés. This favorite meeting spot of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir and other members of the Lost Generation is still open for business today.
What to read: Try The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for a fresh perspective on Paris in the 1920s. This historical fiction tale is told from the point of view of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson.
Have you found the perfect outdoor reading spot in Paris or another city you’ve visited? Tell us about it in the comments below!