18 Best Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Paris (Museums to Attractions)

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What to Do in Paris When it Rains from Museums to Attractions

Did you know that on average it rains more in Paris than in London? I know, I was surprised too, but it has also rained at least once every time I’ve visited Paris. In fact, it rains a lot during the summer in Paris, which is also one of the most popular times to visit. So, there is a good chance you see rain in your Paris forecast. Don’t worry though, because there are tons of fun things to do on a rainy day in Paris!

Below are the top Paris activities and places I believe are totally worth checking out on a rainy day in Paris. From beautiful churches, museums, attractions, and hidden gems, I have you covered.

Visiting Sainte Chapelle on a rainy day in Paris - beautiful stained glass
Visiting Sainte Chapelle is a great rainy day activity

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Tour a Paris Museum

You’re probably already well aware that Paris is home to some of the most popular and most visited museums in the world. Even if museums are not your go-to, I think you should make Paris the exception. Plus, this is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Paris!

Plus, visiting one of these historic museums can easily take up one to two hours of your day where, hopefully, as you exit, the rain will have stopped.

The most famous museum in Paris is the Louvre Museum! You know, the museum that has the glass pyramids. It is a top attraction in Paris and the perfect place to spend a rainy day. This is actually the most popular museum in the world, so planning a visit on a rainy day is just a tad bit difficult as you should generally have tickets beforehand. Even without tickets, you can still wait in line, but make sure you have an umbrella handy as there is no shelter.

This museum is HUGE, so you can spend hours here – hey, Mona Lisa. She’s actually smaller than I expected.

Musée d’Orsay is another favorite museum of mine in Paris. Inside, you’ll find a collection of artwork from various well-known artists, including Van Gogh. It is much smaller than the Louvre, and many say they like it more, but to me, it is like comparing apples to oranges. I love them both.

If you need a museum that’s a little more kid-friendly, try the National Museum of Natural History (Muséum national d’histoire naturelle). This museum is always changing up some exhibitions, so even if you’ve visited before, you may get a new experience.

Other museums worth visiting include:

Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Musée d’Orsay in Paris is great on a rainy day
Musée d’Orsay

Explore Sainte-Chapelle

One of the coolest things to do on a rainy day in Paris is touring inside the Sainte-Chapelle. In my humble opinion, it has some of the best-stained glass in the world. Built in the centre of the Ile-de-la-Cité, Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248 for King Louis IX. It was here the King wanted the relics of the Passion of the Christ to be. One of the most famous relics was the Crown of Thrones. The price actually exceeded the Chapel itself.

Today, the chapel is truly a piece of art. Once you enter, you will be in awe of the stained-glass windows, which are originals. The windows tell stories from the Old and New Testaments. You will also be able to see the oldest wall painting in Paris, a 13th-century fresco.

At the chapel, you can decide to either have a self-guided tour or, if you visit at either 11 AM or 3 PM, you can experience a guided tour. If you don’t go with a tour (I didn’t), they have wood panels on the lefthand side in different languages explaining the scenes on each panel of glass.

I must admit that this church gets crowded rather quickly because it’s not that large. Therefore, I would recommend going early if possible. To access the chapel, you can either use the bus or Metro. The Châtelet Metro station is the closest.

Hours: April – September 9 AM – 7 PM. Last entry at 6:30 PM. October – March 9 AM – 5 PM. Last entry is at 4:30 PM. Closed January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Admission: 11.50 Euros

Address: 10, boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris

Sainte-Chapelle in Paris

Explore the Conciergerie

Located right next to the Sainte-Chapelle, is the Conciergerie, which was once a palace. Due to their proximity, they offer a combo ticket to visit both attractions, and it is a great way to continue your rainy day in Paris.

This beautiful building was first a palace, next a courthouse, then a prison, and now a place you get to explore. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famously played a central role in the French Revolution. It is also where Marie Antoinette was held before her execution at Place de la Concorde.

Like Sainte-Chapelle, you can also do a group guided tour at 11 AM and 3 PM at no additional cost. It lasts for about 1 hour. Registration needs to be done upon arrival at the reception desk as there is no reservation in advance.

Admission: Bundled price of €18.50; Single Admission: €11.50

Hours: 9:30 AM – 5 PM

Address: 2 Boulevard Du Palais 75001 Paris

Conciergerie in Paris

Discover the Catacombs

One of the more unique ways to escape the rainy weather is to visit the Paris Catacombs. This underground ossuary is pretty cool if you don’t mind being around century-old bones! Officially opening to the public in 1809, you can see several millions of Parisians within these tunnels. The last bone deposits were in 1860, so when visiting, you’re really stepping into a pastime.

The cemetery is 1,500 meters long and takes about an hour to explore. Because this is a very popular attraction, it can be a little hard to plan on a rainy day, but if you check the forecast for the week and notice rain, I would go ahead and book your tickets.

They also sometimes offer to purchase tickets the morning before, so continue to check their official website.

Read: Top Paris Travel Tips – Especially for First-timers

Opening Hours: Tuesday through Sunday: 9:45 AM – 8:30 PM

Admission: $24 -$30

Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

visiting the Catacombs at night in Paris
photo Violin/despositphotos

Shop at Galeries Lafayette

Since you are in the fashion capital of the world, why not take cover from the rain and indulge in a little bit of shopping?

The Galeries Lafayette is one of the best shopping malls in Paris. You’ll find a huge selection of clothing, perfume brands, and wellness products. You’ll also get to browse products from renowned designer fashion brands such as Burberry, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.

You don’t even need to necessarily buy anything. I believe just browsing around this incredible building is an experience within itself. Make sure to check out the incredible stained glass dome. For the best views of the dome, there is a nine-meter glass walkway on the third floor. During Christmas time, they deck out the whole shopping center in decorations – which you have likely seen on social media.

You can even stop by for something to eat at one of the many restaurants inside. If the rain clears up, head to the rooftop, where you can take in some of the best free views in Paris.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 8.30 PM; Sundays and public holidays from 11 AM to 8 PM

Address: 40, Boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris

Galeries Lafayette Stained Glass dome
Galeries Lafayette Stained Glass dome
Galeries Lafayette details
Galeries Lafayette details

Browse through Shakespeare and Company

I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a rainy day in Paris than browsing through a bookstore. If you are a book lover, then you will adore Shakespeare and Company.

This independent bookstore is located on the banks of the River Seine, just opposite Notre Dame, and is SO adorable. Aside from that, the history behind this shop is such a humbling one.

The bookstore was opened in 1951 and was once a popular meeting place for writers and readers. The owner, George Whitman, allowed writers and artists to stay overnight in the shop completely for free. It is actually thought that over 30,000 young writers have stayed within the shop.

Inside the bookstore now, you’ll find a huge variety of different books. One thing for sure is that popping into this lovely bookstore to avoid the weather will be such a cozy experience (it will be made even better if you’re traveling in the fall).

Before or after your visit, I suggest stopping in at Odette Pastry Shop, which compliments a rainy day adventure.

Read: France Travel Guide

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30 AM – 8 PM; Sunday: 12 PM to 7 PM

Address: 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France

Wander Around Passage des Panoramas

Escape to Passage des Panoramas and be transported into a completely different time. Not only is it considered a historical monument, but it is also the first covered passage in Paris! It was built way back in 1799, and the passage has certainly retained its charm and character.

The passage features a glass roof, so you’ll be sheltered from the rain, and you can pop into the various shops or dine at one of the Cafes.

Opening Hours: 6 AM – 12 AM

Address: 11 Boulevard Montmartre – 75002 Paris

Passage des Panoramas in Paris
photo: bellena/depositphotos

Take a Covered Boat Ride Down the Seine

You’ll be surprised at how cozy a covered boat ride down the river scene is in Paris. Rain or shine, I always recommend adding it to your Paris itinerary – especially if it’s your first time. In fact, during my last visit, my mom and I put on raincoats and enjoyed the views from the top of the boat anyway!

Psst! Get my Detailed 5 Day in Paris Itinerary

There are a ton of Seine Cruise tours, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one last minute. On the cruise, you’ll get to see some of the best Paris attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and some incredible bridges.

I have always done the regular audio tour, but if you want something a little extra, you can join a cruise that includes drinks or even a three-course meal for you to enjoy.

Sam Opp and mom on Seine River Cruise at night in Paris

Peek Inside the Pantheon

The Pantheon is an iconic church in Paris, and while it is not as popular as some of the other Paris attractions, it is another nice thing to do in Paris when it’s raining. Ordered by King Louis XV, this building dates back to 1791 and is rich in history.

Aside from being an architectural gem, the building also houses some wonderful art pieces. Make sure to visit the Crypt, and you can technically go to the top for an observation point if it is not too cloudy!

As for accessing the building, the nearest Metro station is Cardinal-Lemoine.

Admission: 11.50 €

Opening Hours: April to September: 10 AM – 6:30 PM; October to March: 10 AM – 6 PM

Address: Sorbonne 2 rue Cujas 75005 Paris cedex 05

Explore Inside Sacré Coeur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris)

Located in one of my favorite Paris neighborhoods (Montmartre), Sacre Coeur Basilica is a great place to head to on a rainy day in Paris. Maybe the only downside of visiting in the rain is that there is almost always a line because it’s free to visit. Did I mention there is no place to shelter you from the rain? But, the line moves relatively fast, so just have your umbrella handy!

This is a Roman Catholic Church and has some of the best architecture I have seen in Paris. Plus, it’s perched on a hilltop overlooking the city! Inside, you’ll find the largest mosaic in France and a dome where you can view 360-degree views of Paris.

One thing to remember is that this is still a place of worship, so remember to be respectful.

Paris Travel Tip: This is a very hilly area, so if stairs are not for you, take the Funiculaire Gare Basse, which will bring you to the top.

Opening Hours: Daily 6:30 AM – 8:30 PM. Dome access starts at 10:30 AM.

Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Touring inside the Sacre Coeur basilica is a great activity on a rainy day in Paris

Enjoy Parisian Hot Chocolate on a Rainy Day

One of the best things about visiting Paris during the rainy or cold weather is getting to experience all the hot drinks. Parisian hot chocolate is some of the best, and you definitely need to try it! I know you have seen those viral videos online of the thick creamy chocolate and whipped cream!

If I were to name some of my favorite top spots to have a classic Parisian hot chocolate, it would be:

  • Angelina Paris
  • Carette
  • Les Deux Magots
  • Ladurée (also famous for their macarons)
  • Charles Chocolatier

Moreover, there are plenty of Cafes and bakeries dotted around Paris where you can pop in to purchase a hot chocolate and even treat yourself to a dessert.

Laduree Cafe in Paris

Visit Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House)

If the rain is set to continue into the evening, there is no better time than now to see an opera show, as long as you can snag a ticket. This has to be one of the top places across the world to see a show. From opera performances to ballet shows, you’ll be in for a night of entertainment.

Not a fan of opera? I would still urge you to visit the Palais Garnier. Touring this 19th-century palace is one of my favorite things to do in Paris, even if the crowds can be a little hectic. It is almost like visiting Versailles without taking the hour train ride!

Inside, you will see the grand staircase, ornate chandeliers, and wonderful architecture to discover. My personal favorite is the ceiling paintings throughout – they are truly exquisite!

To get ticket prices to see a show or tour the inside can be found at their official website.

Address: Place de l’Opéra 75009 Paris

Palais Garnier in Paris

Enjoy Hôtel de la Marine – A Paris Hidden Gem

Recognized as one of the most prestigious monuments in Paris, this 18th-century hotel has been transformed into a Museum and opened to the public. It is still very much a hidden gem to visit, so consider yourself in the know!

Hotel de la Marine is everything you would imagine a Parisian hotel to look like. It has grand decor, amazing artwork, and elaborate chandeliers pretty much everywhere you look.

Most importantly, significant events in history took place here, including the signing of the abolition of slavery in 1848, and the crown jewels were also stolen from this location during the revolution.

Upon entering the museum, you will be given an audio headset where a historical character will guide you through each of the rooms. The entire tour is around 45 minutes, which may be just enough time for the rain to stop!

Opening Hours: Everyday 10:30 AM to 7 PM

Admission Price: 11 € and up, depending on the exhibits

Address: 2 Place De La Concorde 75008 Paris

Watch a Cabaret Show

If you’ve never experienced a cabaret show before, there’s no better place than Paris. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the experience, but I am glad I did it because it was quite the experience. I’m not going to lie; some of the most popular places book out months in advance, so timing this with a rainy day can be tough. However, there can be cancellations (looking on the bright side here)!

I loved the show at Latin Pardis. We only did the show, not the dinner, although the food looked good from what I could tell. If you pay for the dinner, the show starts earlier. If you’re not eating, you have to arrive later. I personally believe this is also one of the best things to do at night in Paris!

Moulin Rouge is the most famous show, so I am not sure you will get last-minute tickets here for a rainy day. I have been told this show is more of a tourist trap, but I plan to see for myself during my next visit (I love visiting Paris)!

Expect a lot of dancing, singing, and elaborate costumes! What could be better than that? It may go without saying, but these shows often include nudity, so if you’re traveling as a family, maybe pass on this one! Although, I should mention some venues have “family-friendly” shows during the day.

Paradis cabaret show
Moulin Rouge in Paris

Embrace the Rain at a Covered Cafe

There are covered Cafes all over Paris, and cafe sitting, no matter the weather, is just something you have to do when visiting. Most cafes have seating that points towards the street, so you can really embrace the Parisian streets (and people-watch). It is literally one of my favorite things to do in Paris!

Now, you can absolutely choose to enter the café and watch the rain from the window. Or, you can just embrace the rain and sit in the outdoor covered area. You are only in Paris once, after all. If it’s later in the day, maybe trade in that coffee for some French wine tasting!

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cafés in Paris. Some of the best include:

  • Café de Flore
  • Les Deux Magots
  • La Rotonde
  • Pink Mamma (not a cafe, but really cool indoor glass roof vibes)
  • Le Molière (I really like their croque madame, so I am also adding them here)
Cafes in Paris - Paris travel tips

Tour Galerie Vivienne

Another one of the coolest covered passages is the Galerie Vivienne.

This passageway was built in 1823 and is known for being an architectural masterpiece filled with shops and restaurants. It makes a great escape from the rain for several reasons.

For one, the passageway is decorated in neo-classical decor and a beautiful mosaic floor. Additionally, you will find many boutique shops, high-end shops, tearooms, and even grocery stores. There are 56 shops in total to explore, so you’ll have a lot to browse.

Just keep in mind, this passageway is far from being a secret, therefore it will likely be busy on a rainy day.

Opening hours: Daily 8:30 AM – 8 PM

Address: 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 5-7 rue de la Banque, 6 rue Vivienne, 75002 – Paris

Enjoy the Dior Galleries

Where are my fashion lovers? Did you know Doir has a gallery experience? I am a little hesitant to add this rainy day activity only because getting tickets on the spot is quite difficult. Like most attractions in Paris, you usually need to book far in advance (annoying, I know). But, hey, maybe you will get lucky if you notice it will be raining a week in advance.

Inside the gallery, you’ll find unique exhibitions that represent Christian Dior. Best yet, the gallery is free to enter!

Opening hours: Every day at 11 am to 7 pm, except Tuesdays

Address: 11 Rue François 1er, 75008 Paris, France

Take a Day Trip From Paris

Hear me out! Just because it’s raining in Paris doesn’t mean it’s raining in all of France, or even neighboring countries. Did you know France is the largest Western European country?

Because France has such an amazing train system, you can get to other cities and even countries in a couple of hours. You can even take Paris day trips to other palaces around France and tour the inside. This includes Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle.

Other nearby places just a train ride away that make great day trips are Rouen, Lyon, Bruges, Ghent, and even London!

Rouen Cathedral in France
Rouen Cathedral in France

Rainy Weather Gear

If you know it’s going to rain on your parade in Paris, you might as well be prepared. As someone who often gets rained on when traveling, here are my recommendations.

  • Raincoat – This is the one I have, and it folds up into itself, making it really easy to travel with.
  • Chelsea boots that are weatherproof – I’ve been using Blundstone recently.
  • Wool-blended socks – They do better when they get wet. Darn Tough socks are my favorite. I get the extra cushion.
  • Travel umbrella – I would only pack this if you for sure know it will rain. In the worst case, you can always buy an umbrella in Paris.

Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Paris Wrap-up

See, you can still have plenty of fun even if it rains in Paris! Plus, Paris is always a good idea, am I right? Whether you have just one or a few rainy days, I hope you still have a great time exploring Paris, one of my favorite cities in the entire world! Plus, if you’re anything like me, you won’t let the rain stop you from exploring the city! Raincoat, waterproof shoes, and an umbrella works wonders!

Have any questions about these rainy day activities in Paris or feel like something should be added to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Were These Things to Do in Paris on a Rainy Day Helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

things to do in Paris on a rainy day
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

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