Paris in May: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Jardin des Plantes, Paris, France

TripSavvy / Leopoldine Bauer

In May, Paris flourishes. The warm weather brings a buzz to the city as visitors pour into the streets and gardens, which are blossoming with life. The tourism season starts to ramp up at this time of year, so you definitely won't have the whole place to yourself, but the city will be looking at its best and there will definitely be a lot to do and see. If you can't stand crowds and waiting in long lines, you might prefer to visit Paris in the off-season.

Besides the beautiful gardens and opportunities for romance, May also brings around some of the most exciting events in Paris, especially if you're an art-lover or tennis fan. If it's your first time visiting, you'll have plenty to see, but even if you've been before, it's impossible to run out of things to do.

Paris Weather in May

In May, the weather in Paris changes quickly and often. Bright sunny mornings can transform into wet and windy afternoons. Generally, temperatures tend to stay on the warmer side and days grow warmer as the month goes on, but you shouldn't expect summery temperatures. The average high temperature in Paris during May is 69 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) and the average low temperature is 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius). The beginning of the month tends to be rainier, but the city only gets about 1.8 inches of rain on average.

What to Pack

You'll want to look chic as you meander through the streets in Paris, but don't forget that you'll still need to bring some light layers. May is a mixed bag of cold and warm days and, so you should bring a light jacket and two pairs of shoes for both cold and hot days. Your shoes should be comfortable and worn-in because a trip to Paris usually involves a lot of walking and traipsing up and down the steps of the metro. You will also want to have a few T-shirts, shorts, or skirts on hand in case the weather does heat up more than normal.

Events

May is probably one of the best times of year to be in town if you enjoy outdoor events. There's plenty to keep you busy and enjoying the (hopefully clement) outdoors. In 2021, some events may be canceled or postponed so check with the official organizers for the latest details.

  • Museum Night: On this day, a huge number of Parisian museums will open their doors free of charge to visitors until night. Special events and illuminations await in many of Paris' major museums, from the Louvre to the Centre Pompidou. In 2021, the event has been postponed until November 14.
  • Artists' Open House in Belleville Galleries: This annual event provides an exceptional opportunity to get to know some of Paris' contemporary artists and their work, as well as getting a glimpse of Parisian life from the inside. Nearly 250 artists open their doors to show off their work and spaces daily between May 28 to 31, 2021 from 2 to 8 p.m.
  • The French Open at Roland Garros: Tennis fans should not miss one of France's most exciting and important tournaments. In 2021, the French Open takes place from May 17 to June 6.

Travel Tips

  • Conditions in museums and even in popular neighborhoods are often quite crowded, and you'll have to compete for entry into some of the city's more coveted attractions and to book restaurants in the best places. For a more low-key experience, consider visiting instead during the low season (generally late October through early March). 
  • You'll need to book well in advance and look for special deals to avoid paying more than you'd like to for flights, hotels, and tours.
  • Take advantage of sunny days to get out of the city for a stretch. Fresh air, history, architecture, and even gorgeous hiking trails await on one of the many easy day trips from Paris.
  • May is a great time to enjoy the city's many beautiful parks and gardens. From the formal, dazzlingly designed lanes of flowers and shrubbery at the Jardin des Tuileries to the romantic-style hills and artificial lakes of the Buttes-Chaumont, going green is always a good idea.
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