You may have heard that Paris on a Sunday is unlike when it is the rest of the week–everything’s closed and there’s nothing to do. Well, we beg to differ! While it’s true that Sunday has always been regarded as a day for family and rest in France, there are actually still plenty of fun things to do in town! You just need to know where to look and this is where our expertise lie!
Read this before or while you visit Paris.
- The city is home to an amazing selection of delicious Sunday brunch options. Personally, it’s our favorite way to start the day! We especially love it, too when we can grab a drink and enjoy lounging in the sun on one of Paris’ many outdoor cafes.
- Almost all of the city’s museums and historical monuments remain open as well. You can definitely continue sightseeing and take in the culture and history of Paris.
- Shopping on Sundays is also possible! Certain shops remain open, including the historic Galeries Lafayette.
- Paris is of course home to beautiful architecture, lovely parks and even a thriving street art scene. We invite you to spend the day outside exploring these treasures!
What to do on Sunday in Paris: What is open on Sunday
A rather new phenomenon in France, shopping malls have been popping up all over the French capital. Surely more chic than what you’re used to, they’re a fun place to spend the day and a few of them are indeed open on Sundays. They’re a good option when wondering what to do on Sunday in Paris.
This includes Beaugrenelle, one of the city’s newest shopping centers, located in the 15th arrondissement. The Carrousel du Louvre is also an option, the museum remains open as well so you can combine the two. In the center of the city is the Forum des Halles, the sprawling underground mall has undergone a recent transformation.
The Galeries Lafayette department store is also open on Sunday, which is fabulous news. Why, you might ask? Simply because this shopping wonderland is more than just a store, it’s an experience. Imagine 70,000 square meters dedicated to luxury, fashion and French lifestyle housed under a magnificently beautiful glass dome in a typical Parisian Haussmann building. Inside, you’ll find hundreds of brands, from high-end to casual for men, women and children. The accessories and cosmetics selection is also the largest in the city. Basically, it needs to be on your Sunday to-do list if planning what to do on Sunday in Paris.
Museums & sites
Most museums and monuments are open on Sunday, which is excellent news. However, the not so excellent news is that it’s also the busiest day of the week to visit. Wherever you plan on going, make sure to arrive early or be ready to wait in line.
The Notre Dame Cathedral, as you might expect, draws huge crowds on Sundays, though the stunning church is more than worth the wait. The Arc de Triomphe, Panthéon and Centre Pompidou are just a few sites that are open as well.
Though the situation has improved massively in the past few years, it can be hard to find a grocery store that’s open on Sundays. Some Carrefour, Franprix and Monop’ Daily locations are open seven days a week, but often only from 9AM to 1PM on Sunday.
Lafayette Gourmet is also a great option for your Sunday shopping needs. The food hall has an excellent selection of gourmet items. For you gastronomes looking for an exciting culinary activity in Paris on Sunday, check out below our top foodie experiences in Paris open on Sundays.
Best things to do on a Sunday in Paris
Taking a river cruise
What better way to enjoy your Sunday than by taking a relaxing river cruise down the Seine! River Cruises allow you to see all the Paris monuments while taking the city in! We recommend companies like Vedettes de Paris you have an array of options to choose from so you can see which cruise suits you best.
You can enjoy a 1 hr sightseeing cruise, a round-trip cruise with a stop between Le Marais and Ile Saint Louis or a quick one way 30 minute cruise! Better yet, each of their boats are built so that each person gets a good view of the monuments while not feeling to crowded. So you can relax while exploring the Seine! We recommend getting the tour at sunset for really picturesque Parisian views.
What’s more is that downloading your INSIDR voucher gets you a free glass of champagne when you board a Vedettes de Paris cruise! or if you’d rather a sweet treat, that’s possible too!
If you tried to go shopping in Paris on Sunday just 10 years ago, you would have been in for an unpleasant surprise – but times are changing. You still need to choose your shopping neighborhood wisely as a large number of stores will be closed. The Marais area is a good place to start with most shops being open. The fantastic Galeries Lafayette is also open on Sunday, until 8PM, which is super rare. Champs Elysées avenue in another area of Paris where most of the shops remain open on Sunday.
Going to a flea market
If you’re looking for a unique souvenir or love vintage shopping, know that Sunday is flea market day in France. The Puces de Saint Ouen is Paris’ most famous flea market. Located just north of Paris, the huge market is actually made up of 15 smaller “marchés”. You’ll find antique furniture, clothes, dishes and so, so much more. Not to be outdone, the south of Paris has its own second-hand market, located at the Porte de Vanves. A bit smaller, and perhaps easier to navigate than Saint Ouen, you’ll find endless treasures here as well. Flea markets are a great option when thinking about what to do on Sunday in Paris.
Mark your calendar well! Since 2000, on the first Sunday of each month, the city’s national museums are absolutely free to the public. There are no age, residency or nationality requirements – admission is free for all.
The one exception is the Grand Palais that doesn’t participate. However, the Louvre, Orsay Museum, Arts et Métiers and all of the city’s other museums do. It’s the perfect opportunity to check out some of the more offbeat treasures, we suggest the Musée Albert Kahn, that you might not visit otherwise. Lines can be long, so we recommend getting there early.
One Sunday per month, the world famous avenue des Champs Elysées is completely closed to traffic and only accessible for pedestrians and cycles. When that day is on, you’ll know what to do on Sunday in Paris!
Where to eat on a Sunday in Paris
Paris restaurants open on Sunday
We’ve already mentioned that the Galeries Lafayette is a paradise for fashion lovers, but it’s also foodie heaven.
Food court doesn’t even properly describe the experience of eating there. One entire building is dedicated to gastronomy from around the world. The Gourmet Food Hall is the best place for a culinary adventure, you’ll find exotic products and rare items that you probably didn’t even know existed. When it’s time to eat, choose from fusion cuisine, a 100% French hamburger (taste it, you’ll notice the difference), gourmet Italian food and more. The hardest part is deciding what to order! For more gourmet Sunday escapades, check out our dedicated article.
Sunday food market
Paris is famous for their fresh produce markets. We definitely recommend visiting one to taste local products and get an idea of how Parisians do their food shopping. They can be found all around the city. Yet, like most things in Paris – on Sunday things are a bit trickier. The Marché de Bastille, near the city center and the Marché Monge in the Latin Quarter are both good options and open on Sundays. The famous Marché d’Aligre is also open on Sunday, but even more crowded than usual. To find the best food market in Paris check out our Paris Food market guide.
Best Sunday brunch in Paris
Paris has perfected its brunch game over the past decade. There is even a dedicated verb. On Sunday, Parisians go to “bruncher” at the city’s best restaurants.
Mama Shelter is a brunch institution – the concept hotel features a cozy atmosphere with a gourmet brunch buffet. Casimir offers a Breton-style brunch that will have you raving for weeks. Another Parisian classic is Holybelly, a French twist on a American classics and definitely a must-eat during your travels.
Brunch is Paris is not always a budget-friendly affair. If you’re looking for options that won’t break the bank, check out our top picks for brunch in Paris for under 20 euros.
What Parisians do on Sunday in Paris
Engaging in outdoor activities
“Dimanche, c’est sacré” is a phrase you’re sure to hear during your time in Paris. It roughly translates to mean that Sunday is made for relaxing! Since traditionally most businesses were closed, Parisians tend to spend Sundays outside, walking around and exploring the city. Lounging on a sunny terrace with friends is practically a sport in Paris. It’s also the perfect day to spend time admiring the city’s architectural gems. If you’re looking to add a little Hollywood glamor to your vacation, you can also get some shots of you at the top movie scene locations around the city.
Cycling in the city
Large areas of the city are closed to cars on Sundays which makes it the ideal day to go for a bike ride. Almost the entire Marais neighborhood and all around Canal St. Martin are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. The Seine River bank (“Quais de Seine”) are also closed to vehicles on Sunday. They make for an ideal leisurely ride, and in the summer, the banks are lined with beach chairs and pop-up cafés. For more bicycle-friendly itineraries, check out our guide to cycling around Paris.
Escaping the city
Sunday is also the perfect day to escape the Parisian hustle and bustle. There are numerous charming towns and impressive monuments that are just a short journey from Paris. The Fontainebleau castle is one of our favorites. The impressive Château rivals Versailles with its 1500 rooms and beautiful gardens.
For art-lovers, Giverny is the perfect destination. See first-hand the gardens and landscapes that inspired Monet. Tour the water garden, Monet’s house and the Giverny village.
For a bubbly day trip, grab the train to Reims. Reims is the champagne capital of France. Visit some of the famous cellars and enjoy a champagne tasting. Read our guide for more of our favorite day trips from Paris.