The unexpected activities to book in Paris this summer

© Madame Arthur (@madamearthur), The Peninsula Paris par Maelle Saliou et Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris par Apolline Cornuet.

Whether you live in Paris or are just visiting, rediscovering the capital involves some slightly quirky, off-the-beaten-path experiences. In short: to surprise your +1, shake off the Monday night blues, laugh all evening with a bunch of totally crazy drag queens, or master the art of self-care, here are four activities you never would have thought of. And the cherry on top: they can be booked even during the Olympics and all through August.

 

AN EVENING BRUNCH AT THE PENINSULA

When we say that palaces compete with great ideas to offer true little luxuries to Parisians, it's no empty talk. The latest obsession: the unique brunch at the Peninsula, served on Sunday and Monday evenings to beat the start-of-the-week blues. And honestly, it works! The rendezvous is set on the Kléber terrace at the top of the steps. Once settled into one of the ultra-comfy chairs around a pale pink tablecloth, you're pampered by a 5-star service that starts with a delicious Iceberg mocktail (hibiscus, fresh mint, ginger, and elderflower, €20).

Next up, a slew of fresh and colorful starters: pissaladière, salads, tomatoes burrata, buckwheat soufflé blini, rosemary focaccia, lean gravlax, and Bellota ham, considered as accompaniments to the barbecue throughout the meal. You get up to admire the chefs' grill buffet and grab shrimp skewers, a sublime royal sea bream, lamb chops, juicy duck breast, or beef flank served with summer vegetables and legendary polenta. The highlight? Four desserts by Anne Coruble to share: vanilla panna cotta and iced strawberry, coffee tiramisu with pecans, wild strawberry pavlova, and a fresh fruit platter. A delight from start to finish.

Menu Les Échappées, served on Sunday and Monday evenings in two sittings, at 6 PM or 8 PM at the Peninsula Paris, 19 avenue Kléber, Paris 16th. €170 per person excluding drinks.

© Les Echappées, The Peninsula Paris par Maelle Saliou et Clémence Renoux. 

 

A HILARIOUS CABARET NIGHT AT MADAME ARTHUR

At Madame Arthur, the first drag cabaret in Paris in the heart of Pigalle connecting with the club Divan du Monde, "creatures" take over the stage every night with different themes, sharing common points of deliberately approximate interpretations of cult songs, sometimes very hot improvisations with the audience, and a truly contagious good mood. From 10 PM, order a drink at the bar and find a good (standing) spot to fully enjoy the often absurd show, led during our visit by the sexy Maud’Amour (muse of Jean Paul Gaultier), surrounded by a colorful team with sweet and sour humor including the "technique-less singer" Lola Dragoness Von Flame, the cheeky Romain Brau, and singer-pianist Tony Blanquette. Laughs guaranteed.

The added value: you never really know who or what you'll encounter! And that's why regulars come back: every evening is a surprise, with ever more enticing themes and totally crazy improvisations.

Cabaret Madame Arthur, 75 rue des Martyrs, Paris 18th. Thursday to Saturday from 10 PM, €30 for standing general admission, reservations at madamearthur.fr.

© Madame Arthur (@madamearthur) par Héloise Blondel et Bruno Gasperini. 

 

A BOOTCAMP, A DIP, AND A DRINK IN A PALACE

Have our gourmet addresses (the best summer ice creams, new street food HQs…) taken a toll on your bikini body? Oopsie! No worries: the Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris has thought of everything. Every Wednesday evening from 6 PM, take advantage of their new brilliant Evening Routine formula, offering a palace experience for under €200, a must-try.

What's on the program? An hour of intensive bootcamp with a private coach (only 6 participants per class), followed by comforting access to the spa. Enjoy some laps in the stunning indoor pool, chill with a good book on the loungers around before hitting the hammam or sauna. Last but not least, end the evening beautifully at the hotel bar with a cocktail and tapas. Isn't it just perfect?

Evening Routine at Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris, 37 avenue Hoche, Paris 8th. Every Wednesday from March 1, 2023. Maximum 6 people per experience €190 per person (including 1 hour of bootcamp from 7 PM to 8 PM, spa access from 8 PM to 9 PM, and 1 cocktail & tapas at the Bar Long from 9 PM).

© Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris par Apolline Cornuet. 

 

VINYL NIGHTS AT ABSTINENCE

Eat, drink & love, is the motto of the coolest spot at La Motte-Picquet opened by Guillaume Benard, already the owner of the festive 7th district institution Fitzgerald. Same chic and stylish vibes at this rendezvous that ticks all the right boxes. Here, you can come to flirt with your lover or enjoy with friends over a cocktail and shared plates in a glam and sharp atmosphere with a socialite clientele.

All summer long, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, a DJ spins soul, funk, or electro 33s at the Vinyl Bar. Our recommendation? Enjoy the terrace for a fresh dinner (tartare, sea bream crudo, surprise cabbage, lamb confit…), then move inside from 10:30 PM, order a well-chilled cocktail with your friends, and dance the night away. Our little finger tells us you might just make some lovely encounters...

Vinyl Bar at Abstinence, 47 avenue de la Motte-Picquet, Paris 15th. 01 42 77 80 09. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening of the summer, until 2 AM.

© Abstinence (@abstinence.paris).

Discover also the best open-air cinemas of the summer and our top tips for boating in Paris.

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