Paris in the Rain
A gentle drizzle bathing the streets of France’s iconic capital might sound romantic, but it’s a different matter when you’re drenched to the skin and scurrying for cover on a busy Paris street. Seek shelter at the famous landmarks we suggest and explore Paris without getting wet. (It’s worth your while investing in a Paris Museum Pass, which gives you access to more than 60 museums and monuments.)
With the largest and most comprehensive collection of pre-20th century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects in the world, the Louvre
is definitely one of the most popular attractions in Paris. You could spend a lifetime exploring the vast range of exhibits here, so it makes a perfect escape from inclement weather. The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo are the paintings everyone queues to see, but there are other remarkable works by the likes of Vermeer, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt.
The Musee D’Orsay
Not quite as popular as the Louvre but equally impressive is the nearby Musée d'Orsay
. Home to the world's most significant collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, the Musée d'Orsay offers respite from the rain, with three bright, spacious floors of modern delights. Among them, you’ll find sublime sculptures by August Rodin, Van Gogh’s blindingly intense Starry Night, Gaugin’s luscious Tahitian scenes, and Monet's water lilies,
There can be few people in the world who haven’t heard of Notre-Dame cathedral
. Located on the Île de la Cité, a small island in the centre of Paris that marks the starting point for all road measurements in France, this magnificent Gothic building is an excellent place to while away a drizzly afternoon. A world heritage site built in 1163, Notre Dame has some spectacular stained-glass and rose windows, and its gargoyles and bells prompted Victor Hugo to write the famous novel Notre-Dame de Paris. Entry is free, but there is a charge for tower visits.
A beacon on the skyline of the former artist’s enclave Montmartre, the dazzling white dome of the Sacre Cœur
basilica is an unmissable landmark, even on a grey day. With its dazzling gold mosaic interiors and dramatic terrace, the renowned basilica is one of Paris’s most popular monuments. Built in the 19th-century, the church is a fine example of Byzantine-Roman architecture that has inspired the design of numerous other religious buildings.
Its construction in 1977 prompted consternation among those who believed its defiantly modern design clashed with the district’s historic buildings, but the Centre Pompidou has since become a much-loved monument. Flourishing as a place where the public seems to own art and culture, this architectural oddity is the beating heart of the city’s creative life. In line with its mission to promote cultural education, the centre stages 30-plus public exhibitions every year and also hosts performances, screenings, conferences, and educational initiatives.
Stade de France
The 80,000-seater Stade de France
is France’s biggest stadium and the national team’s home ground. Take the opportunity of a wet day to drive out to the suburb of Saint-Denis and tour the magnificent construction, just 3 kilometres north of the city limits of Paris. You can take guided tours of the stadium, which also stages concerts by major performers, including Lady Gaga and Madonna.