The trees are erupting into bud and blossom, flowers push towards the sky, everywhere the sound of birdsong can be heard and lovers are strolling hand in hand on the banks of the Seine. There can be no mistake, Printemps (spring) is here! At this time of year city dwellers head out into the open air in hopes of catching a little warmth from the sunshine to bring some colour to skin turned pale by the gloom of winter. Before our eyes the gardens and parks of Paris fill with both greenery and sunseekers, the terraces of cafés are besieged and national heritage listed banks of the Seine once more become the favoured haunt of those seeking a picturesque spot in which to partake of an aperitif after work.
Many events are scheduled for this time of year in the capital. The Paris Fair is a veritable treasure trove where visitors are invited to sample a wide variety of useful everyday products. This trade show is held each year in the last week of April at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre. The Foire du Trône, which takes place on the Pelouse de Reuilly between late March and late May, is the city's largest and oldest fair, with a history dating back a thousand years. It offers visitors over 300 attractions from which to choose and is a wonderful place to enjoy a delightful family afternoon.
A major advantage of a springtime visit to Paris is that you don't need to leave the city to enjoy some verdant surroundings! Not when the city has gardens filled with delicate scents, there are romantic strolls to be enjoyed in dappled shade, and water is sparkling in the sunlight. Paris boasts 500 hectares of parks and gardens, as well as the wooded fastnesses of the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, giving you a choice unmatched by any other city in the world. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont has plenty of fresh grass on which to stretch out in the sun, but if you're with your family the themed gardens of Villette have plenty to entertain young and old alike. If you prefer plenty of space, then head for the Bois de Vincennes and its recently reopened zoo, or perhaps the Parc de Montsouris. Sports enthusiasts can indulge themselves in the Jardin du Luxembourg, as picnickers and sun-seekers are forbidden from flattening the grass in that immaculately tended environment. Spring is also the perfect time to stroll in the Jardin de Giverny, the former home of Claude Monet and the inspiration for many of his impressionist masterpieces. The warm weather is here; take advantage of it Parisian style!
The fair weather of a Paris spring also brings out those looking to take a little exercise, so you have a choice of swimming, fishing, kite-flying or the traditional French game of pétanque. Roller skaters will enjoy the Rollers et Coquillages events that are held each Sunday, but if two wheels are more your style, you can take a cycling tours to explore Paris at your own pace. Finally, don't forget that the Paris Marathon takes place around mid-April. Come along and be a part of an event that involves more than 50,000 runners representing a hundred different nations.