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Paris Events Calendar

Paris Events Calendar – April through June 2013

April 5-26
The 30th annual Banlieu Blues Festival celebrates jazz in all of its formats in the Seine-Saint-Denis suburbs of Paris. Tickets for concerts are €8-€20. There will also be free events, a flash dance mob, a parade, and music workshops with Kriss Cross. See the entire schedule and purchase tickets here

April 6-May 26
Catch one of the world’s most fascinating horse shows mixing dressage with theatrical artistry and live dance in the former royal stables of the Château de Versailles, the Académie du Spectacle Equestre de Versailles by Bartabas. The 80-minute show is called La Voie de l’Ecuyer., tickets are €25 (there’s a special two-for-one deal on FNAC.com while supplies last). You can also watch the 45-minute rehearsals, Les Matinales, for €12, usually at 11am on weekends. For tickets go to FNAC.com.


April 7
Find a huge selection of English-language used books for €1 and €2 at the annual spring SOS Helpline Book Sale, from noon-4pm at Orrick Law Offices (31 ave Pierre 1er de Serbie, 16th, M° Alma-Marceau). To donate books in good condition, you may drop them off at the venue Saturday, April 6, 12-4pm or Sunday, April 7, 12-4pm. All proceeds go to the SOS Helpline, the English-language listening line in France. NOTE: TODAY IS THE PARIS MARATHON; DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COME BY CAR! 

April 7
The 37th annual Marathon de Paris takes place today, with approximately 40,000 runners going from the Arc de Triomphe, all along the Right Bank through the Marais to the Bois de Vincennes, then back along the Right Bank quais of the Seine River, past the Eiffel Tower, and a finish in the Bois de Boulogne. Roads will be closed and metros full all along the route from about 6am through 4pm. See the route here. 

Through April 7
The very cool Gaïté Lyrique (3 bis Rue Papin, 3rd, M° Arts-et-Métiers) is hosting a new exposition, Arrrrgh! Monsters in Fashion, featuring “58 contemporary creators who, inspired by design, animation and sketches, use monster form and expression in their costume and clothing designs, from Alexander McQueen and Andrea Crews to Craig Green and Walter Van Beirendonck“. Tickets available on their site, €7. Open daily except Monday from 2-8pm (until 6pm on Sunday, until 10pm on Tuesdays). There is a very cool boutique next door selling all sorts of geeky gadgetry, not to be missed!

April 7-May 12
The Dimanches du Galop, every Sunday at the Longchamp and Auteuil Hippodromes (in the Bois de Boulogne, 16th), feature more than just horse races (flatracing at Longchamp, jumping at Auteuil), they also have themed equestrian shows at Longchamp (such as Three Musketeers), activities and poney rides for kids, and dressage demos. And it’s FREE! Just pack your picnic (check the weather), and head on over for a day “at the races”. No fancy hats required. 😉

April 10-June 26
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of French chanteuse Edith Piaf with sexy cabaret singer Caroline Nin’s “Hymne à Piaf”, a show using English storytelling and songs en français to remember one of the greatest French singers of all time. Shows are every Wednesday at 8pm at the intimate Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €15-€20. 


April 12-13
Looking for a very unique event? Book your tickets and dust off your fangs for the 3rd annual Paris Vampire Ball “Cirque du Vampyre” at the Cabaret Sauvage (Parc de la Villette, 59 boulevard MacDonald, 19th) from 10pm-6am. Tickets for the ball from €25 to €75 (VIP). Strict dress code (“crocs” are fangs, BTW, not shoes). Note: the pre-party for VIP ticket holders is on the 12th (at the Caves St-Sabin), the ball is on the 13th. 

April 18
Laughing Matters presets one of England’s greatest stand-up comics, Al Murray, “The Pub Landlord”, performing at La Java (105 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 10th) for one night of his “The Only Way is Epic” tour. Tickets are €25, reserve your place via email ASAP to al@anythingmatters.com (with “al tix” as the subject). Your name will be on the pre-booked list and you will get in first, just pay on the night (no credit cards). Doors at 8:30pm.

Through April 20
Everyone knows the best part of the Moulin Rouge show is the French CanCan. The rest is cheesy, touristy, overpriced…but now there’s an alternative? If you’re in Paris this spring, book a seat to this alternative show, The Spirit of the French CanCan at the historic Le Palace theatre, featuring a dance troupe that combines the best of the Cancan with modern nods to Bollywood, contemporary dance, and even breakdancing. Tickets €30-€45. See the English description here. 


April 22
Join the #BostonStrongParis run tonight at 7pm for a casual 5k solidarity run through Paris one week after the horrible events of the Boston Marathon. The meeting spot is at the south end of the Place de la Bastille (by the Arsenal canal) and finishes at Place de la Concorde (although some of us will be finishing at Harry’s Bar). Hope to see some of you there!

Through April 23
Fans of the French novelist Honoré de Balzacwon’t want to miss a free guided tour (en français)“Traversez les Passages Parisiens avec Balzac”. This 90-minute exploration of the historic covered passages of the 19th century that appeared in most of Balzac’s writings starts from the Colonnes de Buren at the Palais Royal at 11am. Reserve your spot  by calling 01-55-74-41-80 or by email at dac-reservationbalzac@paris.fr. (Other dates March 10, March 12, and April 23; check out the Maison de Balzac website for more themed walks of Balzac’s Paris).

April 26
Come join us tonight to celebration the book launch of Canadian author Keith Spicer’s exciting new thriller, Murder by Champagne.  A top champagne-house baron lies bleeding to death in his own caves. Who attacked him? Why? Deadly rivalries, illicit passions, Chinese industrial espionage , medieval superstition – a fascinating suspense thriller set deep inside the secretive champagne industry and its distrustful families. From 7-9pm at the Abbey Bookshop (29 rue de la Parcheminerie, 5th). 

May 1st
Fête du Travail, or International Workers’ Day, is one of the few days (along with Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) when almost everything closes down in Paris (which is just as well since the Left to the Far-Left leaning parties will be marching through the streets (don’t even try driving in the city today). Buy your sprig of Lily of the Valley in solidarity and find a sunny park to lounge for the day. 🙂

May 8th
Today is both Ascension (Catholic holiday) and V-Day (war memorial), so a few places will be closed (smaller shops, bistros and municipal museums), but generally national museums and bigger shops and restaurants will be open as usual. 

May 19th
Today is Pentecost (Catholic holiday), with Monday the 20th being a Bank Holiday (most shops and museums will still be open).  

May 21-June 9
The annual French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland-Garros takes place for three weeks. Get your Roland-Garros tickets online here. The main website also has info on the iPhone app, commemorative items in thegift shop, and the full schedule.

Through June 9
Explore the origins of goth and fantasy at the latest exposition at the Musée d’Orsay, L’Ange du Bizarre: Dark Romanticism from Goya to Max Ernst.
 “…a vast swathe of artistic creation, which from the 1760s onwards exploited the shadows, excesses and irrational elements that lurked behind the apparent triumph of enlightened Reason. This world was created in the English Gothic novels of the late 18th century, a genre of literature that fascinated the public with its penchant for the mysterious and the macabre. The visual arts quickly followed suit: many painters, engravers and sculptors throughout Europe vied with the writers to create horrifying and grotesque worlds: Goya and Géricault presented us with the senseless atrocities of war and the horrifying shipwrecks of their time, Füssli and Delacroix gave substance to the ghosts, witches and devils of Milton, Shakespeare and Goethe, whereas C.D. Friedrich and Carl Blechen cast the viewer into enigmatic, gloomy landscapes, reflecting his fate.” Entrance to the museum + exhibition is €12.Advance tickets online. 

Through June 17
Looking for a romantic exhibition in a little-known museum? Don’t miss Sensuality and Spirituality: In Search of the Absolute at the Musée Henner (43, avenue de Villiers, 17th, M° Malesherbes; entry €5; closed Tuesdays, open until 9pm on first Thursdays of the month).

Through June 25th
They’re back! I’ve written before about the fabulous Fills Monkey: Incredible Drum Show. Fills Monkey is made up of two French comedians, Yann Coste and Seb Rambaud, who somehow manage to mix humor with actual musical talent. These guys have come up with a hilarious “dueling drumsticks” show. Just when you think, “Okay, this is interesting, but how can they keep it up for an hour?” it gets better. Oh, I should mention they never once speak any actual words, so it’s perfect for those looking to go see a show in Paris without knowing any French. A word of warning: it’s in a “cave”, a French cellar. They give you ear plugs, but be forewarned it gets hot down there! Shows are scheduled through June, get tickets at FNAC or at the venue itself, Le Sentier des Halles (50 rue d’Aboukir, 2nd).

Through June 26th
If you’re in the mood for a good English comedy show in Paris in an intiate setting, check out The Improfessionals, every other Wednesday night from 9:30pm at the Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €15-€20. 

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