Summer Festivals (en français)
The weekly metro magazine A Nous Paris has the entire French summer festival and events calendar online, with the best art, music and film festivals throughout France to download, in French only: Festivals on A Nous Paris
Summer on Les Berges du Seine
There’s always something going on at Les Berges, the Left Bank pedestrian walkway along the Seine from the Musée d’Orsay to the Musée Quai Branly (7th), including concerts, art installations, workshops, kids events, ping pong, sports activities (zumba, yoga, climbing), etc. Check it out online here.
July 1-September 3
After the rising heat in Paris drove locals into the parks to cool off last summer, the city has decided to allow us more access around the clock. Nine large Parisian parks and several smaller ones will be open 24/7 throughout the summer including Place des Vosges (4th), le Jardin des grands explorateurs (6th, just below Luxembourg), le Parc Kellermann (13th), le Parc Montsouris (14th), le parc André-Citroën (15th), le parc Martin-Luther-King (17th, next to Batignolles), le Parc des Buttes Chaumont (19th), le Square Séverine (20th) and les Pelouses d’Auteuil (16th).
August 6-September 18
The bandstand of the Parc Floral botanical gardens in the Bois de Vincennes (12th, M° Chateau de Vincennes) hosts the Festival Classique au Vert classical music concerts by international musicians every Saturday and Sunday from 4pm-6pm (open stage for amateur musicians at 11am). Entry to the gardens €6. The gardens also have playgrounds, a butterfly house, photo exhibits, and gorgeous floral displays, of course!
Through September 4
Paris Plages: sand, beach trees, volley balls and bikinis — on the Seine! Fun activities and plenty of space for lounging along the Right Bank quays and Hôtel de Ville extended this year through September 4th. Free entry, 10am-midnight.
La Chaise et l’écran continues its practice of free outdoor movie screenings of French films with English subtitles. This week they’re screening a series of shorts: Et après by Marc Ory (13 mins), L’âge de raison by Mathilde Petit (16 mins), and Pa Fuera by Vica Zagreba (17 mins). Friday 19th August, starting at 9pm; 12 Place Léon Blum, Paris 75011 (métro: Voltaire – line 9). Chairs are provided! More information (in French) here.
Remember the good old days of mind-blowing cinema? The Club de l’étoile offers one of their “Popcorn Project” sessions with all three Matrix films, in English with French subtitles. Matrix at 5:30 pm, Matrix Reloaded at 8:00, Matrix Revolutions at 10:25. €5 per film. 14 rue Troyon, 75017 Paris. Information and online ticketing here.
Through August 21
After a brief period of cancellation, the annual Open-Air Cinema Festival is back (although in the Grand Halle instead of out in the open). Film screenings are on Wed-Sun nights inside La Villette’s Grande Halle (M° Porte de Pantin). This year’s theme is “Dress Code” and features French and international films including Gravity, Rushmore, Miami Vice, Star Trek, Casino Royale, Timbuktu, Fargo, and films by Jacques Tati, Pedro Almodovar, and Tim Burton (all in VO with French subtitles). Free entry.
Through August 21
Minimal rules apply at the interactive exhibit PLAY! at the funky Cité de la Mode et du Design. Twenty artists, designers, photographers, architects, and more, created an innovative playground for adults and children alike. Open daily (except Tuesdays) from 1pm-7pm. Free entry. More information (in French) here.
Through August 28
The 30th annual Fête des Tuileries funfair with carnival rides at Tuileries Gardens features over 80 rides including bumber cars, the fun house, and a few that will have you screaming for dear life. Jazz music festival on August 114th and 15th from 2pm. Open daily 11am-midnight, free entry, rides with individual tickets. Plenty of food stands, too!
Come celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the Liberation of Paris on the esplanade of the Hôtel de Ville. At 5pm the event starts with a solemn military ceremony honoring those who fought to liberate the city after four long years of the Nazi Occupation, followed by an open-air projection of historic images from August 25, 1944. Then from 9pm there will be a Bal Populaire with the Petit Orchestre de Paris, free and open to the public. Come dance!
The annual Rock-en-Seine Festival is one of the best music festivals of the year, taking place in a leafy park of St-Cloud, right on the outskirts of Paris (which means you can get there on the metro). This year’s headliners include The Last Shadow Puppets, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, Sigur Rós, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille, and tons of others on four stages. The €119 three-day passes (the best deal) sell out quickly, so get yours as soon as possible, especially if you want to snag one of the camping spots on-site (tent included!) Also, if you happen to have small tots with you there’s a separate play area for them so the adults can go have fun without babysitting (or feeling guilty).
Through August 27
La Nuit aux Invalides is an impressive sound and light show in the courtyard of Invalides highlighting the history of the monument and of Paris (Louis XIV, Napoléon, Charles De Gaulle). In English on Monday and Thursday nights. Tickets €18 (adult price). See the teaser video.
Through August 31
Explore Salvador Dali’s artworks and sculptures at Espace Dali this summer. This museum dedicated to the master of surrealism lies hidden in Montmartre and is open late (until 8pm) every day until the end of August. Tickets €7.50-€11.50.
Through September 1
The loft of the cultural center La Bellevilloise has been transformed into a calming green space for the summer festival La Grande Prairie. Enjoy concerts, live radio broadcasts, discussions, workshops, games, food and drinks, or relax in a hammock with a book from the pop-up library. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 6pm-midnight, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-midnight. Free entry. See the full schedule here.
Through September 10
Want to practice your Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, or Rock ‘n’ roll moves? The dance section of Paris Université Club is hosting outdoor dance soirées all summer. The 7:30pm teaching demonstrations may be in French, but no language barriers will stop you from dancing into the night. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays outside Mk2 Bibliothèque (M° Bibliothèque François Mitterrand); Wednesdays and Thursdays at Esplanade Jussieu, Quai Saint-Bernard (M° Jussieu). Free and open to all. Weekly schedules are published here.
Through September 18
Fan of Ice Age, Horton, Robots and other animated films of Blue Sky Studios? Don’t miss the exhibition of their work in 800 drawings, paintings, and sculptures at the Musée Art Ludique, Docks en Seine, 34 quai d’Austerlitz, Paris 13th. Tickets €11-€16.50.
Through September 30
The Mémorial de la Shoah is hosting a free exhibition on Women in the Resistance. A fascinating look at the role of women — including many Jewish women — who resisted the Nazis during the occupation. It features the recent publication of historic graphic novels on the subject published by Editions Casterman. Although the Holocaust Memorial’s permanent collection is in English and French (and worth a visit itself if you are curious about the history of the Jewish people in France both before, during and after WWII), but the exhibit is in French with audio-guides in English. Free entry.
Through September 30
Meet the artists of Belleville at the Belvédère aux Artistes, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Parc de Belleville (on the esplanade overlooking the Maison de l’Air, Rue de Piat). Local artists and artisans — painters, clothing designers, jewelry makers, furniture makers, etc — will create, display, and sell their works direct to the public. Free entry, and the view over Paris is amazing!
Relax with live music, dancing, pétanque, yoga and massages this summer on Esplanade Nathalie-Sarraute (M° La Chapelle/Marx Dormoy). “Dans un coin de Jardin” is a free summer event with options for the whole family, including games for the kids and healthy food. See the full schedule and updates here.
Through October 1
Looking for an alternative to Paris Plages? Glazart (near Parc de la Villette in the 19th) has it’s own version, La Plage (the Beach), with free live music, techno parties, a huge sand “beach” with terrace, cocktail bar, food trucks, food trucks, and even pétanque. See the entire schedule of concerts here.
Through October 1
Don’t miss one of the most magical events of the summer, the Candlelit Evenings at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, just an hour south of Paris by RER and shuttle. Visit the family-owned palace and gardens that inspired Versailles by candlelight, including dinner in the gardens (or bring your own picnic or book a table for a gourmet meal starting at €49), a luminous walking tour and a fireworks finale. Every Saturday evening, entry €19.50.
Through October 16
Looking for a strange and unique place to visit? Like trains and food trucks? Grand Train is the “event of the season”, in a disaffected train depot on the northern edge of the city, (26 rue Ordener, 18th, M° Marcadet-Poissoniers) with real historic trains, many different kinds of food-truck style food (pizza, Asian, gluten-free, Argentinean BBQ, etc), bars, a playground for kids and garden terraces to enjoy the sunshine. Free entry, stuff to buy, hipsters and their kids to compete with for the best spots.
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For general events around Paris: Que Faire à Paris?
- For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing
- For indie/alternative music concerts see Gigs in Paris
- For art exhibitions in galleries and museum see Slash Paris
- For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism
- For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide