For up-the-minute news on Paris events, follow us on Twitter @secretsofparis
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: Festivals on A Nous Paris
Bigger – on both sides of the river from Pont Marie in the east to just past the Musee D’Orsay in the west – and better – no sand! – than ever, Paris Plages is an unmissable summer event. There’s bars and pop-up restaurants at regular intervals along the river, deckchairs to lounge in, music, art installations, workshops, kids events and sporting activities… or just wander along and soak it all up. The plage has spread to Bassin de la Villette (19th arr.) this year, with a temporary swimming pool installed in the canal. We dare you! Maps and info (in French)
Parks open all through the night
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. Sixteen Parisian parks 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). Also, for runners, three parks are now open an hour earlier, including Square René Le Gall (13th) and the Promenade Plantée (12th); see the full list.
It’s the last week of the annual summer sales – they officially end on August 8. Pretty much everything is on sale during this period, and although they’re not the big deal they used to be, it will be the ‘dernière demarque’ (final mark-down) this week, so there’ll be some good bargains to be had.
through August 18
La Chaise et l’Écran brings to the 11th arrondisement free outdoor screenings of classic French films with English subtitles (compliments of our friends at Lost in Frenchlation), Friday nights in July and August. Free entry, BYO chair!
through August 21
Triumphantly back on the green at La Villette after spending last year in the Grand Halle is the annual Open Air Cinema. The (somewhat loose) theme is ‘In the kitchen’, with films including Goodfellas, Sabrina and Ratatouille (one for the kids). Entry is free; you can rent a deckchair for €7.
August 5-September 17
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.
through August 28
The 30th annual Fête des Tuileries funfair with carnival rides at Tuileries Gardens features over 80 rides including dodgem/bumper cars, fun house, and a few that will have you screaming for dear life. Open daily 11am-midnight, free entry, rides with individual tickets. Plenty of food stands, too!
The annual Rock-en-Seine Festival is one of the year’s best music festivals, and easily accessible by metro, at Parc de Saint-Cloud, just on the city’s western border. This year’s headliners include PJ Harvey, The XX, Franz Ferdinand, Flume and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Tickets are €119 for three days or €49 per day.
through August 27
La Nuit aux Invalides is an impressive sound and light show in the courtyard of Invalides recounting the history of the monument and of Paris. The show is in French as well as English (and Spanish, German and Italian). Pre-booked tickets €18; seating is available for an additional €5.
Last year it was Grand Train in the 18th, this year’s hip/wacky transport themed pop-up bar is Ground Control, set up on the Halle Charolais terrace, a secret SNCF space within walking distance from Gare de Lyon (12th). 2500 square metres of terrace with DJ sets, kitchen gardens and gardening workshops, a solarium (really), producers’ market and plenty of food and drink options, including RATP buses converted into food trucks. Free entry.
88 Ménilmontant is a summer lieux éphémère (pop-up) run by the folks at live music venue and local 12th arrondisement institution Le Bellevilloise. It’s an unused piece of land (formerly the site of fabled musical and artistic squat La Miroiterie) temporarily decked out as an enormous terrasse. On the programme: concerts, markets, dancing, sporting activities, massage and hula-hooping! Open midday-10pm during the week, 10am-11pm weekends.
Summer House is another ephemeral summer event held in the lush gardens of the Mona Bismark American Centre, in the 16th arrondisement right by the Palais de Tokyo. With live music, ‘American fusion’ food (BBQ, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches, jambalaya…), and Prohibition-themed cocktails.
through October 1
Looking for an alternative to Paris Plages? Glazart (near Parc de la Villette in the 19th) is an open-air club with free live music (everything from house to heavy metal), techno parties, a huge sand ‘beach’, cocktails, food trucks, and pétanque.
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
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 30
The Holocaust and comics (Shoah et bande desinée), at the Mémorial de la Shoah, explores how artists working in this popular art form – from French and Belgian bandes desinées to American superhero comic books to Japanese manga – have tackled the Holocaust. Free entry.
through November 5
At the always fascinating Musée des Arts et Métiers, the exhibition Les Meilleurs Ouvriers de France looks at the craft and expertise of the best of French artisans – jewellers, watchmakers, embroiderers, workers in glass, wood and textiles. Guided tours in French at 3.30pm every day.
Other Paris calendar links
▪ For French Theatre with English surtitles: Theatre in Paris
▪ 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