Summer Festivals (en français)
The weekly metro magazine A Nous Paris has the entire French summer festival 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.
Through June 1
The 26th annual Artists’ Open Studios in Belleville takes place for four days in over 120 ateliers in Belleville (11th, 19th & 20th arrondissements). It’s a great chance to see some neighborhoods tourists don’t normally see, to meet local artists, and of course purchase some lovely artworks! Pick up a map and program at the Espace Jordain (3 rue Jean-Baptiste Dumay, 20th, M° Jourdain). Free entry.
Through June 7
The annual French Open at Roland Garros takes place for two weeks in the Bois de Boulogne (16th). Tickets go fast, get yours on their official website. Too late? Watch the matches on a big screen for free on the 5th floor of BHV Marais department store (4th), where they’ve dedicated an entire pop-up lounge to the French Open matches as well as a photo exhibit on the Roland Garros historical moments (Through June 20th).
Through June 30
Check out a free exposition on 50 years of Parisian Street Art, Sur les Murs, featuring the work of 50 different French street artists (including Space Invader, Miss Tic and Speedy Graphito). At the Crédit Municipal de Paris, 55 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 3rd, from 9am-6pm (Thurs until 7pm, Sat until 5pm, closed Sun).
Through June 14
Meet artists in a beautiful garden setting at the 13th annual Cercle des Artistes de Paris, featuring painters, sculptors, photographers, engravers and other artists at the PArc Floral (Bois de Vincenne) in the Pavillon des Nymphéas. Free entry (there’s a small entrance fee for the Parc Floral itself). Open weekdays 2-7pm, weekends 10am-7pm.
Through July 8
Quai 36 (platform 36) at the Gare du Nord is being decorated by 16 street artists for 45 days of the Art Residence, on-site from 10am-4pm each day until June 11, then you can see their handiwork throughout the station until July 8.
Through July 12
The oldest house in Montmartre, where Renoir once lived and worked, is now the Musée Montmartre, and its Renoir Gardens are a peaceful retreat from the tourist crowds. The Fête de Montmartre takes place here every Sunday in summer (except June 7th) from 1-6pm. There will be live music, Cancan shows, caricaturists, magicians and fortune tellers, games for kids, and the garden tearoom for snacks. Tickets are €13 (€7 for kids 2-12), including entrance to the museum and gardens.
Through August 1
Nostalgic for the soulful songs of the legendary Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf? Book a tabe now at 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 in English Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Shows take place at the intimate Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €25-30. Secrets of Paris readers get an exclusive deal of one free ticket for every ticket booked. To benefit from this great offer, just email:firstname.lastname@example.org and say you are from Secrets of Paris. You can also phone the English box office number in Paris on 09 50 13 61 00.
Through August 23
Whether you already love Edith Piaf or know nothing about this iconic French singer, this exhibition about her life and music at the Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand (13th) is a great opportunity to learn all about one of France’s greatest legends during the centennial year of her birth. Piaf, Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 1-7pm, €9 entrance.
Through September 30
Meet the artists of Belleville at the Belvédère aux Artistes, every Saturday and Sunday at the Parc de Belleville (on the esplanade overlooking the Maison de l’Air, Rue de Piat), 2-8pm. Fifteen 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!
June 4 – October 3
Looking for an alternative to Paris Plage? 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.
The annual Rendez-Vous aux Jardins festival opens over 2300 gardens throughout France for visits by the public. In Paris there are special tours and access to gardens in the Jardin des Plantes, the Musée du Vivant (part of the sustainable ecology school), Musée Curie, the forest in the Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand, and Parc Montsouris. For many of the visits you need to email to sign up for free (like the vegetable garden on the roof of the Musée du Vivant). Don’t be shy! There is a half-decent English version of the site (click upper right).
Street art auction of 93 lots at the Blancs-Manteaux Auction (Marais), from 3pm.
Support climate change research with a fun family run around the Pantheon (1k, 2k or 3k) at this Sunday’s Course pour la Climat au Panthéon. A minimum of €6 to participate (if you can raise more for the cause that’s great, too!) After the run there will be snacks and stands with info about the Climate Change Festival events taking place in Paris.
June 7-July 26
The 21st annual Paris Jazz Festival takes place all summer; come enjoy traditional Parisian and international jazz music in the Bois de Vincennes’s Parc Floral. Tickets are 6 €.
Actor Jeremy Irons and actress Emilie Dequenne are the presidents of this year’s Champs Elysées Film Festival, with French and American indie films in competition. “Three selections of American and French films are in the running: eight American independent feature-length films, nine American short films and twelve French short films. Almost half of the short films are produced by American or French film schools. The winner of each category is awarded the Audience Award, during the Closing Ceremony.” There will be many other events, including off-competition screenings, premiers, events where you can meet the cast and directors, etc. Festival passes are €49, you can also buy single tickets to the screenings.
The Salon du Vinatge is always a fun event in Paris, whether you’re shopping for clothing, accessories, vinyls, and home decor, or just to hear the retro DJ tunes and the festive atmosphere. Free entry, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd).
The Portes d’Or is a chance for all the artistic workshops in the Goutte d’Or (18th arrondissement) to open their doors to the public. Over 80 painters, sculptors, jewelery-makers and many others who live and work in the Goutte d’Or wish to share their creativity. Please come support the community and experience these unique productions.
The artists of the 5th (Mouffetard) and 13th (Butte aux Cailles/Gobelins) districts knows as Lézarts du Bièvre open their studios to the public for two days, 2-8pm. Free entry. Info points and maps here.
Find some great deals on clothing, accessories, home decor, crafts, music, DVDs, and furniture at the 16th annual Salon Emmaüs flea market for charity, this year with street artists on site to “decorate” any items of your choosing, at Porte de Versailles Expo Hall 9:30am-7pm, €3 entrance.
June 16, 23, & 27
Have you ever seen classical improvisation live? Don’t miss the virtuoso Japanese-American pianist Alexander Kato-Willis create gorgeous, classical music before your eyes during a one-hour concert (followed by reception with wine and nibbles) in three Paris locations. Every note is created in the moment; no performance is ever the same. This type of classical improvisation has not been seen since Beethoven’s day! See a recent performance recorded here. I go to a lot of classical concerts in Paris and Alexander’s really blew me away!
June 16 – Couvent des Recollets (150-154 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010) at 19h30
June 23 – la Maison du Japon (Cité Universitaire, Boulevard Jourdan, 75014) at 20h
June 27 – a private residence on rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 at 20h (address given upon reservation)
Tickets €15-€20. For more info, visit: yesgolive.com/alexander-kato-willis.
Combining cult classic films and clubbing under the vast glass dome of the Grand Palais, Cinéma Paradisio is back with food, films and fun until dawn. Check out the list of films (including Titanic, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Flashdance) and foodie events and get your tickets online here.
Sinfonietta is an American-led program of classical chamber music concerts by the world’s best up-and-coming young musicians in intimate venues throughout Paris. This month there are three concerts in three locations, Le Carreau du Temple (cool new space in North Marais; June 18th), the American Club of Paris at Reid Hall (where Hemingway once lived; gala evening June 19th), and the Institut Finlandais in the Latin Quarter (June 20th). Check out the program and get your tickets for the limited seating online.
Get a kilo of clothing for just €10 at the Emmaüs charity thrift shop’s special Mega Vente au Kilo at the Carreau du Temple (in the 3rd, a cool place to visit on its own) from 12:30-8pm, free entry.
The 15th annual Semaine Italienne à Paris takes place (of course) at Place d’Italie in front of the Mairie du XIIIème, with a dozen stands dedicated to Italian culture, food, music, language, food, travel, art, food and more food! Free entry, with many special performances, art exhibits, and nightly apéro concerts. See the full program here in French.
The Fête de la Musique is one of those rare annual events when Paris gets to turn itself inside out and blow off some steam. Music lovers, professional and amateur musicians alike, will pour into the streets for one long night of festivities. Be sure to check the schedule of spectacles and events online before heading out, because the streets are going to be full of people celebrating, and if you don’t plan ahead, you might never get to the concert you wanted to see. This is a free event.
Celebrate Fête de la Musique in 17th-century aristocratic style at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte for their annual costumes dance event, La Journée Grand Siècle, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the original owner, Nicolas Fouquet. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and sword-fighting shows. If you don’t have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €17.
June 24 -August 4
Les Soldes! The annual summer sales take place this year for five weeks throughout France, primarily in clothing stores, but pretty much everything is on sale now. And although most bloggers still get all frothy at the news, the sales are no longer just twice annually, so it’s not the big deal it used to be.
Solidays is one of the best summer music festivals in France. This event unites more than 150 musicians and 160,000 attendees every year in the fight against AIDS, and this summer is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Day passes starting at €39.
The annual March des Fiertés (formerly known as Gay Pride Parade) takes place today with a parade promoting LGBT issues leaving from Place Edmond Rostand (east end of Luxembourg Gardens) at 2pm and arriving at the Place de la République (via Place de la Bastille) at about 5pm for a huge music festival/political rally. You can also participate as a bénévol (volunteer) for the march and/or backstage for the concerts afterwards, check the website (en français): http://marchedesfiertes.fr/
June 27-August 23
The 30th annual Fête des Tuileries funfair with carnival rides at Tuileries Gardens starts today, free entry, rides with individual tickets. Plenty of food stands, too!
The 15th annual Carnaval Tropical parade with 4000 dancers celebrating French West Indies cultures as well as other dancers from Brazil, China, Colombia and other nations around the world. They start at Place de la Bastille at 2pm and do a loop to the Hôtel de Ville and back. Come see the dancers and try out the exotic foods on sale!
The 20th annual Voix sur Berges will feature 200 choirs of 5000 singers on the Canal St Martin starting at 10am. There’s a 12:30 picnic lunch banquet, concerts along the canal from 2-9:30pm, and a grand finale on a floating bridge at 9:45pm (you can join in, the sheet music is on the website to download). Free entry.
Join Heather and some fabulous females for an evening of cocktails and cocktales at The Chamber’s women-only erotic book club, Sex & Booze! This month we’ll be reading a classic of French erotic literature, Dangerous Liasons (Les Liaisons dangereuses) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. We’ll lubricate our brains with juicy words and loosen our inhibitions with bottomless bubbles and Absinthe on tap. Drinks are accompanied by indulgent goodies like gooey cheese and juicy strawberries. Oh my, is it hot in here? The evening will take place in a private residence on the Left Bank. Limited spaces, entry €25 for Chamber members, €45 for non-members (get €10 off with the discount code “secretsofparis”, sign up here.
Upcoming Paris Events (mark your calendars!)
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 are The Chemical Brothers, The Libertines, FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks), Kasabian, The Offspring, Hot Chip, and tons of others on four stages. The €119 three-day passes (the best deal) sell out quickly, 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).
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