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
June is the Mois de L’Architecture en Ile-de-France, a festival of architecture in the Paris and surrounding Ile-de-France region. The schedule of guided visits (some free, some for a fee) is only in French, but worth a peek for fans of architecture. See the full program here.
Through -June 5
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.
The annual Rendez-Vous aux Jardins festival opens over 3500 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).
Keep Paris beautiful! Today is the Paris Fais-toi Belle! community clean-up event, where each arrondissement is having a neighborhood spring tidy up (gloves, bags, brooms, tongs and other cleaning equipment provided). A nice way to pitch in and maybe even meet your neighbors. 😉 Click on your arrondissement to find out the time and place to meet near you (en français).
The 16th 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 Hôtel de Ville at 2pm, up to Place de la République until 6pm. Come see the dancers and try out the exotic foods on sale!
June 4 & 26
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 a private home on the Rue St-Honoré in Paris’ 1st arrondissement. 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! Tickets €25. For more info, visit: yesgolive.com/alexander-kato-willis.
Come bike on the Avenue des Champs Elysées for the annual Les 24h Vélib’. The street is closed to traffic from 8am-8pm for a bike festival with several events for adults and kids, food trucks, pétanque, live DJ entertainment, information stands, etc. If you’d like to participate in the charity fundraising Vélib’ relay just show up and look for the Grand Boucle signs (every 2 laps pedalled = 1€ for charity).
Another world-class musical in English is playing at the Théâtre du Châtelet this month, wonder.land: the edgy modern-day take on Alice in Wonderland “that explores the blurred boundaries between our online and offline lives.” Commissioned in partnership with the Manchester International Festival and the National Theatre, wonder.land uses a combination of live theatre and digital sets, as well as a score is by Damon Albarn (of the British group Blur), to create a very contemporary look at coming-of-age in the 21st century. Tickets from €10 to €55.
French directors Alexandre Aja and Nicole Garcia are the presidents of this year’s 5th annual 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 €50, you can also buy single tickets to the screenings.
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 65 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.
One each month the historic Max Linder Panorama cinema has a Nuit aux Max theme night with three cult films followed by breakfast, all for just €15. For June it’s Bruce Willis night, with Die Hard 3, The Fifth Element, and Hudson Hawk, all in original version with French subtitles. Yippe ki yay, motherfuckers!
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.
June 11-July 31
The 22nd 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 € (festival pass 22€).
June 14-August 27
La Nuit aux Invalides is an impressive sound and light show in the courtyard of Invalides highlighting the monument’s history (Louis XIV, Napoléon, Charles De Gaulle), in English on Monday and Thursday nights. Tickets €18 (adult price). See the teaser video below:
Paris, Lyon and Marseilles are hosting city-wide events for Summer Cocktail Week. Register online to get your free pass!
Sinfonietta, a unique chamber music group, presents their last “Music by the Glass” event of the season with two evenings of Mozart and Fauré followed by a wine tasting and meeting with the musicians. We are very pleased to welcome artists Louise Salmona (Opéra National de Paris) on violin, Deanna Anderson (Minnesota Orchestra) on viola,Natacha Colmez-Collard (Orchestre National d’Île-de-France) on violoncello, and Guillaume Sigier (Révélations classiques de l’ADAMI) on piano for this concert series. Our unique «Music by the Glass» chamber series creates a blend of culture and privileged conversations, chamber music and excellent wine, offering a unique experience to our guests. Two dates: Friday evening, June 17 @ 20h30 in the elegant private residence of one of our patrons, located on rue Saint-Honoré (1e); and Saturday evening in the modern ambience of our artistic partner, the Finnish Institute (5e). Just €25! Purchase tickets online.
May 14-June 18
The 14th Murs Ouvertes (Open Walls for street art) takes place at Lavo//Matik, featuring a collective of street artists from around the world, free entry. Events during the festival include June 4th discount on all Obey t-shirts by Shepherd Fairey, June 11th signing by Levalet of his monograph “Des Illusions Comiques”, and the June 18th closing party. They’re also hosting a live concert for Fête dela Musique on June 21st.
Get out your fancy hats and picnic baskets for the annual Prix de Diane races at Chantilly Hippodrome (just 45 minutes north of Paris from Gare du Nord). Read more about the event from previous years here.
June 21 Fête de la Musique!
This annual all-night music festival takes place throughout France, but in Paris the whole city is overtaken: public spaces, bars, cafés, parks, sidewalks and even the streets are closed off for live music of every kind, performed by both famous and amateur musicians, from late afternoon through early morning, all concerts are free and open to everyone. Please note the main metro lines will be running all night, but it will be hard to get around by taxi because of road closures (and Vélib’s are typically locked down for the night). Bring your earplugs if you expect to try and sleep! See the full schedule here.
Fans of gypsy jazz music won’t want to miss the 37th annual Festival Django Reinhardt, usually in Samois sur Seine but moved to Fontainebleau after the floods. Stars this year include Didier Lockwood, Gregory Porter, Ibrahim Maalouf, Kamasi Washington, Shantel and Monsieur Perine. Tickets from €8, available at FNAC. Shuttle available back to Paris each night at the end of the concerts.
June 22 -August 2
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 (including Cypress Hill and Keziah Jones) 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.
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. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and fashion shows. Tickets €9.50 if you’re in costume, €17.50 without. If you don’t have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €20.
Through July 3
If you’re going up to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens, do yourself a favor and make time to visit the neighboring Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny for the exposition on Gustave Caillebotte, one of Monet’s closest friends, benefactors, and talented painter in his own right (personally my favorite among the Impressionists). The exhibit “Caillebotte, Painter and Gardener” highlights the artist’s best garden-themed paintings. Open daily, with a gift shop and tearoom. Tickets €8.
Through July 17
The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme is hosting a photo exposition “Lore Krüger: A Photographer in Exile, 1934-1944”. Considered one of the great photographers of the interwar period, she had an original look at street scenes, landscapes, and dramatic portraits. Closed Saturdays.
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. Tckets €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 exhibiti is in French with audio-guides in English. Free entry.
Through October 1
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.
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, metro 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.
Coming in July
Paris à la Nage is an international Open Swim Stars event that — historically in Paris — used to take place in the Seine from 1905 until just after WW2. Today it takes place in the Bassin de la Villette (top of the Canal, 19th) with both former swim champions and passionate amateur athletes competing in three distances, 1km, 2km and 5km. If you’d like to participate or be a volunteer for the event, check out their website.
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