Summertime is music festival time. The weekly metro magazine A Nous Paris has the entire French summer festival calendar online, with festivals in Paris and Île-de France and across France, in French only: Festivals on A Nous Paris
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.
Charity organization Emmaüs are holding their annual giant sale at Place de la Porte de Montreuil in the 20th arrondisement. Furniture, electrical goods, bicycles, toys, clothes, household items – anything you can imagine! Get there early (it starts at 10am) and grab a bargain.
Dress up 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 €11.50 if you’re in costume, €17.50 without. If you don’t have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €35.
Eighty French and American indie films are in competition in this year’s 6th annual Champs Elysées Film Festival. Films are screened at cinemas on and around ‘les Champs’, and there will be many other events, including off-competition screenings, premieres and events where you can meet the cast and directors. A pass to all screenings is €25, you can also buy single tickets; the big opening and closing ceremony screenings are additional.
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.
Once 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 sci-fi night, with Stargate, Starship Troopers and Alien Resurrection, all in original version with French subtitles.
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.
June 17-July 30
The 24th annual Paris Jazz Festival takes place all summer; come enjoy traditional Parisian and international jazz music in the Bois de Vincennes’s Parc Floral. Concerts are free; entry to the park is €2.50.
Sinfonietta, a unique chamber music group, presents their last “Music by the Glass” event of the season with two evenings of Ravel and Dvořák followed by a wine tasting and meeting with the musicians. The first date is in a private residence of one of their patrons in the 14th arrondisement, the second in the historic and elegant Reid Hall in the 6th. Tickets €25 (wine and hors d’oeuvres included). Register on the website; places limited.
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 Vélibs are typically locked down for the night). Bring your earplugs if you expect to try and sleep!
June 28-August 8
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 years acts include The Prodigy, Toots & The Maytals and La Femme and over 160,000 attendees are expected to join the fight against AIDS at Paris-Longchamp racecourse. Day passes start at €39.
through July 10
One of the city’s most charming small museums, the Musée Jacquemart-André in the 8tharrondisement, presents a collection of 52 works from the outstanding collection of Alicia Koplowitz – from old masters like Zurbarán, Tiepolo and Goya to modern works by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani, Rothko Giacometti and Bourgeois. Entry €13.50.
through July 16
Musée Bourdelle, a charming exhibition space in Montparnasse which was once the studio of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, is housing an exhibition of haute couture from Balenciaga, with over a hundred pieces from the Palais Galliera collection and the archives of Maison Balenciaga. The exhibition is part of a Spanish season by Paris’ museum of fashion, Palais Galliera, with other exhibitions to follow through the year.
through July 22
Government of the Parisians: Paris, its people, the state – a shared history (Le Gouvernement des Parisiens. Paris, ses habitants, l’État, une histoire partagée) is a free exhibition at Hôtel de Ville, with almost 300 documents, sculptures, posters, photographs and more from the Louvre, d’Orsay, Carnavalet, Petit Palais and National Archives.
through July 31
This year marks 100 years since the death of sculptor Auguste Rodin, and there is a calendar of worldwide events to mark the occasion. The centrepiece is the Centenary Exhibition at the Grand Palais, with 200 works by the master himself as well as sculptures and drawings by contemporaries such as Bourdelle, Brancusi, Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti. Entry €13.
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.
through end September
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 30 October
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