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Paris Events Calendar

Paris Events Calendar – May 2014

May Holidays

May 1
Fête du Travail
— Labor Day — expect holiday closures of all government buildings and most museums and monuments. Many office workers also take off on Friday for the long weekend.

May 8
Victory Day 1945 — aka V-Day — an official French holiday, but not everything will be closed like it is on the 1st. Many office workers also take off on Friday for the long weekend.

May 29
Ascension is a Catholic holiday, and a bank holiday in France that most office workers take off, but otherwise all of the museums and monuments have normal hours. This is the last long weekend of holidays until Bastille Day in July.

Exhibits & Events

May 17
La Nuit Européenne des Musées
is a free festival of culture and art in participating museums and cultural centers throughout Europe, which stay open later than usual, propose special events to draw in the public, and no entry fees. In Paris you can find the long list of venues online, from the obvious like the Louvre and Orsay to the more interesting and lesser-known places such as the Musée de Minérologie, the Musée Curie, or the Centre de Culture de Serbie which is showing a special exhibition on Serbia during WWI. 

Through May 18
Kicking off this year’s exhibits at the Musée du Quai Branly is Black Atlantic, an exhibition of the book Negro Anthology by Nancy Cunard, published in 1934. “Lavishly illustrated, this 858-page book, resembling a major documentary enquiry, blends popular culture, sociology, politics, history, art history in the form of articles, archives, photographs, extracts from the press, musical scores, eye-witness accounts etc.” Buy tickets online for this exhibit at 37 quai Branly, 75007 Paris. 

May 23-26
The 25th annual Belleville Artists’ Open Studios (Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville) takes place this weekend with over 250 artists in 120 studios hidden and around the Belleville district, the largest of its kind in France. It’s a great wayto discover the neighborhood, meet local artists, and buy original paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, and drawings at great prices. Free entry, get the map at the Galerie des AAB (1 rue Francis Picabia, 20th, M° Couronnes).

May 24-25
Les Frigos (19 rue des Frigos, 13th, M° Bibliothèque or Quai de la Gare) was one of the first artists’ squats to get legalized in Paris. Check out 200 amazing artists and the converted meat lockers where they work during this weekend’s Open Ateliers (Portes Ouvertes 2014), Saturday from 11am-10pm, Sunday 2-8pm. Free entry.  

Through June 15
Comic book fans, take heed! New exhibit Superheroes: the Art of Alex Ross at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture brings to us the work of a groundbreaking comic book artist, who has worked on the likes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Wednesday to Sunday, 11 AM-6 PM at 34 avenue du New York, Paris 75116. 

Through June 15
For those looking for events commemorating WWI (1914-1918), the Galerie des Bibliothèques de la Ville de Paris (Municipal Libraries Gallery, 22 rue Malher, 4th) is hosting a fascinating exhibit, Paris 14/18, la Guerre au Quotidien. It includes over 200 photos and films, never shown in public before, documenting the life of Parisians during the war years, and how the city and the country were forever changed. Watch the trailer for the exhibit here (en français). The expo is free, open Tues-Sun 1-7pm (Thursdays until 9pm). 

Through August 4
Fields of Battle-Lands of Peace 14-18 is a free photo exposition on the eastern end of the wrought iron fence around Luxembourg Gardens of 79 striking contemporary images by Irish photographer (and battlefield guide) Mike Sheil. The photos are taken of World War I battlefields in Europe, eastern Africa, Israel and Turkey, with captions in French and English. Inside the gardens there’s also a large walk-on map of the battlefields just in front of the Senate building.  

Through August 31
Between the Lines and the Trenches, a very intimate collection of personal letters, notebooks and photos from the trenches, many never published before. At the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts (222 Boulevard Saint-Germain), through August 31st, entry €7. 

Through August 31 
Il était une fois: L’Orient Express (Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express) at the Institut du Monde Arabe (1, rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 5th) presents a historic look at the Orieint Express and its link between Europe and the Middle East. There are three luxury passenger cars and a dining car you can walk through on the esplanade outside, followed by the exhibit inside the museum of vintage promotional posters, luggage and items including Graham Greene’s typewriter and Agatha Christie’s hat and coat, staff uniforms, as well as films and photos. Entry €8.50-€10.50, free under 16.

Through November 3, 2014
The Grand Galerie d’Evolution at the Jardin des Plantes (Natural History Museum) is hosting a fabulous new exhibition, Nuit, an exploration of the night in all its aspects from scientific to imaginary, presented in four sections: the night sky, noctural life in the natural world, a night of sleep, and myths and monsters of the night. Open daily except Tuesday from 10am-6pm (nope, not open at night). Entry €9, €7 for kids and students 4-24 years.

Food & Entertainment   

April 30- May11
The annual Paris Fair — aka Foire de Paris — has been running since 1889. It’s essentially an enormous trade show for the public at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, with huge halls dedicated to food and wine, home decor and DIY, health and well-being, international culture and crafts, and “leisure” (travel and hobbies). There are always special events, concerts, and competitions (the latest inventions competition is always fun to see). Open daily 10am-7pm, until 9pm on Thuesday 1st and 8th May, and May 9th until 11pm. Tickets are €12. Get them in advance online or at FNAC, or face horrible lines at the entrance. Avoid the holidays and weekends, when it’s most crowded. 

May 4
From 8:15 to 11 PM, enjoy the Once Upon a Table dinner at 59, Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris. For only €130, you have the chance to eat a five course French meal, drink local wine and immerse yourself in Paris’ stellar food culture. Register on the website.

May 4-12
Aller Retour is a week of events celebrating the 80th anniversary of Henry Miller’s naughty novel Tropic of Cancer, including art at Dorothy’s Gallery, poetry, dinner parties, film screenings, live music, and a pop-up bookstore at the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore with an exhibit of rare manuscripts, letters, and books. Two of the events require advance tickets: on May 8th the Soirée Chez Jenny’s includes three-course dinner, live music and talks by leading experts on Henry Miller (including Mary Duncan from the Paris Writers Group); on May 10 the Parisian première of Michael Polish’s BIG SUR, the film based on Jack Kerouac’s novel with special guests, at Le Grand Action Cinéma. Come mingle with an international crowd of writers, publishers, artists, filmmakers and musicians! 

May 14
Fusion Jazz fans shouldn’t miss the Rick Margitza Quartet in residence at Le Baiser Salé (58 rue des Lombards, 1st) tonight from 9:30pm.  Advance tickets online for €16.

May 18
Poet, travel writer and guide Lisa Pasold is hosting “Mysterious Passages” a guided 90-minute walk throgh the city’s historic covered passages, where she recounts a very intriguiging story: “One evening in 1855, a guest at the Hotel des Familles disappears. The following afternoon, three people come to claim his possessions…which include a single purple glove, a carte de visite from Baron Haussmann, and a pet lobster. Who is the rightful heir for these strange items? My “walk insolite” is a creative exploration–a fictional invention that takes you into a story I’ve written especially for a particular neighbourhood. The mysterious arcades of Paris allow us to make our way from the Grands-Boulevards, following the story from the Hotel in the Passage Jouffroy (today known as the Hotel Chopin) down to the Palais-Royal.” It starts at 2pm and costs €9, taking place rain or shine and finishing at a café. Email pasoldla@gmail.com to reserve & get the exact starting point for the walk.

May 31 -June 1
The music festival We Love Green is back at the Parc de Bagatelle, 75016 Paris after 2 years, with Foals and London Grammar heading the line-up! Musical acts are accompanied by a children’s space, festivities and organic restaurants for the tired concert-goer. Enjoy previews of the songs by following We Love Green onFacebook and reserve tickets online before they are snatched up. Tickets for May 31 are sold out, but 2 day passes and tickets for June 1 are still available as of April 3.  

June 1
From 8:15 to 11 PM, enjoy the Once Upon a Table dinner at 59, Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris. For only €130, you have the chance to eat a five course French meal, drink local wine and immerse yourself in Paris’ stellar food culture. Register on the website. 

June 22
This summer, Pixar in Concert comes to Paris! The Sinfonia Pop Orchestra will be playing musical themes from 13 movies, from Toy Story to Ratatouille, for only one day at the Palais des Congres, Porte Maillot, 75017 Paris. Tickets are available online, but will no doubt sell out very quickly – so buy now to watch excerpts from your favourite Pixar films accompanied by a live musical performance. 

Flea Markets & Shopping

May 1
Shop for vintage clothing, funiture, decor, music, accessories, lingerie, posters, and glasses at the Vide-Grenier Retro Vintage (retro attic-cleaning sale) from 10am-pm at Next Step (11 cours Debille, 11th, M° Voltaire), entry €2. There will also be retro hair dressers, live music and goodies to eat. 

May 18
Fair Pride is a new festival in Paris celebrating the Fair Trade community of businesses that promote ethical capitalism and solidarity. There will be 60 stands selling their goods at the Place Baudoyer (in front of the Mairie du 4ème, just off the rue de Rivoli and Rue des Barres, 4th) from 10am-10pm. At noon there will be a Slow Food meal made up of local ingredients, ethical fashion shows, a Disco Soup, and other fun events around the day. Free entry. 

May 22-25
The Eglise St-Nicolas-des-Champs at Arts-et-Métiers (3rd) is hosting their spring Braderie (rummage sale) with clothing,  books, bric-à-brac,  books, DVDs,  shoes and a small international “bar”. Open Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-noon and 1-6pm, and Sunday 12:15pm-2pm. No entry fee. 

Outdoor Fun

May 25 
Relive a day in the 17th-century King’s Court at the 10th annual Journée Grand Siècle at Château Vaux le Vicomte, with elegant costume contest, show fencing, horse show, Baroque dance, and a luncheon in Le Nôtre’s French formal gardens. Period costumes can be rented on-site, reserve online in advance, entry €11.50-€17.50. 

Through June 9
From noon to midnight every day is theFoire du Trone, an open air fair with rides, food and perfect for a family outing. Watch the teaser video and head on over to the Pelouse de Reuilly, 92 boulevard Poniatowski, 75012 Paris. Keep in mind the firework show on May 1 and the grand carnival on May 11. 

May 3 – September 7
The Fête de Montmartre in the Renoir Gardens of the Musée Montmartre is new open-air festival from 2-7pm featuring period actors from the Belle Epoch performing short scenes, live music, Cancan dancers, fortune tellers, musicians, etc. It takes place every first weekend of the month from May 3 through September 7; tickets €12, best purchased online in advance. 



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