The annual Fête de l’Humanité is three days of live music (65 acts including headliners Massive Attck, Scorpions, and IAM), debates (because the French love a good debate), arts and cinema expositions, a bal populaire, a 10k run, a book fair, and activities for kids. The main sponsor/organizer is the daily newspaperL’Humanité, whose motto is “Envie de Changer Le Monde” (The desire to change the world), so you can imagine it’s quite a leftie leaning festival where politics, social justice and liberty are the main stars. This year it takes place in La Corneuve (northeast suburbs), and three-day passes are just €30 (camping and parking also possible).
Get out your earplugs, it’s time for the 16th annual Techno Parade de Paris! It starts at Nation at noon, passing through Place de la Bastille, and finishes at the Place de la République.
Through September 14
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 €5.50. The gardens also have playgrounds, a butterfly house, photo exhibits, and gorgeous floral displays, of course!
Le Grand Feux is one of the biggest fireworks shows in Europe, taking place on the edge of Paris in the Parc de St Cloud from 9pm-11pm. Tickets are €28 (lawn) to €82 (seated) and €195 for VIP area access. Get tickets at FNAC. See videos from previous years here.
Take back the city by transforming parking places into flash gardens for a day. Organized throughout France by Guerilla Gardeners, Parking Day is open to anyone who wants to participate in this fun and creative reminder that even city slickers could use a little more green in their lives. There’s an info day for participants on September 11th, check the website for more info.
Through September 20
Looking for an alternative to Paris Plage? Glazart (near Parc de la Villette in the 19th) has it’s own version, La Plage, with free live music, techno parties, a huge sand “beach” with terracecocktail bar, food trucks, Sunday flea market, and even pétanque. See the entire schedule of concerts here.
September 23 – October 8
This weekend is the Grand Fête des Jardins Partagés celebrating all of the country’s communal gardens. You can see the list of Parisian gardens here. (In French only)
The 7th annual Culture au Quai is a free cultural festival on the quays of the Bassin de la Vilette (Quai de Loire, 19th, M° Jaurès), including contemporary art stands, live music, live theatre and dance performances, and activities for kids. Come on down for a stroll and check it out, plenty of surprises to discover! The program is here.
Through October 4
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) and a fireworks finale. Every Saturday evening, entry €19.50.
Through October 12
The ground level of Les Docks en Seine has been converted into a sort of alternative/grunge/skater hangout called Ground Control with bar and bistro snacks (beware: that hot dog is spicey!), fussball, pingpong, art expo, live concerts, and some arthouse cinema projected on the walls. “It looks like the setting for a One Direction video,” said a 20-something fan (I have to take her word for that). Very laid back, no entry fee, open daily 11am-2am.
Through October 12
The 31st annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on August 29th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 2pm-midnight Mon-Fri, and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite).
Exhibits & Cultural Events
“Everyone to the Restaurant” is the theme of Tous au Restaurant, a weeklong festival promoting restaurants in France. This year two people get to eat for the price of one in participating restaurants, or as they say, “Your guest is our guest”. The site is partially in English, just click on Evenements to see the list of restaurants in Paris. Reservations open September 17th. And fill up fast!
September 18 through December 31
Looking for a super sexy Parisian cabaret show that isn’t full of tourists? Don’t miss the second season of the Mugler Follies, at Le Comedia Theatre, a show written, costumed and directed by the famous fashion designer Thierry Mugler (currently the artistic director for Beyoncé’s world tour). The show alone starts at €29, but you can also opt for Champagne, dinner or Sunday Brunch (food by Fouquet’s).
This weekend is the 31st annual Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days. Over 350 historic sites will be opened to the public in Paris, many which are only open for this occasion. See the full schedule at the website (click on “langue” at the very bottom of the page and it will reload into English…well, auto-translated English!). Some of the obvious sites like the President’s Elysée Palace will have long lines, but many other sites are happily free to visit or participate in a free tour.
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.
La Parisienne is a women’s race to race awareness and money for breast cancer research and prevention. The first two days are filled with special events, classes, demos, food, health sessions, stands, and training sessions. The 6k race takes place on Sunday with 600 musicians providing entertainment along the way.
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing and American Library in Paris.
- For indie/alternative music concerts see Gigs in Paris
- For art exhibitions, museum news and openings see Paris Muse.
- For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism.
- For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide.