Last-Gasp Summer & Outdoor Events
Through September 3
After the rising heat in Paris drove locals into the parks to cool off last summer, the city has decided to allow us more access around the clock. Nine large Parisian parks and several smaller ones will be open 24/7 throughout the summer including Place des Vosges (4th), le Jardin des grands explorateurs (6th, just below Luxembourg), le Parc Kellermann (13th), le Parc Montsouris (14th), le parc André-Citroën (15th), le parc Martin-Luther-King (17th, next to Batignolles), le Parc des Buttes Chaumont (19th), le Square Séverine (20th) and les Pelouses d’Auteuil (16th).
Through September 4
Paris Plages: sand, beach trees, volley balls and bikinis — on the Seine! Fun activities and plenty of space for lounging along the Right Bank quays and Hôtel de Ville extended this year through September 4th. Free entry, 10am-midnight.
Through September 10
Want to practice your Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, or Rock ‘n’ roll moves? The dance section of Paris Université Club is hosting outdoor dance soirées all summer. The 7:30pm teaching demonstrations may be in French, but no language barriers will stop you from dancing into the night. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays outside Mk2 Bibliothèque (M° Bibliothèque François Mitterrand); Wednesdays and Thursdays at Esplanade Jussieu, Quai Saint-Bernard (M° Jussieu). Free and open to all. Weekly schedules are published here.
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 €29 (lawn) to €49-85 (seated) and €258 for VIP area access. Get tickets at FNAC. See videos from previous years here.
Two evenings of Mozart and Dohnányi followed by a wine tasting: what could be better? For the September series of Music by the Glass: Friday evening, September 23, at 20h00 in the elegant private residence of one of their patrons, located in the 14th arrondissement; and Saturday evening, September 24, in the modern ambience of their artistic partner, the Finnish Institute (5e). Full details here.
Through October 1
Looking for an alternative to Paris Plages? 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, M° 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. See Heather’s article here.
September 2 – October 9
The 33rd annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on September 2nd in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 4pm-midnight Mon, Tues, & Thurs; 2pm-midnight Wed & Fri; and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite). Many events including concerts and pyrotechnica shows (10th-11th), brocante/flea market (17th), vintage car show (Oct 1st), etc. See the full schedule here.
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 (français).
Music and Culture Festivals
Le Lavage de la Madeleine is one of the largest Brazilian street festivals in Europe, held each year in Paris in and around the steps of the Madeleine Church in the 8th, with a Brazilian food and crafts market (Friday-Sunday 10am-8pm), 300 artists, live music, a traditional mass, and a colorful parade on Sunday finishing at the Place de la Madeleine at 2pm with the symbolic washing of the church steps. For more info see the FB page.
The annual Fête de l’Humanité is three days of live music (65 acts including headliners The Chemical Brothers, Alain Souchon, Lauren Hill), debates (because the French love a good debate), arts and cinema expositions, a bal populaire, a book fair, a 10k with over 600,000 participants on Sunday, and activities for kids. The main sponsor/organizer is the daily newspaper L’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 €35 (camping and parking also possible). Free for kids under 15.
Through September 18
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 €6. The gardens also have playgrounds, a butterfly house, photo exhibits, and gorgeous floral displays, of course!
September 4, 11, 18, 25
The pedestrian-only shopping and dining street known as Bercy Village is hosting free, open-air opera concerts every Sunday in September at 3:30pm and 5pm. See the full program here (sorry, only in French).
Get out your earplugs, it’s time for the 18th annual Techno Parade de Paris! It starts at noon (so far location is a secret) and finishes at République for a huge party. Check out their FB page for better information on the practicalities.
The 9th 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 from 11am-7pm. They’ll be promoting and selling tickets to all of the best fall shows in Paris. Come on down for a stroll and check it out, plenty of surprises to discover! The program is here.
Relax with live music, dancing, pétanque, yoga and massages this summer on Esplanade Nathalie-Sarraute (M° La Chapelle/Marx Dormoy). “Dans un coin de Jardin” is a free summer event with options for the whole family, including games for the kids and healthy food. See the full schedule and updates here.
The annual Nuit Blanche “White Night” festival starts at sunset on Saturday and goes until sunrise on Sunday, with a diverse set of artistic events and shows in parks, public spaces and sometimes cool venues like the Petit Ceinture (usually closed to the public). Pick up the printed guide for free at Paris Rendez-Vous (boutique and info center at Hôtel de Ville, entrance 29 rue de Rivoli, 4th).
Expositions & Artists
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. Tickets €11-€16.50.
This weekend is the 33rd annual Journées du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days, with the theme “Heritage and Citizenship”. 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 “FR” at the top right of the page to switch the language to EN). 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.
Handicap International is organizing their 22nd annual Pyramide de Chaussures (Pyramid of Shoes) in Paris and all over France today to bring attention to the very real problem of landmines and cluster bombs in civilian areas around the world. Show your support for the cause by bringing an old pair of shoes to add to the pyramid (in Paris at Place de la Bastille from 10am-8pm), signing the petition online, or makeing a donation to help pay for prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs for children, and de-mining operations in the most dangerous areas.
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 exhibit is in French with audio-guides in English. Free entry.
Through September 30
Meet the artists of Belleville at the Belvédère aux Artistes, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Parc de Belleville (on the esplanade overlooking the Maison de l’Air, Rue de Piat). 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!
Food & Literary Events
September 8 and 22
Le Food Market is a monthly open-air food festival on Boulevard Belleville (between metro Ménilmontant and Couronnes) with over a dozen stands serving up tasty dishes of all kinds (kind of like a gathering of static food trucks, but without the wheels) from 6pm-10:30pm. The first season was VERY crowded, so get there early to avoid waiting (there are places to sit and eat). Here’s the video (in French, but gives you an idea what to expect):
You’ll find food specialities from Southwestern France at the 17th annual open-air food market on the Seine, Les Marchés Flottants du Sud-Ouest, for three days along the Quai Montebello (on the Left Bank, facing Notre Dame Cathedral, M° St Michel). Wine, armagnac, foie gras, saussages and sliced meats, cheese, olives, patés, tapenades, and — each day from 10:30am-3pm — fresh fruits distributed for FREE (the grapes and apples are amazing). There will also be live music, plenty of demonstratins and other activities. If the weather is nice, expect large crowds! Free entry. Open 10am-10pm (Sunday until 7pm).
September 23 – October 2
Escape to a little island on the edge of Paris for the 93rd edition of the Foire de Chatouantique market. Formerly known as the Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons (Ham and Flea Market), this popular twice-annual market has a mix of over 800 stands selling antiques and bric-a-brac, with an entire section dedicated to regional French foods, particulary pork in all its varieties. The Ile de Chatou, just north of Paris, also known as the Impressionists Island, is accessible via RER A from Charles-des-Gualle-Etoile station in Paris, then either walk five minutes or take the free shuttle. Entry €6.
Ever wonder how the authentic American diner in Paris, Breakfast in America, got started? Don’t miss the launch of the owner Craig Carlson’s new book “Pancakes in Paris” at the Abbey Bookshop, 7-9pm. Book pre-sales available anytime before then. Read an excerpt here.
La Parisienne is a for-profit women’s race with a bit of pink-washing to encourage women to pay €50 for a 6k run (In 2014 only €30k was donated by the organizers, who collect almost €2 million from the 40,000 runners to participate; the rest of the money is given directly from participants) . 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 muscians providing entertainment along the way. Donate your dough direct to the Fondation Recherche Médicale to combat breast cancer and find another race to run, like the one on Sunday the 11th at the Fête de l’Humanité (€35 for the 10k plus entrance to the three-day festival with live music, book fair, dance party, and stands for dozens of non-profits working to make the world a better place).
Feeling sporty? La Maison Radio France Fête le Sport all day with a “Vertigo La Solidarité au Sommet” race to the top (22nd floor!) of the Maison Radio France (16th arr), as well as a “Village Sportif” with badminton, fencing, boxing, basketball and other demos and animations. Money raised by the runners for the Vertigo (you can go as slow as you want, and only need to raise at least €22, but €365 each is the goal) goes to Play International to help promote a sporty lifestyle for children. Free entry to the Village, music from the DJs of Le Mouv’ (my fave French rock station).
Pedestrians take over the city of Paris for the Journée sans Voiture (Car Free Day), from 11am-6pm in the 1st through 11th arrondissements and parts of the neighboring arrondissements (including the Champs-Elysées, around the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre). Don’t bother trying to drive through Paris on Sunday!
Through October 1
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 or book a table for a gourmet meal starting at €49), a luminous walking tour and a fireworks finale. Every Saturday evening, entry €19.50.
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