Last-Chance Summer & Outdoor Events
Through September 3
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 14
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 Feu 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 €32 (lawn) to €59-89 (seated) and €258 for VIP area access. Get tickets at FNAC. See videos from previous years 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.
September 1 – October 8
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 (Sept 2), brocante/flea market (Oct 1), vintage car show (Sept 9-10), etc.
Summer on Les Berges du Seine
There’s always something going on at the Parc Rives de Seine, also known as Les Berges, the pedestrian walkways along the Seine, 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.
Les Traversées du Marais is a three-day music festival with a “Counter culture” theme taking place throughout the historic courtyards of the Marais district.
The annual Fête de l’Humanité is three days of live music (60 acts including headliner Iggy Pop), 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 17
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). Listen to music from Debussy and Chopin to West Side Story. Entry to the gardens €6. The gardens also have playgrounds, a butterfly house, photo exhibits, and gorgeous floral displays, of course!
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.
Expositions & Artists
The first street art museum in Paris, called the Maquis-art Hall of Fame at L’Aérosol cultural center, will open this month. More than 400 works will recount the story of street art from the 1980s onward, including pieces from private collections. Interested in Banksy or the Space Invader guy? This is your chance to learn more! Entry is 5 euros, and they have an event page on Facebook here.
Through September 10
Interested in something more whimsical? The Art of DC takes you through the fantastical world of your favorite superheroes like Wonder Woman and Batman. Hundreds of drawings, paintings, and costumes await at the Musée Art Ludique, Docks en Seine, 34 quai d’Austerlitz, Paris 13th. Tickets €11-€16.50.
This weekend is the 34th 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 (an English version is available and clearly marked) 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 23rd 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 République from 10am-7pm), 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.
Food & Literary Events
September 7 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. It can get quite 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 18th 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 demonstrations and other activities. If the weather is nice, expect large crowds! Free entry. Open 10am-10pm (Sunday until 7pm).
Through September 18
Travel lovers will want to head to the Galerie de la Minérologie for an exhibit on National Geographic, celebrating 125 years of exploration through photography. You’ll probably never be inspired to enter this rock and gemstone museum otherwise, so make the trip before the show closes. Plus, it’s in French and English. 12€, open 10am-6pm, closed Tuesday. More info here.
September 22 – October 1
Escape to a little island on the edge of Paris for the 95th edition of the Foire de Chatou antique 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, particularly 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-Gaulle-Etoile station in Paris, then either walk five minutes or take the free shuttle. Open 10am-7pm, entry €6.
La Parisienne is a for-profit women’s race with a bit of pink-washing to encourage women to pay €45-55 for a 7k 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 musicians providing entertainment along the way. Donate your dough direct to the Fondation Recherche Médicale.
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).
For more running events, including the Disney Half Marathon (Sept 23-24) and the Course Enfants Sans Cancer (Sept 24) see Jogging Plus’s list here.
September 14, 20, 28
Through October 7
Interested in the latest in home design? The Maison & Objet show at the Paris Villepinte Nord expo hall welcomes the latest trends from around the world featuring furniture and home décor as well as conferences with industry leaders. Badges aren’t cheap at 60 euros, but you’ll gain access to over 130,000 stands and designers. Get all the details and registration possibilities here.
Other Paris Calendar Links
▪ For general events around Paris: Que Faire à Paris?
▪ For art exhibitions in galleries and museum see Slash Paris
▪ For other English-friendly events, check out Savoir Faire Paris
▪ For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism
▪ For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide