NOTE: Clocks in France turn back one hour on October 28th at 3am for Daylight Savings.
There are a number of neighborhood Vide-Grenier (attic sale) or brocantes (antique sales) throughout Paris this month. For info on these sales and others in Paris for any given date check the website Info-Brocante.
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Paris all week long in a huge Bavarian-themed tent at the Porte de la Villette (19th), tickets €24-€44, including €15 of drink tickets. There will be music, Bavarian Cancan dancers, and plenty to eat and drink. Dust off the lederhosen and be ready for fun!
Les Voutes is a cultural performance center under the valuted arches in the gardens of Les Frigos, a famous former-meatpacking-warehouse-turned-squat-turned-artist-ateliers in the 1980s. They have regular events, usually €10-25 depending on how big. Tonight is “Lumière de Paris”, a music and dance performance with crystal “singing bowls”, from 8pm, entry €10.
October 6 Nuit Blanche
The annual Nuit Blanche “White Night” festival starts at sunset on Saturday and goes all night, with a diverse set of artistic events and shows scheduled around the theme of “constellations”, highlighting known and lesser-known cultural sites grouped by location: Invalides, Ile st-Louis, La Villette, Porte Dorée. Two of the things we like: if it’s nice out, try one of the free yoga sessions with Serial Yogger and Nicole Marty on the Esplanade des Invalides (hourly from 7pm until 2am); if it’s too cold to be outdoors, the free “musical marathon” at the Paris Philharmonic starting 7pm. Free entry.
Through October 6
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.
Through October 7
Escape to a little island on the edge of Paris for the 97th (!!) 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.
Through October 7
The 34th 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 1), and themes weekends like Disney Cosplay and Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.
October 7 & November 11
Have you ever participated in a Disco Soup event? The idea is to gather a group, gather bruised or otherwised unsold veggies from the open-air food market, chop them up while listening to disco music, and cook up a huge tureen of soup to share with your friends and the general public for free to oppose the useless waste of perfectly good food. You can join two Disco Soups this fall hosted by the City of Paris on October 7th at the Marché Porte Dorée (12th) and on November 11th at the Marché Jeanne d’Arc (13th) — Heather will be here! Look for the Maire de Paris’ “Atelier Cuisine & Santé” stand at the markets at 9:45am for a half hour atelier about how to combat food waste followed by the gathering, chopping and cooking with the group. Bring some containers to take some home with you! Free event, sign up here.
The annual Fête de la Science includes thousands of free events all over France, with many cool ones in Paris at the Musée Curie, the Institut Océanographique, Jardin des Plantes and the Grand Amphithéâtre of the Sorbonne. Theinfo is only in French, but you get access to places you’d normally never get to see (especially if you’re a tourist…use Google translate).
Best-selling author Cara Black will be speaking Upstairs at Café de la Mairie from 3-5pm. She is best known for her murder-mystery novels featuring the female Paris-based private investigator, Aimée Leduc. Free entry.
Head up to Montmartre for the 85th annual Fête des Vendanges, the wine harvest festival (yes, there is an actual little vineyard in Montmartre, just behind the Musée Montmartre and across from the Lapin Agile Cabaret). This year’s theme is “The 18th Celebrates Peace” for the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. There is grape stomping, food and wine tastings, fireworks, a parade, live music, and all kinds of fun throughout the “Butte“. Many events are free, some you have to reserve a spot, so get to the website or stop by the little Montmartre Tourism Office at 21 Place du Tertre (18th).
The ephemeral street art temple Aerosole (I write about it here last year) is closing for good this weekend. Check out the last events, including clubbing nights, electronic music, live mural painting, and roller derby on Sunday.
The 6th annual Yoga and Meditation Festival takes place at the Porte de la Villette. Free entry (sign up here). There are over 150 workshops workshops, conferences and a Master class given in English with translation.
See some of the best circus acts at the annual circus festival, “Village de Cirque 14“. The shows take place under the big top on the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. There are 15 shows, 10 of them free to the public.
October 11 & 25
The Jazz Club Etoile at Le Meridien Hotel (17th) is hosting free After Work “Apéro-Concerts” with live jazz music and happy hour pricing on select drinks from 7:30-10:30pm. On the 11th is the group “Kiss Me Tiger”, and on the 25th “Haylen”. A nice Thursday detour if you’re on the West side of town.
The SOS Help English-language listening line is hosting its Autumn Book & Bake Sale today 12 pm to 4 pm at the American Cathedral (23 Avenue George V, 8th). Donated books in English are only 2€. They have books in every category, with a ton of general fiction, young adult, and children’s books. Be sure to tell your friends about this great way to get inexpensive books, meet other people in the English-speaking community, and support this organisation. To donate books in good condition, simply bring them to the sale on Sunday. They will also have a bake sale where you can get all kinds of fabulous homemade sweet and savory goodies as well as perk up with a little coffee!
One of the biggest flower shows of the season, Les Journées des Plantes de Courson is taking place at the Château de Chantilly, just 30 minutes north of Paris by RER. Over 200 exhibitors in a stunning setting with pretty flowers and plants, what’s not to love? Buy your tickets in advance online to get the €17 entry fee (€20 at the door) or the €45 Family pass.
Book your seats now for the exclusive “Music by the Glass” evenings this weekend featuring the musical program above, as well as wine receotion with the musicians afterwards. All events include:
• Live performance by exceptional chamber musicians from the generation to come
• Warm ambience of the elegant and historic settings like Musée national Henner and «Reid Hall»
• A presentation of excellent wine & artisanal appetizers
• An opportunity to meet the musicians and team behind Sinfonietta Paris
• An elegant cultural and social experience
Tickets from €25, book here.
Through October 20
See the latest show by one of the most well-known street artists in Paris, Christian Guémy, aka C215, at the Galerie Mathgoth. It’s in the 13th arrondissement, where you can see some of his works such as the huge blue cat mural just outside the Nationale metro station. The show is called “Perdus de Vue”, with stencil portraits of the homeless Parisians who the artist has painted since his early street art career started in 2005. Open Wed-Sat, 2-7pm, free entry. Take the ooportunity to check out the other street art in the 13th while you’re there!
October 31 – November 4
Stuff yourself with all kinds of chocolately goodies at the annual Salon du Chocolat, at the Paris-Expo – Porte de Versailles (metro line 12), 10am-7pm. Entrance €14. You can get advance tickets online or ask at your favorite chocolate shop if they have any extra invitations. Avoid the weekend unless you’re a masochist! Here are some Salon du Chocolat tips from a previous article by Secrets of Paris intern Tara Oakes.
The screenprinting workshop and gallery L’Association pour l’Estampe & L’Art Populaire (49 bis rue des Cascades, 20th), located in the heights of Belleville, is hosting their annual Day of the Dead art exhibition featuring the prints of 27 local and international artists (works for sale at very reasonable prices). Open 3-8pm, closing party the 11th. Free entry.
The 43rd annual Salon Marjolaine, the largest organic fair in Paris, takes place this week at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes) with 560 stands selling everything organic you could imagine: produce, meats, cheeses, artisan oils, wines, essential oils, herbs, teas, cosmetics, beauty products, household cleaning products, clothing, shoes, accessories, home decor, books, gardening supplies, as well as stands for environmental tourism, different green activist groups such as Greenpeace, etc. There are also plenty of food stands for lunch onsite, a vestiaire, and a little shuttle from the metro Château de Vincennes to the entrance of the Parc Floral. Open 10:30am-7pm. Entry €10, but you can get a €3 discount voucher on the website to print out in advance. You can also see my article and video from my visit in 2010.
Through November 4
Street art fans can visit the 3rd annual Prix du Graffiti at the Eau de Paris pavillion in the 16th arrondissement (77 ave de Versailles, M° Javel or Mirabeau), featuring the winners chosen by a special jury.
The charity shop Emmaüs Alternatives is having a special sale of new “mercerie” lots, aka haberdasherie or sewing notions at their Davout location (105 blvd Davout, 20th) from 11am-7:30pm.
Don’t miss tonight’s Expat Theatre Night, featuring “Duel: Battle of the Ballads” a comical musical show in the heart of the Montparnasse’s nightlife district, not far from where Hemingway invented the Long Island Iced Tea! There are raffle prizes lined up for you (wine tasting, private French lessons, etc.), some trivia, and just an overall fun night in a French theatre with relaxed expat socializing, Champagne included. Reserve your spot and tell them Secrets of Paris sent you for an extra treat. 😉
November 11 Armistice Day (Bank holiday)
There are many events taking place on and around Armistice Day for the 100th Anniversary to the end of WWI. See the full schedule here.
Hemingway fans mark your calendars! Literary Manager of the Hemingway Estate, author Michael Katakis is launching “Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts from a Life” a collection of over 400 photographs and letters giving insight into Ernest Hemingway’s personal life and writing process. Katakis will discuss the work and answer questions about the prolific author’s work and current developments in the publishing of Hemingway’s previously unpublished work. This free event (in English) is hosted by the Abbey Bookshop at Eglise Saint-Severin’s Parish Hall (2 rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin, 5th, M° St-Michel or Cluny-Sorbonne) from 7:30pm.
Although it’s rather low-key in France compared to the hype it gets in America, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau festival takes place in wine bars throughout Paris today. Read all about the history and the different varieties (good, bad, ugly) and where to celebrate in Paris in this excellent article by Aaron Ayscough, The Redemption of Beaujolais Nouveau (read the 2014 update here and his current on-location exploration of the Beaujolais region here). And for fun, here’s a link to the little video I made at the Beaujolais dinner I attended in 2010 with Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth and Bryan Pirolli.
November 16 – January 15
For the first time in its several-hundred-years-history, the Jardin des Plantes (the gardens of the National Museum of Natural History) is hosting a nocturnal light festival “Espèces en voie d’illumination” featuring giant illulinated animals which are either already extinct or quickly on their way there. It’s a magical setting to get across a serious subject, perfect for kids as well as adults looking for a unique evening activity over the holidays. Tickets are €15 (14 if you buy in advance), €12 for kids under 12, free for kids under 3.
Due to the recent announcement in the rise of taxes on gas, the French have decided to call for a day of protest action, including blockades of major roadways (like the Periphérique surrounding Paris). Plan accordingly, and if you absolutely need to get somewhere on that day (like the airport), you might be better off staying at an airport hotel the night before or get there before 8am!
Some of the best French and international street artists (Obey, C215, Inti, MissTic) have decorated the walls of Paris’ 13th arrondissement with their artworks, including an impressive collection of murals commissioned by the local mayor from the Butte aux Cailles to the Place Jeanne d’Arc. A tour with the English-speaking guides at #ExploreParis will reveal the best of these artworks in a 2.5 hour walking tour, with real insider expertise and knowledge of the street art world, both internationally and locally. Just €23/person, from 10:30am-1pm. There are many other tours available if this timing doesn’t work for you: https://exploreparis.com/en/
Fêtons les Berges Piétonnes! To celebrate the permanent pedestrianization of Les Berges aka Le Parc Rives de Seine aka the Right Bank Quais from Pont de Sully to Pont Neuf, this Sunday there will be a huge festive day of live music, open-air dancing, a food market and free distribution of plants and bulbs. Free enty, from 11am-8pm.
The American Library of Paris is hosting longtime Secrets of Paris contributor Bryan Pirolli for its latest Evenings with an Author series. “Bryan Pirolli’s new book, Travel Journalism: Informing Tourists in the Digital Age, invites us to explore the evolving world of travel media. Bryan will discuss real-life examples from his professional life writing for Fodor’s, Time Out, and CNN coupled with his research at the Sorbonne. In his book, he questions how Airbnb has disrupted journalism with its magazine Airbnbmag. He asks more broadly how journalists can rethink their role as information providers and watchdogs while TripAdvisor contributors and Instagram influencers compete for audiences. Is there a future for travel journalists as we once knew them, or are there new realities that need to be embraced?”
Check back soon for the announced dates of the Paris Christmas Villages starting the end of November.
Other Paris Calendar Links
▪ For French Theatre with English surtitles: Theatre in Paris
▪ For general events around Paris (including sports): Que Faire à Paris?
▪ For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing
▪ For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism