Due to ongoing Coronavirus precautions, many regular events in Paris have been cancelled, postponed or heavily restricted in scope. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things happening around town to keep you entertained during this exceptional Rentrée. Just don’t forget your mask!
Ground Control (behind Gare de Lyon, 12th) is hosting Bordeaux wine tastings by Gabriel & Co, the first French winemakers to receive the Fair for Life ethical trade certification. The event will take place Thurs 5-9pm, Fri-Sun noon-7pm. Read more about this cool space and “food court” in the Secrets of Paris article A Tour of Ground Control.
Les Traversées du Marais is a free, three-day festival in 40 cultural centers of the Marais district. The theme for this year’s festival, in reference to the artworks made during Covid-19 confinement, is “Intimacy”. Download the full program here, and see the map here.
September 4 – October 11
The 37th annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on September 4th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Opening night is 6pm-1130pm. Normal hours 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). On opening night you can purchase an unlimited ride pass for €20 (€10 for kids).
Pedestrians and cyclists are given priority on the Champs-Elysées and the center of Paris every first Sunday of the month as part of City Hall’s “Paris Réspire” (Paris Breathes) initiative. That means you can cycle in a virtually motorized-vehicle-free zone from 10am-6pm in the 1st-4th arrondissement as well.
Enjoy the last of the summer’s live music, food and drinks in the open-air terrace of La Demesure sur Seine (69 Port de la Rapée, 12th), hosted by the energetic king of the night, Nicolas Ullmann. Open 6pm-2am. Reserve if you want to eat (otherwise no reservations for just the bar).
This year’s annual Fête de l’Humanité will take place in venues across Paris this year (Bellevilloise, the Kilowatt, the Espace Niemeyer, the Maroquinerie, the Halle de la Villette, Palais Brongniart), with live streaming of the live music acts, debates (because the French love a good debate), and calls for activism on their website https://fete.humanite.fr. This year’s theme, “In the current health context, organizing the Fête de l’Humanité is an act of resistance.” You can still participate and support the cause by purchasing your €25 access voucher on the website (€5 goes to the Secours Populaire charity).
Dying to escape for the weekend to the countryside? Just under two hours from Paris is the annual Festival de la Tomate et des Saveurs at the Château de la Bourdaisière, famous for its National Tomato Conservatory of over 700 varieties of this fabulous fruit. Read all about my last visit here.
The 24th annual Fête des Jardins takes place in parks and gardens all over Paris and the Ile-de-France this weekend, including community gardens and other gardens usually closed to the public, for free demonstrations of gardening techniques, guided tours, and other activities for the whole family. Download the program here (en français).
Le Lavage de la Madeleine is one of the largest Brazilian festivals in Europe, held each year in Paris at the Madeleine Church in the 8th. Usually there is a Brazilian food and crafts market, 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, but with Covid the only thing confirmed so far is the washing of the steps (wear white and your mask to participate). For more info see the FB page.
The Museum of the History of Immigration at the Porte Dorée is hosting the 5th annual Grand Festival 2020, with eight free events featuring actors, dancers, musicians, artists and writers using their talents in the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and LGBT hatred. The final day closes with a Grand Bal Afro-Dance for the whole family at 4:30pm-6:30pm (free as long as you reserve online here).
The Abbey Bookshop (29 rue de la Parcheminerie, 5th) is hosting the book launch of “Let Them Eat Pancakes” by Craig Carlson, founder of the beloved American diners in Paris, “Breakfast in America”. From 6:30-9:30pm, free entry, come buy a book, listen to Craig read, enjoy some free pancakes!
Most of the former railway surrounding Paris remains closed to the public, but you can visit a section on the northern end for the Live Open-Air Concerts at Le Hasard Ludique (128 avenue de St Ouen, 18th). From noon until 10pm, the 2000m² space will have FOUR music stages, a big BBQ lunch and bar with organic wines and local beers. Social distancing oblige, the number of people allowed in will be limited, so get there early and don’t forget your mask. Free entry.
This weekend is the 37th annual Journées du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days, with the theme “Heritage and education: learning for life!” 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, although it’s an auto-translator) 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. Many require advance registration because of limited space, so be sure to sign up ASAP.
Through September 20
The Festivals du Parc Floral return, with the Paris Jazz Festival and the Classique au Vert at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes, 12th) with classical concerts every Saturday and jazz concerts every Sunday, at 4pm. The concerts are free, but there is a €2.50 entrance fee to the Parc Floral. Picnics allowed.
In 2015, “Les Grands Voisin” set up temporary roots in the former Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Hospital with 600 beds for the homeless and refugees, as well as space for 250 non-profits, startups, artisans, and artists to work in a unique environment. Opened to the public, with a restaurant, café, shops, and a calendar of events such as dances, concerts, markets and artist expositions. If you missed out on experiencing this amazing place, this is the last month of Les Grands Voisins, which will close now that renovations are beginning on the old hospital. There are events throughout the month, including five grand banquets September 9-13th, the last Marché des Grands Voisins and a Milonga Solidaire tango ball on September 20th. Come support this great social experiment one last time!
Although it had a late start, the 107th annual Tour de France 2020 launched from Nice on August 29th, and will be arriving in Paris today for the final sprinting stage down the Champs-Elysées (starting the day from Mantes-la-Jolie). You might not be able to crowd into the streets of Paris to watch this year, but you can follow each stage from your smartphone by downloading the free Tour de France app.
September 24 (sign up September 10th!)
Le Food Market is hosting their second open-air Food Banquet tonight with four restaurants serving one unique three-course menu to 60 tables of 4-8 people each, set up along the Boulevard de Belleville. So grab 3-7 of your friends and reserve your table starting September 10th here (they all sold out in an hour last time).
Lost in Frenchlation is hosting the screening of Une Sirène à Paris with English subtitles at the Luminor Hotel de Ville cinema, 7pm. Drinks and snacks available from 7pm, film starts at 8pm. Tickets €9.50, book online in advance!
After all of the spring events were cancelled, “Le Retour!” is the theme for this weekend’s Portes Ouvertes des Artistes de Ménilmontant (20th arrondissement) when artist studios are open to the public. The main gallery has maps and examples of different artists’ works, Ménils8, 8 rue Boyer, 20th, metro Gambetta. You can also download it here. Free entry, lots of events around the neighborhood during the festival.
Every September the Carreau du Temple (3rd arrondissement) hosts a three-day food festival. This year it’s celebrating African cuisine for the Food Table Africa. Check out the full program of free masterclasses, workshops, the food market, photo exposition, and the big Sunday brunch by Chefs Alexandre Bella Ola and Fatou Meite (€25/person).
September 25 – October 4
Escape to a little island on the edge of Paris for the 100th 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 €7.
Volunteers needed for a “Clean-Up Walk” from 10:30am-2pm in the Bois de Boulogne with the non-profit association, Etats Sauvages. The exact meeting spot will be sent once you’ve signed up here on their website (free, optional donation). You’ll need to bring gloves and a brown bag lunch to eat with the group when finished.
The 6th annual “¡Qué Gusto!” Festival returns to Paris at the Grand Quartier (15 rue de Nancy, 10th) with cooking workshops for all ages, a small market, a large communal dinner, a brunch, tastings, a photo exhibition, a play for children … everything around the celebration of Mexican gastronomy. Free entry, reservations for the meals recommended, download the program here.
A real neighborhood “vide grenier” (attic sale) in the 13th arrondissement today, along Rue Louise Weiss (next to Station F), by le Resoquartier neighborhood association.
Through September 30
The Musée National Eugène Delacroix, in the last home of the French painter who embodied the Romantic movement of the 19th century, is free through the end of the month. Reserve your time slot on their website (but normally there are no lines).
Every Saturday through October 31st
Enjoy a guided, one-hour visit of one of the oldest working farms on the edge of Paris, transformed by the Parti Poétique into a permaculture farm on one hectare. Just €6.50 for the tour (in French), every Saturday at 3pm. Register in advance though #ExploreParis. FYI, it’s right next door to the Galley Farm I visited last fall: A Historic Working Farm on the Edge of Paris
Through December 19
La Nouvelle Seine péniche moored at Quai de Montebello (5th) is hosting The Cabaret Burlesque, “a collection of talented performers each with a particular style combine glam and rock in hilarious fashion. The retro aesthetics of this intimate show make for a quintessentially Parisian cabaret!” Friday and Saturday nights, tickets €24 (includes Champagne).
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For General Events around Paris (including sports): Que Faire à Paris?
- For Off the Beaten Track Tours (in French or English) #ExploreParis
- For French Theatre with English surtitles: Theatre in Paris
- For French Cinema with English surtitles: Lost in Frenchlation