After 15 months of the Covid pandemic halting most events and international travel, Paris is finally reopening on June 9th (and the curfew and other restrictions expire June 30th). And while we still need to wear masks and limit the number of people in public spaces, the city is virtually exploding with events to celebrate!
- Le Chat Déambule (The Cat Strolls) in the Jardin des Champs- Élysées (8th) through June 4th: it’s hard to miss the 20 giant verdigris bronze statues of the cartoon cat made famous by the Belgian artist Philippe Geluck, each one measuring almost 2 meters tall and weighing in at almost a metric ton! The signs are translated into English, too. See the video below:
- The Art of Science (in the Jardin des Plantes, 5th) through June 14th : At the border between science, art and craftsmanship, the photographs illustrate the great diversity of the trades carried out and cover all the activities and sites of the Natural History Museum.
- The Unknown Garden of the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale (Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale René-Dumont, 12th) through June 30th: In the Bois de Vincennes, remains of the pavilions dedicated to the French colonies built for the 1907 colonial exhibition are hidden within the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale. Photographer Nathalie Tirot superimposes her photographs of these historical vestiges with postcards of the time.
- Genocides of the 20th Century (at the Shoah Memorial, 4th), through August 28th: A remarkable if disturbing exhibition documenting genocides of the destruction of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, of the Jews of Europe, and of the Tutsi of Rwanda through a rich selection of photographs, archives and exceptional testimonies.
- Fragiles Colosses (at the Jardin des Plantes, 5th) through August 30th: Five monumental works by animal sculptor Michel Bassompierre, one of the most important artists in the field of animal sculpture today. Look for the bears and gorillas throughout the gardens.
A Selection of Museum Expositions
Through July 4th
David Bowie fans won’t want to miss Bowie Odyssée, a special exhibition of memorabilia (mostly from a superfan collection), presented at the historic Parisian nightclub, Le Palace (8, rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9th). Open daily, from noon-9pm (10am -7pm weekends). Tickets €14, reservations necessary.
Through July 18th
The Palais Galliera “Musée de la Mode” reopens today with an extension of the exposition “Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto” through July 18th. Advance reservations required (ticketing opens May 17th), entrance €14. Closed Mondays.
Through July 18th
The haute joaillerie Maison Chaumet is marking the bicentennial of Napoléon’s death with an exposition of jewelry celebrating the romance between the Emporer and his first wife, Joséphine. “Founded in 1780, the history of Maison Chaumet is closely linked to that of the imperial couple, of which it quickly became the official supplier. Empress Joséphine, who was one of the Maison’s first major clients, continues to inspire Chaumet’s creations today. In the heart of the sumptuous mansion at 12 place Vendôme, recently renovated, the exhibition looks back on the history of the legendary couple through more than 150 pieces of jewelry, paintings and other works of art. Historical pieces from Maison Chaumet will be specially unveiled for the occasion, such as the tiara worn by Joséphine during her first official appearance.” Free entry, but reservations required.
Through July 19th
The Musée de l’Orangerie reopens with the Magritte/Renoir exposition, “Surrealism in Full Sunlight”: “The first exhibition to show a still largely unknown chapter of Magritte’s work in its entirety, it compares Magritte’s works with those of Auguste Renoir, who inspired him.” Advance ticket purchase is required to visit the museum and the exposition.
Through July 18th
There’s a very naughty exhibition commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of the 18th-century artist, François Boucher, at the Musée Cognac-Jay (in the Marais, 8 rue Elzevir, 3rd), “L’Empire des Sens”: “The XVIIIth century marks the advent of the pleasure of the senses. More than at any other time, Love occupies a dominant place in the arts. Philosophers, men of the theater, novelists and artists, all invest in the theme of amorous passions and carnal desires. “Painter of the Graces”, François Boucher is also the author of secret compositions, with a striking erotic charge. His works celebrate the naked body of the woman who abandons herself, hypnotizes the eyes and awakens the senses.” Entry €8, reservations required. Closed Mondays.
The annual Rendez-Vous au Jardins is a nationwide garden festival with special events held in gardens and green spaces all over Paris and Ile de France for free. This year’s theme is “La Transmission des Savoirs (The Transmission of Knowledge)”. Check out the website for the official program of events.
Visit the 37 artist ateliers of the Père Lachaise district for a three-day open house this weekend, organized by the Ateliers du Père-Lachaise Associés. Free entry, open 2-8pm. Pick up the map and see the exhibit “Hommage à la Commune de Paris” (through June 27th) at the main gallery, Atelier du 55 (55 rue Planchat, 20th), open Wed-Sun, 3-7pm.
The famous rose gardens of the Parc de Bagatelle (Bois de Boulogne, 16th) are featured at their finest this weekend for the annual “Weekend de la Rose” (they clearly weren’t feeling inspired to come up with a catchier name). Come see over 10,000 roses including the ones competing for “Best in Show”, gardening workshops and demonstrations, and practical gardening tips, including how to garden without pesticides (the City of Paris no longer uses any pesticides in the Municipal Gardens). There’s also a flower market if you’re in the mood to shop. Open 11am-7pm, entry €2.50.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the artists of the 5th (Mouffetard) and 13th (Butte aux Cailles/Gobelins) districts known as Lézarts du Bièvre open their studios to the public for two days, 2-8pm. Free entry. There are four circuits to follow, and the guest urban artist of honor this year is Parisian cartoonist Thomas Dityvon, alias Mr PEE.
Through June 13th
Tennis fans can catch the French Open at Roland Garros on French Television (channel 4) for the daytime matches, and exclusively on Amazon Prime for the evening matches (this may only be for French residents, though; see your country’s broadcasting partners here). Tickets to attend in person are still available June 7-13th (you’ll need proof of vaccine or negative Covid test), buy online here.
Disneyland Paris reopens! If you’re curious what it’s like to visit Disneyland during Covid, read the Secrets of Paris article from July 2020: Disneyland in the Time of Coronavirus
La Sirène’s 70-person orchestra will be playing at today’s festive Bal Swing et Latino from noon until 1:30pm, free for everyone at the Parc Montsouris (14th) as part of the Aimer l’Eté dans le 14ème summer festival through August.
June 20-July 11
The “Chopin au Jardin” festival features free Chopin concerts at the Kiosque du Parc Montsouris (14th) every sunday from 5-6pm.
It’s back!! Normally the Fête de la Musique is an annual all-night music festival that takes place throughout France, but in Paris the whole city is overtaken: public spaces, bars, cafés, parks, sidewalks and even the streets are closed off for live music of every kind, performed by both famous and amateur musicians, from late afternoon until the early hours. This year only registered events can take place, with all participants wearing masks and seated, in spaces already designated for concerts like concert halls, churches and outdoor spaces like the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, with max 65% of the space occupied, and curfew is 11pm. All concerts are free and open to everyone. It will certainly be a more restrained event than usual to avoid big crowds of people moshing together. You can see some of the program here: https://quefaire.paris.fr/40919/fete-de-la-musique
June 21-August 26
Bercy Village is hosting another season of free, open-air music performances of many different genres in the Cour St-Emilion starting the 21st for Fête de la Musique, then every Thursday from 6pm.
Does vintage clothing by the kilo and affordable houseplants sound like something you’d cross town to discover? Come down to the three day joint sale by Plantes Pour Tous and the German vintage clothing company Vinokilo (clearly that doesn’t imply the same thing in France, lol) and stock up for €50/kilo of clothes and plants of all sizes and shapes starting at €2. At the 1000m² Garage Amelot, Passage Saint-Pierre Amelot, 11th, from 10am-7pm. It’s free, but you have to reserve your time slot in advance here and wear your mask!
June 26-July 7
The 108th (!) edition of the Tour de France kicks off from Brest this month and finishes on the Avenue des Champs Elysées on July 7th. It will be broadcast live on networks around the world (see “Broadcasters” link on the website), but of course if you’re in France it doesn’t cost anything to set up a chair anywhere along the route to watch the cyclists as they pass by (no word yet on whether access to the Champs Elysées will be limited, but it’s usually so crowded you can’t see anything there anyway unless you got a seat in one of the restaurant upper floors overlooking the avenue).
A brocante artistique today with 20 stands selling musical instruments, art books, theatre costumes and props, accessories, electronics and records at the Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs (100 rue Didot, 14th) from 11am-6pm, free entry. DJ music from 4-6pm.
The Pride March is back! This year the Marche des Fiertés LGBT+ takes place without floats or stands at the finish because of the Covid restrictions, but will be more of a march for LGBT+ rights (so, a bit more political than “festive”, very French). Details will be posted on the FB page closer to the date.
June 30 – September 8
The Paris Jazz Festival takes place every weekend at the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes. “The free festival (you only pay entry to the park, €2.50) makes for a brilliant summer outing: everyone brings picnics and enjoys them in the sunshine amid colored flowers, woodlands and lakes, while listening to some virtuoso jazz – it’s also hugely popular, so get here early.” From 3pm until 7pm, no advance ticket purchase necessary. The schedule can be found on the official website.
June 30-July 27
The annual summer sales, les soldes, take place this year for just four weeks (shorter than the usual five to help out shopkeepers after Covid shutdown) throughout France, primarily in clothing stores, but pretty much everything is on sale now. They used to be a really big deal, but now there are online sales and other sales throughout the year, it’s not worth lining up and fighting to get the “best deals”.
Most Tuesdays and Wednesdays
The American Library in Paris is hosting free “Evenings with an Author” every Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7:30pm Paris time (CET). This month’s guests include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen (June 2nd), food writer Alec Lobrano (June 9th), and The Hudson Review editor Paula Deitz (June 22nd). RSVP required (most are free, €10 donation recommended). See the full schedule here.