Paris Activities in January
Grande Parade de Paris
Marching bands, dancers, parade floats, and clowns ring in the new year along the Champs-Elysees: from Place de la Concorde to L’Arc de Triomphe and back again. Beginning at 2 pm, New Years Day.
Festival du Merveilleux (The Festival of Marvels)
For a short time at the end of each year, the private Museum of Fairground Arts (Musée des Arts Forains) opens its doors to the public, offering a rare hands-on experience of its spectacular collection of antique carousels and amusement park rides. Held in late December through early January at the Musée des Arts Forains in Bercy, 12th Arrondissement. Reservations required.
Rinks at the Trocadero and Champs-Elysees close during the first week of January, but you can skate at the Eiffel Tower through mid-February and at the Hotel de Ville until March 1.
Les Soldes (Winter Sales)
Bargains (and crowds) abound during this semi-annual retail sales extravaganza. At shops across Paris from early January through mid-February.
Paris Activities in February
Carnaval de Paris
Parisians dance away the winter in this colorful parade that winds through the city from Place Gambetta to the Hotel de Ville on the first Sunday in February.
Chinese New Year
A vibrant celebration of Paris’ French-Chinese community, with concerts, cultural events, and multiple parades across the city. (The most notable are in the Marais District, Belleville, and the 13th Arrondissement.) Dates change yearly according to the lunar calendar.
Paris Activities in March
Paris Fashion Week
The fashion industry caps off its global tour at the Carrousel du Louvre, where the best designers in the world show off their fall collections in a week of invitation-only exhibitions and parties. Early March.
Carnaval des Femmes
Expect elaborate costumes, dancing, and great people-watching at this annual parade-style celebration of women started centuries ago by the laundresses along the Seine. Takes place mid-Lent, with the parade route beginning at Place du Chalet.
The Foire de Chatou Antiques Fair
Semiannual flea-market festival in nearby Chatou, France. 35,000 visitors eat, drink, and haggle with more than 700 antiques and collectibles dealers from across France. Takes place over 12 days in mid-March.
Cinéma du Réel
Documentary film festival showcasing over 200 films by experienced directors and first-timers alike. Takes place over 10 days at the Pompidou Centre and various participating theaters across Paris in mid to late March.
Orchestres en Fête
A 10-day national festival of classical music, with renowned orchestras performing at Théâtre du Châtelet, Cité del la Musique, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and other venues across France. Late March.
Printemps du Cinéma – Nationwide 3 day budget film festival. Over 5,000 movie theaters across France drop admission prices to €3.50 per ticket. Late March.
Art Paris Art Fair – The Grand Palais plays host to over 140 international galleries in this celebration of contemporary European visual art. End of March.
Banlieues Bleues Festival – A springtime jazz festival featuring live acts from across the globe at venues across Seine-Saint-Denis, just northeast of Paris. March and April.
Paris Activities in April
37,000 runners from across the globe make their way past some of Paris’ most beautiful landmarks, looping through the heart of the city from the Champs-Elysées back to the Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday in April.
The races at Longchamps are especially family-friendly on April Sundays when visitors will find a carousel, treasure hunt, and pony races for kids, plus free admission for the 18-and-under.
Foire du Trone (Fun Fair)
The oldest fair in Paris. Eight weeks of rides, games, food, and family-friendly entertainment at the Bois de Vincennes in April and May. General admission is free and you pay for each attraction.
Paris Activities in May
Le Printemps des Rues (Street Art Festival)
A weekend-long celebration of street performance, with dozens of singers, dancers, clowns, magicians, and puppeteers entertaining crowds along with the Canal Saint-Martin the 10th Arrondissement.
Great Paris Steeplechase
Widely considered the premier equestrian event in France, this steeplechase-style horserace is kicked off by the popular Defile des Drags, a parade of glorious horse-drawn carriages from the Arc de Triomphe down Avenue Foch. Held in mid-May at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil in the 16th Arrondissement.
European Museum Night
Dozens of the best museums in Paris stay open until midnight and offer special events, concerts, and children’s activities – most free of charge. Takes place on the Saturday closest to May 18th.
We Love Green Festival
An eco-friendly celebration of rock, pop, and electronic music, along with organic food, local produce, and sustainable partying. Takes place on the last weekend of May in Paris’ beautiful Parc de Bagatelle.
Open-Air Theater at Jardin de Shakespeare
From May through September, this romantic garden in the Bois de Boulogne plays host to a series of outdoor theatrical performances, most of them Shakespeare, many in English.
French Open (Roland Garros)
Internationally renowned grand slam tennis tournament held on the clay courts of the Stade Roland Garros. Late May /Early June.
Paris Activities in June
An annual four-week series of classical music concerts held at the gothic Saint-Denis Basilica and the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in the nearby town of Saint-Denis, just north of Paris.
A parade of dancing, calypso, and colorful costumes, from the Place de la Nation through the streets of the 11th arrondissement and back. Exact dates change by year.
A festive parade from the 15th Arrondissement to the Place de la Bastille culminates in a giant street party during this colorful celebration of LGBT folks and their allies. Mid-June.
Champs-Elysées Film Festival
Annual juried film festival focusing on American independent and documentary film, as well as French and American film premieres. Takes place at theaters on the Champs-Elysées in mid-June.
World Music Day (Fête de la Musique)
On the longest day of the year, the French celebrate music (and the making of it) with live bands and free concerts across the streets of Paris and beyond. Held on 21 June, participation encouraged.
The Orangerie at la Parc de la Bagatelle provides a lush backdrop for this series of outdoor classical concerts, performing and honoring the work of the famous Polish composer. June/July.
Paris Jazz Festival
Enjoy a picnic in the park while listening to world-class jazz music at this week-long festival at the Parc Floral de Vincennes. Concerts are free with park admission but get there early, as these shows are extremely popular. Saturdays and Sundays, Mid-June through July.
Les Soldes (Summer Sales)
Bargains (and crowds) abound during this semi-annual retail sales extravaganza. At shops throughout Paris from mid-June through July.
Paris Activities in July
Bastille Day (la Fête Nationale)
Paris kicks off the French national holiday early, with music, food, drinks, and dancing at the popular Fireman’s balls, held at fire stations across the city on the night of 13 July, from 9 pm-4 am. Celebrations on the 14th include a morning military parade down the Champs-Elysées, a free concert on the Champs-de-Mars, and fireworks off the Eiffel Tower at 11 pm.
Every summer, the seaside comes to Paris when the right banks of the Seine are transformed into a series of sandy beaches. Complete with deckchairs and umbrellas, the plages offer sunbathing, boules and sandcastle competitions, and family-friendly beach activities from mid-July through mid-August. Who needs the coast? Open daily from 9 is through midnight, free.
Tour de France
Spectators cheer as participants in the world’s most prestigious bicycle race pedal their way through the streets of Paris to the finish line on the Champs-Elysées in late July. If you want a view of the riders without the huge crowds park yourself near the Musée d’Orsay on the Left Bank.
Cinéma en Plein Air à La Villette
Pack a picnic: it’s a month of free outdoor classic and contemporary films in the Parc de la Villette in northeast Paris, with all films shown in their original language and subtitled in French. Movies begin nightly at sundown, weather permitting. Mid-July through mid-August.
Quartier d’Eté Festival
A month-long series of dance, music, and theatrical performances were held at various indoor and outdoor venues across Paris, many of them free. Mid-July through Mid-August.
Cinema au Clair de Lune – Free outdoor film festival held at various iconic parks and gardens across Paris. Late July through mid-August.
Paris Activities in August
Feast of the Assumption
Religious Parisians and pilgrims from across the globe celebrate this Catholic holy day with an evening river procession on the Seine on 14 August, followed on the morning of the 15th by a special mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and a grand procession through the Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis.
Rock en Seine
Dozens of world-renowned acts perform across 5 stages within a historic park setting during this 3-day rock music festival at the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud, just West of Paris. Late August.
Paris Activities in September
Jazz à la Villette
A popular ten-day celebration of jazz and fusion music, with concerts by celebrated and up-and-coming musicians, as well as film screenings, exhibitions, master classes, and kids’ events. Held in early September in the Parc de la Villette, northeast Paris.
Festival d’Ile de France
Throughout September, historic locations across the Ile de France play host to about 30 classical, contemporary, and world music concerts, which are supplemented by guided tours, workshops, and masterclasses.
Le Grand Feu de Saint-Cloud
90 minutes, 23,000 spectators, Europe’s largest and most spectacular fireworks show. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and consistently sell out. Held in mid-September at the Parc de Saint-Cloud, on the western outskirts of Paris.
The Paris Autumn Festival (Festival d’Automne à Paris)
Multidisciplinary arts festival showcasing the latest in global theatre, music, dance, visual arts, and film. Held from mid-September through December at various venues across the city.
The streets of Paris become a giant dance club during this celebration of electronic music, with floats carrying dancers and DJs, techno music echoing off city buildings, and 350,000 revelers dancing in the streets. Held in mid-September, the parade travels north through the city from the Place de la Nation to the Place de la Bastille.
European Heritage Days (Journees du Patrimoine)
Historic buildings, monuments, and sites that are usually not accessible to the public open their doors once a year for touring. Most sites are free, though many require advance reservations. Held on the third weekend in September at various sites across the city.
Paris Garden Festival (Fete de Jardins a Paris)
A two-day celebration of Parisian horticulture, with guided tours, show gardens, special events and workshops, and over 150 parks and gardens open for touring – including many which are generally closed to the public. Held in late September across Paris.
Paris Fashion Week
The fashion industry caps off its global tour at the Carrousel du Louvre, where the best designers in the world show off their spring and summer collections in a week of invitation-only exhibitions and parties. Late September/Early October.
The Foire de Chatou Antiques Fair – Semiannual flea-market festival in nearby Chatou, France. 35,000 visitors eat, drink, and haggle with more than 700 antiques and collectibles dealers from across France. Late September/Early October.
Paris Activities in October
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Europe’s most prestigious horse race is held on the first Sunday in October at Longchamp racecourse in the Bois de Boulogne.
Nuit Blanche (White Night)
Museums and galleries across Paris extend their hours. Concerts, installations, and special events take place into the wee hours during this all-night-long celebration of art and culture. Held in early October across Paris.
Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival
A popular weekend-long celebration of wine in the 18th Arrondissement, with a street parade, fireworks, concerts, dances, and guided tours of the Montmartre vineyards. Early October.
La Semaine Du Gout (Tasting Week)
Many of Paris’ best restaurants offer specially priced menus or two-for-one offers during this nationwide culinary celebration. Mid-October.
International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC)
Thousands of artists from around the world display their work within the stunning backdrops of the Grand Palais and Cité de la Mode et du Design. Late October.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Three days of international indie music shows at the Grande Halle de la Villette in northeast Paris. Late October.
Paris Activities in November
ATP World Master’s Tour 1000
The tennis world converges on Paris for the final event of the international men’s tennis season. Held at the Palais Omnisports in Bercy in early November.
On this anniversary of the end of the First World War, France’s fallen and wounded soldiers are honored in a sober ceremony and vigil on the Champs-Elysées. 11 November, 9 am.
International art fair, showcasing 19th century and contemporary photographic works from more than 100 exhibitors at the Grand Palais. Mid-November.
Africolor Music Festival
A music festival showcasing the work of African and Caribbean artists through a series of concerts, workshops, and masterclasses. Held in mid-November through late December in various venues across Paris.
Ice Skating at the Champs-Elysées
A sure sign that winter is approaching, this iconic rink next to Place de la Concorde on the Champs-Elysées opens in mid-November.
Seasonal Decorations and Displays
Paris’ Christmas lights and department store window displays begin to make an appearance around mid-November and are generally kept up through early January.
Paris Activities in December
The rink at the Champs-Elysées is open throughout December. The elevated rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower generally opens in early December, and those at the Hotel de Ville and Trocadero pop up around mid-Month.
Seasonal Decorations and Displays
Christmas lights and spectacular department store window displays create a festive seasonal atmosphere across all of Paris’ 18 Arrondissements. Must-see displays include the lights along the Champs-Elysées and Avenue Montaigne, the windows at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and the traditional village charm of Montmartre.
c (Christmas Markets)
You’ll find gift items galore, as well as snacks, hot cocoa, and mulled wine, at Paris’ seasonal markets, generally going up during the first weekend of December. Notable markets include those at the Champs-Elysées, Trocadero, Notre Dame Cathedral, Montparnasse Tower, and Montmartre.
Paris Courts Devant
The annual festival of the short film, showcasing works from internationally renowned and up-and-coming directors. Held in mid-December at venues across the Montmartre District.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Fireworks displays at the Eiffel Tower are only held on certain years, but you can always join the reveling hordes at the Champs-Elysées, as they ring in the New Year by watching the show over the Arc de Triomphe.