15 must-see events in Paris to bookmark for your next trip
Ah, Paris! The City of Lights is not just a treasure trove of historic monuments, artistic masterpieces, and culinary delights; it’s also home to an array of events that display its rich cultural tapestry. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a film enthusiast, or a passionate gourmet, Paris offers something for everyone. Here are 15 must-see events to include in your Parisian itinerary:
- Bastille Day (14th July)
Celebrating the French Spirit: Marking the French Revolution’s beginning, Bastille Day is an energetic celebration with parades, fireworks, and parties. The Eiffel Tower fireworks display is especially unforgettable.
- Fête de la Musique (21st June)
A Melodious Affair: Coinciding with the summer solstice, this street music festival turns Paris into a live music venue. Professionals and amateurs alike serenade the public with diverse genres.
- Paris Jazz Festival (Summer)
For Jazz Lovers: Hosted in the Parc Floral, this festival celebrates jazz with free weekend concerts. The picturesque setting and top-notch performances make it a must-visit.
- Nuit Blanche (October)
Art Through the Night: Meaning “White Night”, this annual all-night arts festival transforms Paris with installations, exhibitions, and performances. Streets, museums, and other public spaces become the canvas.
- Salon du Chocolat (October/November)
Chocolate Heaven: This five-day event is a dream for chocolate lovers. With presentations from international chocolatiers, tastings, and a chocolate fashion show, it’s a unique and delicious experience.
- Paris Fashion Week (February/March & September/October)
The Fashion Capital: Experience high fashion in its birthplace. Renowned designers showcase their collections, and the city buzzes with style.
- Versailles Fountain Shows (Summer)
Royal Splendor: The gardens of the Palace of Versailles come alive with music and fountain displays. The Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, an evening show, is particularly enchanting with its lights and fireworks.
- Le Printemps des Rues (May)
Street Theatre Galore: This festival celebrates street performances — mime, circus acts, puppetry, and more. Various neighborhoods come alive with creativity.
- Cinéma en Plein Air (July/August)
Open-Air Movie Nights: Hosted in Parc de la Villette, this event screens classic and contemporary films. Bring a picnic and enjoy cinema under the stars.
- Festival d’Automne (September-December)
Cultural Autumn: This multi-disciplinary event celebrates contemporary arts, including theatre, music, dance, and film. It’s a dive into avant-garde artistry.
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (October)
Horse Racing Elegance: Held at the Longchamp Racecourse, this event is one of Europe’s most prestigious horse races. It’s a blend of sports, fashion, and Parisian flair.
- Fête des Vendanges, Montmartre (October)
Grape Harvest Festival: Montmartre’s vineyards, a hidden gem, celebrate the grape harvest with wine, regional foods, and parades. The Sacré-Cœur offers a panoramic backdrop.
- La Biennale Paris (September)
Antique and Art Extravaganza: A renowned art and antiques fair, it gathers top dealers from around the world, showcasing sculptures, paintings, and jewelry.
- French Open (May/June)
Tennis in the City: Hosted at Stade Roland Garros, this Grand Slam event is a treat for sports enthusiasts. See top tennis players compete on the iconic clay courts.
- Père Lachaise Tours (Year-Round)
Historic Walks: While not an event per se, guided tours of this famous cemetery are events in themselves. Visit the final resting places of icons like Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
Tips for Event-Goers:
Advance Bookings: Popular events like the French Open or Paris Fashion Week require advance ticket bookings.
Dress Accordingly: Some events, especially outdoor ones, may require specific attire. It’s always good to check in advance.
Local Guidance: Parisians are proud of their city’s cultural heritage. Engage with locals for recommendations and hidden gems.
Paris is not just about the Louvre or Notre-Dame. It’s a living, breathing city of art, culture, and festivities. Each event offers a unique lens through which to experience and appreciate the city’s essence. Whether you’re dancing to street music on a summer evening, savoring the finest chocolate creations, or engrossed in an avant-garde theatre performance, Paris promises experiences that linger in memory long after the trip concludes. So, the next time you plan a Parisian escapade, bookmark these events and dive deep into the heart of French culture.