Fêtes & Festivals

Posted in culture & art

paris festivals

February

Chinese New Year
Normally held toward the end of January or in early February, when you’ll see a big festive parade (pictured above) beginning at city hall (Hôtel de Ville). Afterward, do your best to grab some great Chinese food in either of Paris’s two Chinese neighborhoods—one in the 20th and the big one in the 13th. See Ethnic Food.

March–April

Fashion Week
March and July

Blues Festival
March through early April

International Women’s Film Festival
April
In French.

May–June

Le Printemps des Rues
May
Street art festival.

The French Open
Mid-May through early June
One of the majors and an opportunity for a Gael Monfils bicep sighting.

Festival de St.-Denis
June
Classical music festival including dance and theatre.

Fête de la Musique
June 21
A nationwide celebration of music. Read about the 2010 festival.

June–July

Paris Jazz Festival
June and July
In the Parc Floral.

Fashion Week
March and July

Tour de France
July
The finish line runs down the Champs-Élysées.

Bastille Day
July 14
Fireworks celebrating France’s independence. They can be seen from under the Eiffel Tower—plus, there is a morning parade and often music. Consult Paris.fr for details.

July–August

Paris Quartier d’Été
Mid-July through early August
A summer dance, music and art festival held in the different arrondissements.

Festival de Cinéma en Plein Air
Mid-July through mid-August
Free outdoor cinema and picnicking in the Parc de la Villette.

Paris Plages
Mid-July through mid-August
On the banks of the Seine you’ll find sand, games and cafés that will make you feel as if you are lounging seaside.

Rock en Seine
End of August
Music festival.

September

Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days)
Opens up the Élysée Palace, the Senate and other sites that are normally closed to the public.

Fête de l’Humanité
This side of Korea, only in Paris can you find a communist festival sponsored by Orangina and others—with amazing musical acts.

October

Nuit Blanche
An all-night art/music/performance affair all over the city. Read Cynthia Rose’s guide to the nuit and Doni Belau’s account of 2010’s event.

Fêtes des Vendanges
This festival of the only remaining grapevines in Montmartre takes place during the harvest.

December

Christmas Markets
You’ll find them all over Paris. Read Sylvia Sabes’s primer on the markets to hit and the ones to miss.