Various Events in Paris ?  There's always something going on in Paris and it's relatively easy to find out when and where (see list of English-language magazines).
 Not to miss...    Monthly highlights (don't miss them if you're around)...
  •  Biking in Paris : with the Velib system, almost free.

  •  New or renovated museums and monuments:

    - The new concert hall Philharmonie (2,400 seats) with modular seating in a spectacular building (to open in January 2015)

    - 33 new spectacular period rooms opened in the Louvre (June 2014). There is not only the Mona Lisa in the Louvre!

    - The Fondation Vuitton, a private collection of modern art, in an extraordinary building by Frank Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne (to be inaugurated in Fall 2014).

    -The Musee Picasso, closed for several years for total refurbishment and extension, wil re-open in Fall 2014 with more than 5,000 works.

    In the past few years :

    • A new wing in the Musée du Louvre : a spectacular collection of Islamic Art (September 2012)
    • Totally refurbished, the "Musée des Arts Décoratifs" is an extraodinary collection of furniture and objects of every day life from Middle-Age to XXth cent.
    • The Museum of the History of Immigration ("Cité de l'Histoire de l'Immigration") opened in 2007 in the beautiful Art Deco building of the former Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie whose collections have been transferred to the new Musée des Arts Premiers (quai Branly). Purpose : to illustrate what the French society owes to the various waves of immigration : Portuguese, Polish, Algerian, Jewish from Eastern Europe, etc...
    • The "Musée du Quai Branly", a museum devoted to art from Africa and Oceania opened Quai Branly in 2006, very close to Tour Eiffel, in a beautiful building by architect Jean Nouvel. It displays a wonderful collection!
    • Not to miss : the "Musée des Monuments Français" is a huge and spectacular museum of architecture with the casts in plaster (real size) of hundreds of the most beautiful gothic statues and bas reliefs of France (left wing of the Trocadero). Breathtaking!
  • Events : Among many events sponsored by the City of Paris all year round : "Paris Plage" in Summer (a sand beach with palm trees and deck chairs along the Seine), "Les Nuits Blanches" (all over the City events with light, illuminations, scultures, etc..., in October), "Fête de la Musique" (anybody can play any instrument anywhere, good concerts, in June), "Journée du Patrimoine" in September (free access to monuments which are not open to the public including the Elysée Palace, some wonderful foreign embassies,...), etc... Keep posted!

  • Harriet Welty organizes "Cheese & Wine Tastings with a talk on intercultural differences" : read more about it!

DID YOU KNOW THAT....? In the Théatre de la Huchette, in the Latin Quarter, the same play has been performed more than 18,000 times, every day, with no interruption since 1957. It is fact two short plays of Eugène Ionesco, "La Cantatrice Chauve" and "La Leçon". (Théâtre de la Huchette, 23 rue de la Huchette 75005 tel. (0)1 43 26 38 99).

USEFUL TIPS..... You want to see the most beautiful examples of medieval art (sculptures, gates, frescoes, chapels, ...) without traveling all over the country. Go to the Cité de l'Architecture and admire the (real size) copies, beautifully presented. The museum has just been renovated and it is a fascinating experience (Palais de Chaillot). A whole floor of models of modern buildings is also very interesting.

 
  • January :
    • "les soldes", Winter sales for good bargain hunting
  • February :
    • "Salon de l'Agriculture", "the largest farm in France", thousands of farm animals, food from all over France : a good opportunity to taste all sorts of delicious food!
    • Chinese New Year parades (se Paris Chinese page)
  • March :
    • "Salon du Livre" is a huge book fair (Porte de Versailles Exhibition Hall) with each year an emphasis on a particular foreign literature
  • April (first week-end) :
    • International Marathon of Paris with more than 35,000 runners
  • May :
    • the French Open (in French "Roland Garros"), great excuse to leave the office (this is where you meet your boss);
    • May 27 : "Immeubles en Fête" (neighbor's day) : you have a drink or organize a dinner party with your neighbors (6 million people do it!)
  • June :
    • June 21rst : "Fête de la Musique", launched by Jack Lang in 1982 and now celebrated all over Europe ; according to my personal statistics, it always rains but it's fun!
    • (odd years) "Paris Air Show" at Le Bourget Airport
    • around June 15 : at the "The White Dinner", you bring your food, your champagne, your table, your chairs, your tablecloth, plates, silverware (everything white), you are completely dressed in white and everything must be elegant (no plastic glasses and pizzas : champagne, foie gras, etc..) You park your car somewhere and a bus takes you to a surprise place, always very fancy (under the Eiffel Tower, in the Louvre Courtyard, etc..). Tourists love it take your picture and you offer them champagne ! In 2013, more than 13,000 participated (you have to be invited).
    • also in June : the "garçons de café" (waiters) race : several kilometers with one bottle and four glasses on a platter : hysterical....
  • July :
    • "les soldes", Summer sales for good bargain hunting
    • July 14 : Bastille Day (in French "Le Quatorze Juillet" : nobody uses the word Bastille Day), get there early (8a.m.) for the big military parade on the Champs Elysées ;
    • one week later (around the 20th), also on the Champs Elysées, the arrival of the Tour de France is a very popular event. Read about July in Paris in Paris Diary
  • August :
    • Paris Plage (beach) along the Seine on several kilometers, with sand and palm trees !
  • September :
    • "Fête du Patrimoine" (around the 20th), you can visit for free historical monuments (such as the Elysée Palace) which are normally closed to the public
    • "FĂȘte de l'HumanitĂ©" (mid. Sept.) : a huge popular fair (hundreds of thousands!) organized by the Communist Party in La Courneuve park (North of Paris) : good music, books and political shows...
    • (even years) Paris Car Show ("Salon de l'Automobile")
  • October :
    • Holloween had become popular... but now it's almost forgotten
    • the FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain) is always interesting
    • the Nuit Blanche is a night of events based on light (and music) all over Paris
  • November :
    • Third Thursday : "Beaujolais Nouveau" Day
  • December :
    • as opposed to the USA, do not expect much from Christmas in Paris : in France, it is a family event and a big meal
USEFUL TIPS.... Beware of pickpockets ! Many pickpockets, generally from Colombia or Rumania, target American tourists and ruin their visit to Paris. DO NOT : leave your bag on the floor under your seat in restaurants or cafes, carry your wallet in the back pocket of your trousers or of your rucksack, carry an open handbag, try to answer long and complicated questions asked by by smiling little kids who are all around you, etc...
 Jazz in Paris    Magazines and other sources...

 Jazz alive and well in Paris !

  • Jazz has always had a large following, with good French groups and many foreign musicians living in France
  • After WW2, many African-American jazzmen settled in Paris : among them Sidney Bechet, Kenny Clarke,... Today, American musicians include Archie Shepp, Steve Potts, Nina Simone (who died recently, ...).
  • The characteristic of French jazz is that it is open to other forms of music (electro, african, oriental) and very creative.
  • A typical form of this creative influence on jazz is "gypsy-jazz" (jazz manouche), illustrated in the 1940s by Django Reinhardt (guitar) and Stéphane Grapelli (violin) with the Hot Club de France : a music that everybody knows in France, with a very specific flavour (listen to an example). You can enjoy it every Sunday in some restaurants in the Flea Market. More about Gypsies in France.
  • Today, famous French jazzmen include Didier Lockwood (violin), Martial Solal (piano), Jean-Luc Ponty (violin), Michel Portal (clarinet), Claude Bolling (piano), Michel Edelin (flute), Dany Doriz (vibs), etc...
  • Best places in Paris : le New Morning 7 rue des Petites Ecuries 75010 Tel (0)1 45 23 51 41, Le Petit Journal 13 rue du Commandant Mouchotte 75015 Tel (0)1 43 21 56 70, Duc des Lombards, 42 rue des Lombards 75001 Tel (0)1 42 33 22 88
  • Two excellent festivals : Paris Jazz Festival, June/July, Parc Floral Vincennes (in the Park, East of Paris) Tel (0)8 20 00 75 75, Festival de la Villette, September, Cité de la Musique, 221 avenue Jean Jaurès 75019, Tel (0)1 44 84 44 84
  • More jazz....

USEFUL TIPS...... Hot spots for jazz in Paris are Rue des Lombards (near Les Halles, with several excellent jazz clubs), Cité de la Musique (La Villette Park, for concerts), the Flea Market (les Puces, Porte de Clignacourt, for Gipsy jazz), and remember that, in Summer, there are many jazz festivals in France : some of them are definitely worth a trip (Jazz in Marciac, in the South-West, friendly and convivial, and Juan-le-Pins, on the Cote d'Azur, top-level)....

 
  • FUSAC : English-speaking resources and contacts ; the most useful for classified ads (housing, jobs, etc...) ; free
  • Free Voice/Paris Voice : THE publication for English speakers in Paris. Free, it can be found everywhere, for instance at W.H. Smith or Brentanos bookstores.
  • The Connexion : an excellent and very informative (British) newspaper on "France in English"
  • The Paris Times : a recent (and good) Free Monthly
  • This City : calling itself "the Magazine for People who Love Paris"
  • Officiel des Spectacles : a French guide to what's going on
  • Time Out, an English language guide to almost everything that's going on in Paris. Also can be found in English-language bookstores such as Smiths and Brentanos.
  • Living In France : a quarterly magazine with a useful yellow page section.
  • French News - For Residents and Lovers of France (large sections on life outside Paris, especially in the South of France)
  • Where Paris : a monthly magazine
  • Pariscope : weekly, available at any newstand. It is the most commonly used source for movies and theaters. Has an English language section, Time Out Paris, Pick of the week"
  • Zurban : a young and hip magazine cataloging everything (music, cinema, theater, etc..)
  • Paris Update : Find out what Parisians are doing this week : a free Web newsletter in English with reviews of Paris restaurants, films, art shows, concerts and more.
  • Interested by Architecture and City Planning ? The Pavillon de l'Arsenal (near Bastille) displays models and pictures of Yesterday's and Tomorrow's Paris, with very interesting exhibitions : Centre d'Information, de Documentation et d'Exposition d'Urbanisme et d'Architecture de la Ville de Paris, 21 bld Morland 75004 Paris.
  • If you want a suggestion for restaurants or places to go, click on Paris for Americans ; for some new and different ideas of what to do when in Paris , click on Unknown Paris, and never forget that there many other places in France.
  • And for the flavor of life in Paris, check out Harriet's monthly column on The Paris Pages. Click here for a sample or read her Paris Diary.
 Miscellaneous information    
  • 14% of Parisians are foreigners. One third of them are citizen of the E.U. and can vote in local elections. To better associate the other foreigners, the city has created in 2002 a "Conseil de la Citoyenneté des Parisiens Non Communautaires" (CCPNC).

  • The Louvre is free the first Sunday of each month as are many other museums : be sure to check.

  • What to do ? Where to shop ? Click for practical tips on life in Paris and visit the Paris Diary page.

  • Riding a bike in Paris with VELIB ! It's easy and if you don't have your own,you can rent one of the more than 20,000 Velib' bikes (the pass costs 1 Euro for one day, 5 for a week, 29 Euros for a year, the first half-hour is free, the next one is 1 Euro, etc...). There are more than 1,500 stations in Paris : your pick your bike at one of them and turn it back at any other one. Read about vandalism.

  • Playing golf ?
  • More to come

USEFUL TIPS ..... In Paris, don't run, walk! Check Pariscope's Time Out section for weekly updates for such groups as the Paris Walking Tours. Another useful book is the Eyewitness Paris Travel Guide which you can find at any Paris bookstore (W.H. Smith's, Brentano's). It gives a list of five guided walks (a 90-minute walk around Parc Monceau, a 90-minute walk around the Canal St-Martin, a 90-minute walk around the Ile St-Louis, a 90-minute walk in Auteuil, and a 90-minute walk in Montmartre) with tips on how to get there and stopping-off points on the way.

 

 USEFUL TIP.....If you go to Versailles, DON'T RUSH like most tourists who spend an average of two hours in the enormous castle and neglect the city around. Especially when you think that the castle and the city were decided by the King to show his power, to subdue the arrogant nobility who was forced to behave like muppets in his hands and to concentrate the power in a new town, far from the potentially rebel Paris. At the same time, the city is a perfect example of classical beauty and grandeur : walk in its streets, admire the buildings, the classy Carré Saint Louis, the market, etc.... The King's vegetable garden is also very interesting. You will understand the French better after one afternoon of shopping in Versailles. Some French movies give a good idea, historically accurate, of life at the court and life the before the Revolution : do not miss them if you have the opportunity.

DID YOU KNOW THAT. ? For the French, the year does not begin January 1rst ! It begins (psychologically) in September and the beginning of the year is so unpleasant that it ruins the Summer vacations (no wonder the French need so much vacation during the rest of the year). It is called " la rentrée ", like in schools. Just imagine : in September, you receive the tax bill, kids start school ("rentree scolaire") and it is the period of the year where, traditionally, many strikes ("rentree sociale") take place, particularly transport strikes (train, metro, etc), politicians have new messages to send ("rentree politique") etc.... In spite of the enjoyment of the "Rentrée Littéraire", it takes a few months to recover, then Christmas comes (nothing spectacular) then the " soldes " (sales, more interesting), then February vacation (very appreciated), then Easter vacation and the wonderful month of May, with its " bridges ". Then it is time to plan Summer vacation, etc.

To related pages : Paris historical landmarks, unknown Paris, links to services in Paris, etc...

To table of contents

To top of the page

Back to home page

Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

Enjoy a wine & cheese tasting in a Paris garden apartment followed by a walk in the Pere Lachaise cenetery!

Click here to know more

To email me

 If you like this site, please bookmark it or create a link!