Seasonal Introduction

By Catherine Le Nevez, Lonely Planet Local

The sun's still setting early and you'll need to rug up against the cold but the City of Light isn't hibernating: brightly lit streets are thronging with shoppers and chestnuts are roasting over smoky fires on street corners.

Pungent truffles and freshly shucked oysters are among the seasonal treats at the local street markets, whose canopied stalls are lit by glowing lamps, and on the menus of cosy bistros, grand brasseries and renowned gastronomic restaurants. For a moveable feast, cruise Paris' streets in comfort while dining on gourmet French cuisine on the glass-roofed Bustronome bus.

Queues are shorter at iconic sights – the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Sacré-Cœur and Notre Dame included – along with scores of less well-known but absorbing small museums. Paris' beautiful 19th-century passages couverts (covered arcades), such as the capital's oldest, the Passage des Panoramas, with four interconnecting passages (Feydeau, Montmartre, St-Marc and Variétés) shelter enticing eateries and intriguing shops.

And the cultural season is in full swing, with ballet and opera productions, and a host of exhibitions, festivals and events taking place city-wide.

Upcoming Events

What's On

Lonely Planet Local Top Pick: L'archéologie en bulles (to 1 Jul 2019)

Drawing on the Louvre's extraordinary collection of archaeological treasures from antiquity onwards, the Archaeology Goes Graphic exhibition at the Petite Galerie (Little Gallery) in the Richelieu wing of the Musée du Louvre looks at archaeology depicted in comic-strip art (known as the neuvième art, meaning 'ninth art') in France. Exhibits examine the documentation processes, search and discovery, classification and interpretation by both archaeologists and graphic artists.

Lonely Planet Local Catherine Le Nevez says: Once a year the Louvre's innovative cultural education space, the Petite Galerie, mounts a major exhibition with interactive displays plus related Louvre-wide tours, alongside storytelling, readings, films and other events for all ages (keep an eye on the website for details).

Van Gogh, La nuit étoilée (22 Feb–31 Dec) Intense, vibrant works by tortured Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh are projected on the former iron foundry walls, ceiling and floor of Paris' digital museum L'Atelier des Lumières.

Banlieues Bleues (22 Mar–19 Apr 2019; www.banlieuesbleues.org) Oumou Sangaré and Salif Keïta are among the artists performing at venues in Paris' northern suburbs during this year's 'Suburban Blues' jazz, blues and R&B festival.

Cinéma du Réel (15–24 Mar 2019; www.cinemadureel.org) Dozens of documentary films screen both in and out of competition at this international festival, whose venues include the Centre Pompidou.

Doisneau et la musique (to 28 Apr 2019) Robert Doisneau's black-and-white photographs of musicians and dancers at this Philharmonie de Paris exhibition include many displayed to the public for the first time.

Foire de Chatou (15–24 Mar 2019; www.foiredechatou.com) Some 500 antique and secondhand dealers, jewellers and art galleries set up at this fair held on the île des Impressionnistes, a 10-minute journey by RER A to Rueil-Malmaison with a free shuttle from the station.

Livre Paris (15–18 Mar 2019; www.livreparis.com) France’s largest international book fair takes place at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel (13 Mar 2019; www.verticaletoureiffel.fr) Elite athletes and amateur runners drawn from a lottery scale the stairs of the Eiffel Tower during this vertical race.

Rétromobile (6–10 Feb 2019; www.retromobile.com) Some 600 vintage cars are displayed at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e, during this motor enthusiasts' showcase.

Salon International de l’Agriculture (23 Feb–3 Mar 2019; www.salon-agriculture.com) Produce and animals from all over France are turned into delectable fare at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e.

Soldes d'hiver (winter sales; to 12 Feb 2019) Bargains at Paris' twice-yearly sales can yield discounts of up to 70% at shops throughout the city.

Génération en Révolution - Dessins français du musée Fabre, 1770-1815 (16 Mar–14 Jul 2019) The Musée Cognacq-Jay displays 80 works by the generation of artists who worked around the time of the French Revolution, including Girodet, Prud'hon, Gérard and Fabre.

Coming Up

Marathon International de Paris (14 Apr 2019; www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com) The Paris International Marathon starts on av des Champs-Élysées, 8e, and finishes on av Foch, 16e, attracting some 55,000 runners from around 145 countries.

La Nuit Européenne des Musées (18 May 2019; www.nuitdesmusees.culturecommunication.gouv.fr) Key museums across Paris stay open late and provide free entry during the European Museums Night.

Préhistoire (8 May–16 Sep 2019) At the Centre Pompidou, this intriguing exhibition looks at how prehistory functioned as a 'time machine' for artists such as Picasso, Miró and Giacometti, and still inspires creators today.

Future Events

2023 Rugby World Cup (Sep–Oct 2023) France will host the 10th Rugby World Cup, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the creation of the sport. Centrepiece venues will include the Stade de France.

2024 Summer Olympics (2–18 Aug 2024; www.paris2024.org) A flurry of activity is underway before Paris hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics, with events taking place during the run-up.

2024 Summer Paralympics (4–15 Sep 2024; www.paris2024.org) Paris will stage its inaugural Summer Paralympics in the month following the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Degas à l'Opéra (24 Sep 2019–19 Jan 2020) Paris' glorious Musée d'Orsay presents a portrait of the Paris Opera in the 19th century as captured by the precise, intimate artworks of Degas.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (9 Oct 2019–27 Jan 2020) The art nouveau Grand Palais is a fitting backdrop for works by post-impressionist painter and illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.