Top Events

Paris Plages, July

Bastille Day, July

Paris Cocktail Week, January

French Open, May

Nuit Blanche, October

January

The frosty first month of the year isn’t the most festive in Paris, but cocktails – as well as the winter soldes (sales) – brighten the mood.

Epiphany

On this Christian feast day (aka Three Kings' Day), patisseries bake frangipane-filled puff-pastry galettes des rois (kings' cakes), which conceal a fève (small trinket). Whoever finds the fève is crowned 'king' for the day and wears the cardboard crown that comes with the cake.

Louis XVI Commemorative Mass

On the Sunday closest to 21 January, royalists and right-wingers attend a mass at the Chapelle Expiatoire (www.monuments-nationaux.fr) marking the execution by guillotine of King Louis XVI in 1793.

Paris Cocktail Week

Each of the 75-plus cocktail bars all over the city that take part in late January's Paris Cocktail Week (https://pariscocktailweek.fr) creates two signature cocktails for the event. There are also workshops, guest bartenders, masterclasses and food pairings. Sign up for a free pass for cut-price cocktails.

Chinese New Year

Paris’ largest lantern-lit festivities and dragon parades take place in the city’s main Chinatown in the 13e in late January or early February. Parades are also held in Belleville and Le Marais.

February

Festivities still aren't in full swing in February, but couples descend on France's romantic capital for Valentine's Day, when virtually all restaurants offer special menus.

Rétromobile

Some 600 vintage cars are displayed over five days in early February at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e, during this motor enthusiasts' showcase (www.retromobile.com).

Salon International de l’Agriculture

At this appetising nine-day international agricultural fair (www.salon-agriculture.com) from late February to early March, produce and animals from all over France are turned into delectable fare at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e.

March

Blooms appear in Paris’ parks and gardens, leaves start greening the city’s avenues and festivities begin to flourish. And days get longer – the last Sunday morning of the month ushers in daylight-saving time.

Livre Paris

France’s largest international book fair (www.livreparis.com) takes place over four days in mid-March at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e.

Banlieues Bleues

Big-name acts perform during the Suburban Blues (www.banlieuesbleues.org) jazz, blues and R&B festival from mid-March to mid-April at venues in Paris’ northern suburbs.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel

Elite athletes and amateur runners drawn from a lottery scale the stairs of the Eiffel Tower during this vertical race (www.verticaletoureiffel.fr) in mid-March.

Foire de Chatou

Some 500 antique and secondhand dealers, jewellers and art galleries set up at this 10-day fair (www.foiredechatou.com) held in mid-March on the île des Impressionnistes, a 10-minute journey by RER A to Rueil-Malmaison with a free shuttle from the station.

Cinéma du Réel

Dozens of French and international documentary films screen both in and out of competition at this prestigious 10-day festival (www.cinemadureel.org), which takes place at venues including the Centre Pompidou from late March to early April.

April

Sinatra sang about April in Paris, and the month sees the city’s ‘charm of spring’ in full swing, with chestnuts blossoming and cafe terraces coming into their own.

Salon du Running

In the run-up to the Marathon International de Paris, early April's three-day Salon du Running (www.salondurunning.fr) draws over 80,000 visitors (including competitors picking up their bibs) and 200-plus professional exhibitors at the Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles, 15e.

Foire du Trône

Dating back over a millennium, from 957 AD, this huge funfair is held on the Pelouse de Reuilly of the Bois de Vincennes from around Easter to early June.

Marathon International de Paris

On your marks…the Paris International Marathon (www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com), usually held on the second Sunday of April, starts on av des Champs-Élysées, 8e, and finishes on av Foch, 16e, attracting 57,000 runners from 144 countries at last count.

Foire de Paris

Gadgets, widgets, food and wine feature at this huge contemporary-living fair (www.foiredeparis.fr), held from late April to early May at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, 15e.

May

The temperate month of May has more public holidays than any other in France. Watch out for widespread closures, particularly on May Day (1 May).

La Nuit Européenne des Musées

Key museums across Paris stay open late for the European Museums Night (http://nuitdesmusees.culturecommunication.gouv.fr), on one Saturday in mid-May. Most offer free entry.

Taste Paris

A highlight on foodies' calendars, mid-May's four-day gourmet festival Taste Paris (https://paris.tastefestivals.com) incorporates tastings, cooking classes and demonstrations by some of Paris' most acclaimed chefs.

Art St-Germain des Prés

Dozens of galleries in St-Germain des Prés come together over two weeks from late May to early June to showcase their top artists (www.artsaintgermaindespres.com).

Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville

More than 200 painters, sculptors and other artists at over 120 Belleville studios open their doors to visitors over four days (Friday to Monday) in late May (http://ateliers-artistes-belleville.fr).

French Open

The glitzy Internationaux de France de Tennis Grand Slam (www.rolandgarros.com) hits up from late May to early June at Stade Roland Garros at the Bois de Boulogne.

June

Paris is positively jumping in June, thanks to warm temperatures, a host of outdoor events and long daylight hours, with twilight lingering until nearly 11pm.

Paris Beer Week

Craft beer's popularity in Paris peaks during Paris Beer Week (www.laparisbeerweek.com), held, despite the name, over 10 days in early June, when events take place across the city's bars, pubs, breweries, specialist beer shops and other venues.

Festival de St-Denis

Book ahead for this prestigious cycle of classical-music concerts (http://festival-saint-denis.com) at the Basilique de St-Denis and nearby venues held throughout the month.

Fête de la Musique

This national music festival (http://fetedelamusique.culturecommunication.gouv.fr) welcomes in summer on the solstice (21 June) with fabulous staged and impromptu live performances of jazz, reggae, classical and more all over the city.

Marche des Fiertés (Pride)

Late June’s colourful Saturday-afternoon Marche des Fiertés (www.gaypride.fr) celebrates Gay Pride with a march that incorporates over-the-top floats and outrageous costumes, and crosses Paris via Le Marais.

Paris Jazz Festival

Jazz concerts swing every Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the second half of June and throughout July in the Parc Floral de Paris during the Paris Jazz Festival (www.parisjazzfestival.fr).

La Goutte d’Or en Fête

Raï, reggae and rap feature at this three-day world-music festival (https://gouttedorenfete.wordpress.com) on square Léon in the 18e's Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in late June/early July.

July

During the Parisian summer, ‘beaches’ – complete with sunbeds, umbrellas, atomisers, lounge chairs and palm trees – line the banks of the Seine, while shoppers hit the summer soldes (sales).

La Fête du Cinéma

Selected cinemas across Paris offer filmgoers a unique entry fee of €4 per session over three days sometime around the middle of March (www.printempsducinema.com).

Bals des Pompiers

Bookending the city's Bastille Day celebrations, traditional Bals des Pompiers (Firemen’s Balls) see dancing at many Parisian fire stations from 9pm to 4am on 13 and 14 July.

Bastille Day

The capital celebrates France’s national day on 14 July with a morning military parade along av des Champs-Élysées and fly-past of fighter aircraft and helicopters. Feux d’artifice (fireworks) light up the sky above the Champ de Mars by night.

Paris Plages

From at least mid-July to mid-August, ‘Paris Beaches’ set up along Paris' riverbanks in two main zones, the Parc Rives de Seine, and the Bassin de la Villette (with swimming pools in the canal).

Tour de France

The last of the 21 stages of this legendary, 3500km-long cycling event (www.letour.com) finishes with a dash up av des Champs-Élysées on the third or fourth Sunday of July.

Cinéma En Plein Air de la Villette

Film screenings take place under the stars around town in late July/early August during Paris’ free ‘moonlight cinema’, organised by the Forum des Images (www.forumdesimages.fr).

August

Parisians desert the city in droves during the summer swelter when, despite an influx of tourists, many restaurants and shops shut. It’s a prime time to cycle, with far less traffic on the roads.

Classique au Vert

In the Bois de Vincennes, the Parc Floral de Paris hosts classical-music concerts amid the greenery on weekends during August and the first half of September.

Rock en Seine

Headlining acts rock the Domaine National de St-Cloud, on the city’s southwestern edge, at this popular three-day, late-August music festival (www.rockenseine.com).

Silhouette

Out-of-the-box short films by independent film-makers screen in competition alongside open-air concerts and workshops during this nine-day film festival (www.association-silhouette.com).

September

Tourists leave and Parisians come home: la rentrée marks residents’ return to work and study after the summer break. Cultural life shifts into top gear and the weather is often at its blue-skied best.

Jazz à la Villette

This two-week jazz festival (www.jazzalavillette.com) in the first half of September has sessions in Parc de la Villette, at the Cité de la Musique and at surrounding venues.

Festival d’Automne

The long-running Autumn Festival of arts (www.festival-automne.com), from mid-September to early January, incorporates painting, music, dance and theatre at venues throughout the city.

Techno Parade

On one Saturday in mid-September, floats carrying musicians and DJs pump up the volume as they travel through the city's streets during the Techno Parade (www.technoparade.fr).

Journées Européennes du Patrimoine

The third weekend in September sees Paris open the doors of otherwise off-limits buildings – embassies, government ministries and so forth – during European Heritage Days (https://journeesdupatrimoine.culturecommunication.gouv.fr).

Journée Sans Voiture

Pedestrians and cyclists reclaim Paris' streets from mid-morning to early evening on the first Sunday of October on this annual car-free day.

Goût de France

Food markets, cookery workshops and demonstrations, and tasting sessions as well as events from aperitifs to dinners make up late September's three-day gastronomic festival (www.economie.gouv.fr/fete-gastronomie), held at venues Paris-wide.

October

October heralds an autumnal kaleidoscope in the city’s parks and gardens, along with bright, crisp days, cool, clear nights and excellent cultural offerings. Daylight saving ends on the last Sunday morning of the month.

Nuit Blanche

From sundown until sunrise on the first Saturday and Sunday of October, museums stay open, along with bars and clubs, for one ‘White Night’ (ie ‘All-Nighter’).

Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre

This five-day festival (www.fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com), held over the second weekend in October celebrates Montmartre’s grape harvest with costumes, concerts, food events and a parade.

Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain

Scores of galleries are represented at this contemporary-art fair (www.fiac.com), held over four days in mid-October.

Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

The Grande Halle de la Villette at the Parc de la Villette is the venue for this three-day fest (https://pitchforkmusicfestival.fr) of pop, rock, indie and electro music in late October.

Salon du Chocolat

Chocaholics won't want to miss this five-day chocolate festival's tastings, workshops, demonstrations and more at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 15e (www.salonduchocolat.fr), held from late October to early November. There are special activities for kids.

November

Dark, chilly days and long, cold nights see Parisians take refuge indoors: the opera and ballet seasons are going strong and there are plenty of cosy bistros and bars.

Africolor

From mid-November to late December, this six-week-long African-music festival (www.africolor.com) is primarily held in outer suburbs, such as St-Denis, St-Ouen and Montreuil.

Illuminations de Noël

From mid-November to early January, festive lights sparkle along the av des Champs-Élysées, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and av Montaigne, all in the 8e, and others, while window displays enchant kids and adults alike at department stores including Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps.

Beaujolais Nouveau

At midnight on the third Thursday (ie Wednesday night) in November – as soon as French law permits – the opening of the first bottles of cherry-bright, six-week-old Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in Paris wine bars, with more celebrations on the Thursday itself.

December

Twinkling fairy lights, brightly decorated Christmas trees and shop windows, and outdoor ice-skating rinks make December a magical month to be in the City of Light.

Salon du Cheval de Paris

Sporting events and competitions including show jumping and dressage, plus a horseback parade through Paris, are part of the nine-day Paris Horse Fair (www.salon-cheval.com) from late November to early December.

Christmas Eve Mass

Mass is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve at many Paris churches, including Notre Dame – arrive early to find a place.

Le Festival du Merveilleux

The magical private museum Musée des Arts Forains (www.arts-forains.com), filled with fairground attractions of yesteryear, opens from late December to early January, with enchanting rides, attractions and festive shows.

New Year’s Eve

Bd St-Michel, 5e, place de la Bastille, 11e, the Eiffel Tower, 7e, and especially av des Champs-Élysées, 8e, are the Parisian hot spots for welcoming in the New Year.

Winter Ice Skating

Come winter, ice-skating rinks pop up all over the city, including in some truly picturesque spots, such as beneath or within the Eiffel Tower. Skating is usually free, but you'll need to pay for skate hire if you don't have your own. Check www.parisinfo.com, as specific venues change from year to year.