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There are always plenty of things to do in Paris. Each and every month is packed with cultural, artistic and entertaining activities. If food is your thing there are cooking classes, wine tastings and gourmet food walks of all kinds. (We particularly like those!)
Don't forget about the concerts at historic churches, operas at Bastille, ballet at Palais Garnier, fresh exhibits at dozens of museums, tennis and soccer, marathons and fun walks, and lots of fab festivals.
We've culled information from dozens of official websites, blogs and our own archives to share with you our handy all-in-one guide to what's going on in Paris, so you don't miss a thing.
Some of the best annual activities in Paris are never discovered by tourists. Learn where Parisians head to for New Year's Eve, Bastille Day, in the heat of summer, and events throughout the year.
Our best advice is to plan in advance &bdash; book a couple of good activities, a historic walking tour, a day trip from Pairs, a concert or maybe a ballet before you leave home. (It's easy to do online.) These extra activities will add immensely to the depth of experience you have in Paris. There's always something happening in the City of Fun!
The New Year in Paris starts with a big bang courtesy of La Grande Parade de Paris. Show up at the Place du Trocadero for a sea of marching bands and pom-poms (cheerleaders!). January is also the kick-off of Fashion Week in Paris, featuring fashion shows in and around the Carrousel du Louvre. It's also the height of the cultural season with plenty of ballets, classical music concerts and operas.
Party like it's 1411! That's when the first Carnaval de Paris was held and it's been going on virtually every year since. It kicks off with parades and festivities at Place Gambetta and the Hôtel de Ville. Romance is always in the air in Paris but Valentine's Day in the City of Love is magical. In recent years, Chinese New Year has become a very popular event in Paris, with a lively parade and celebrations in the 13th Arrondissement, home of Paris Chinatown. The classical concerts continue at historic Paris venues.
Even the French love to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, especially at the many Irish pubs found throughout the city. The Paris Gourmand International Cookbook Awards chooses the best cookbooks from around the world and holds their Paris awards show at the Folie Bergères. Books seem to be a theme in March with the Salon du Livre, an international book fair held at the Porte de Versailles.
Things to Do in Paris. It's springtime and Paris is beautiful — time to get out into the parks and gardens. Then it's get ready, set, go! as the annual Paris Marathon draws thousands of runners in the first week of April. The Shakespeare Garden Festival also commences in April and continues through to October with performances in the Bois de Boulognes.
Fête du Travail (May Day) marks the date for France's Labor Day on May 1. The prestigious French Open Tennis Grand Slam begins at Rolland Garros. And just for fun, there's the Garçons de Café where competitors vie for the title of best waiter/ress in Paris. (By the way, they can call themselves garçons, but you can't! Always address your server as monsieur or mademoiselle.)
Festivals, celebrations and parades mark the month of June in Paris. There's the Fête du Cinema, Fête de la Musique, Gay Pride Parade, International Rose Competition, the Paris Summer Arts Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, the Open-Air Cinema… And that's just the beginning!
Things to Do in Paris. What's bigger than the 4th of July? Bastille Day (July 14) with its dizzying array of celebrations — fireworks, parades and street events. It's also when the winter haute couture collections are launched in the Louvre's Carré during Fashion Week. It's when summer sizzles at Paris Plage, the temporary beach installed on the banks of the Seine. And the world's greatest cycling event, the Tour de France begins and ends at the Champs-Elysées.
Summer continues with the Shakespeare Garden Festival, Paris Plage, and the Moonlight Cinema in Paris. Thousands of Parisians leave the city for their annual vacation, leaving Paris a relatively calm oasis. But since there are still plenty of activities happening in Paris, it's a great time to visit.
La Rentrée marks the end of the vacances (July and August) and the return to normal Paris life. The Festival d'Automne à Paris, (Autumn Paris Festival), attracts a crowd of over 100,000 to honor the arts with over 40 events at various venues. Catch some soul, funk and rock music events at Parc de la Villette at Jazz de la Villette. And September is when the fair comes to town, with the Fête a Neu-Neu setting up camp at the the two lakes of Bois de Boulogne.
At the Fêtes des Vendanges à Montmartre the mairie ("village" or "arrondissement") of Montmartre celebrates its wine harvest (at the only vineyard in Paris) with wine tastings, parades and a festival. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe marks the opening of horse racing season in the first week of October. See some of the best art in Paris at FIAC – Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain – at the beautiful Grand Palais. October sees Blanc Nuit when all museums are open all night. There's also the Chocolate Festival at the Porte de Versailles.
Armistice Day (November 11) is honored with a military parade that ends at the Arc de Triomphe where the President of France lays wreaths at the Tomb of the unknown soldier. On the third Thursday in November it's Beaujolais Nouveau Day, when Paris cafés, wine bars and bistros join together in a city-wide wine tasting party. It's also photography month in Paris with many exhibits at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. At the end of the month, 100 streets in Paris are decorated with thousands of lights to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.
Things to Do in Paris. What a great month in Paris! Ice skating commences at Hôtel de Ville, amazing ice sculptures are created along the Champs-Elysées, and thousands of seasonal lights are installed throughout the city. If horse jumping is your thing, the Salon du Cheval de Paris begins at Paris Nord Villepinte with a jumping competition and the World Arabian Horse Championships. Classical concerts can be heard in historic venues throughout the season, with memorable Christmas Eve Masses at Notre Dame and Saint-Eustache.
Nöel à Paris sounds as magical as it is! It's one of our favorite times of the year to visit the Ville des Fêtes – the City of Festivals.
Go to our Guide to Nöel à Paris to learn more about spending the holiday season in this most magical of cities.
In March 2012 we reported on our day-to-day activities as we celebrated the arrival of spring in the City of Lights.
The weather changed dramatically. We arrived in winter and left in summer. But, no matter the weather, we had a great time enjoying the things to do in Paris — ballet, museums, concerts, shopping, restaurants, zoos and parks.
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