50 Of The Most Glorious Things To Do In Paris For May 2019

We love May in Paris — it feels like we're in the City of Eternal Spring. Walking almost anywhere in the city is a delight. With the warmer weather we recommend you book a day trip to Versailles, Monet's gardens at Giverny, the D-Day beaches of Normandy, or a spectacular Loire Valley castle jaunt with tastings of local wines. And don't forget to book a VIP dinner cruise on the Seine !

Most Popular Activities

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

Dinner on the Eiffel Tower + River Cruise + Moulin Rouge Cabaret

Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and Seine River Cruise

Experience the best of Paris in one fun-filled evening. Before your cruise you take time for a leisurely dinner on the Eiffel Tower at Restaurant 58 with its spectacular views of the city. Then, after the cruise, you're whisked to Montmartre for a cabaret show (complete with champagne) at the famous Moulin Rouge. Everything's been arranged for you, just sit back and enjoy. Also see, The 6 Best Evenings In Paris…

Skip the Lines at the Louvre

Skip-the-Line Louvre Museum Guided Tour

With nearly 10 millions visitors a year, the Louvre is another über-popular site in Paris, which again means long, long lines. But, a great tip is to book a guided tour of the museum, that leads you past the lines and right to the most famous works of art, also allowing you plenty of time to wander. Another tip — these tours sell out, so be sure to book early. Also see, How to Beat the Long Lines at the Louvre…

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Evening Tour of the Louvre + Wine Tasting

Better yet, go for our personal favorite. This full-evening activity combines three of our top activities — being in Paris, viewing world-famous art with a guide who can explain it all, and wine tasting with an expert sommelier in the most popular wine cellar in Paris. You also get to skip the lines at the Louvre!

Champagne Cruise Along the Seine

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Champagne Cruise Along the Seine

Paris + Champagne! Is it any wonder that we love this cruise? You start at the front of the line, with priority access to your bateaux. On board you are seated in an exclusive area at the front of the boat. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery. And what scenery it is! Glide past world-famous monuments while sipping bubbly presented by your very own sommelier.

Bateaux Parisiens VIP Dinner Cruise with Live Music & Hotel Pickup

Bateaux Parisiens Dinner Cruise

This VIP dinner cruise gets you a prime table at the front of the boat for the best views of the city's must-see attractions. As you dine aboard one of the classy Bateaux Parisiens boats, the band entertains you with live music while you take in the city lights. Hotel pickup is included as is champagne and wine. Also see, The Six Top Dinner Cruises in Paris…

Why Stand in Line at at the Eiffel Tower?

Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tour

The lines at the Eiffel Tower are always long, and that's particularly true during the lovely days of May. Since we know you don't want to spend your valuable time in Paris standing in line, we strongly recommend you sign up for a tour that lets you bypass the ticket line. Since availability at the Tower changes, the best way to approach a no-wait ET visit is to check with the Skip the Eiffel Tower Lines link below. Also see, Big List of Eiffel Tower Tours…

Night Bike Ride + River Cruise

Paris Night Bike Tour

May is also a great month for a guided cycling tour around the city's most famous monuments and landmarks. Cruise around the ancient and modern streets of the city as you visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and glide down the Champs Elysées. Then you hop on a river boat for a nighttime cruise on the Seine.

La Marina de Paris Lunch Cruise on the Seine

Lunch Cruise on the Seine

Visitors are loving this fun, casual, and affordable lunch cruise along the Seine — you see so much of Paris while dining on a classic 3-course meal. A cruise down the city's famous river is something you must do while in Paris, so why not have lunch at the same time? Combine great dining with a tour of Paris. This lunch cruise is very popular, so book early.

Montmartre Impressionist Art Walking Tour + Musée d'Orsay

Montmartre Impressionist Art Walking Tour

Montmartre was once a rural hilltop village that, in the 19th century, became the haunt of artists and poets. Today, it's a fascinating quartier of shops and sights with an artistic flair. On this guided tour see Van Gogh's house, the windmill cabaret painted by Renoir, the site of Picasso's early studio, and more. Also included is a skip-the-line ticket for the Impressionist museum, Musée d'Orsay. This activity has hundreds of 5-star reviews, so be sure to book early.

Catacombs of Paris with VIP Access

Catacombs of Paris with VIP Access

Even though it's the eeriest attraction in Paris the Catacombs are immensely popular. It really is something different to descend 130 steps underground to visit the final resting place of 6 million historic Parisians. The only way to avoid the long lines is to book this skip-the-line tour with an expert guide who also explains the history of this dark landmark. This VIP version gets you exclusive access to areas that are off-limits to most visitors.

Versailles En Bicyclette – Day Tour

Versailles by Bike Day Tour

Make your visit to Versailles just a little bit different. Cycle the idyllic countryside around Versailles and shop the local markets for picnic supplies. You stop for an al fresco lunch in — you guessed it — the gardens of Versailles! Then use your priority-access ticket to explore the palace. Book early, this activity is likely to sell out.

Dinner & Show at the Moulin Rouge with Hotel Transportation

Moulin Rouge Dinner + Roundtrip Hotel Transportation

No need to worry about how to get to the cabaret, your driver meets you at your Paris address. In Montmartre, at the Moulin Rouge, you dine on three traditional French courses and revel in the famous show. Moulin Rouge regularly sells out weeks in advance, so book as early as you can. Also see, Seven Ways To See The Hottest Show in Town…

VIP Twilight Tour – Champagne Cruise + Eiffel Tower

VIP Twilight Tour

There are hundreds of 5-star reviews for this combination evening activity — and for good reason. We've done this tour and it's as good as it sounds! On a twilight river cruise you gaze upon the sights of Paris while you sip bubbly in a VIP area at the front of the boat. Back at the dock, your guide leads you to the Eiffel Tower, past the log line-ups, and up to Level Two for even better views of Paris. Magical!

Musée d'Orsay Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Orsay Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

This is a great way to see the greatest collection of Impressionist art in the world. An art expert guide leads you past the long ticket lines and walks you to the best the museum has to offer, offering in-depth explanations of each work. All the masters are here at d'Orsay — Manet, Renoir, van Gogh, Monet, Degas… the list goes on. Also see, Our complete guide to Musée d'Orsay…

Paris Insiders Pass

Paris Insiders Pass Discounts

Our very own Paris Insiders Pass saves money & time — you get into the museums for free and ride the Metro for free. But the big advantage is bypassing the long Paris lines. If you've ever stood in line for hours at the Louvre, you'll appreciate how important that is. Even better, we've arranged special savings for our readers. Use the discount code INSIDERS5 for extra savings. Also see, Complete Guide to the Paris Insiders Pass

Airport Transfers

Airport Transfer

Here is one of our best Insiders tips — pre-arranging transfer from the airport. We find it's comforting to be prepared and to know what's going to happen when you arrive. Readers love these affordable shuttle van services that take you right to your hotel and pick you up when you're ready to leave. Or you might want to go with our best advice — a VIP private transfer in a luxurious Mercedes S-Class. Honestly, it's the only way to do it! Also see, Airport Transfers – Our Complete Guide

Five Top Left Bank Hotels –

Top Left Bank Hotels

Who doesn't love the Left Bank of Paris? It makes you think of Hemingway and the Jazz Age and seems to emanate the very essence of Paris,. We think it's the best district in the city to call home. The Saint-Germain neighborhood is charming, and so are the best of the hotels in the quartier. So, let's take a look at our picks of the top 5 Left Bank hotels — with maybe a couple of bonuses as well!

The Top Day Trips From Paris

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

Loire Valley Chateaux + Loire Valley Wines

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Chateaux of the Loire Valley Day Tour

The beautiful Renaissance valley is known for more that just its famous chateaux. The Loire Valley also produces world-renowned wines. This tour includes guided tours of the 3 most famous castles. It also includes a wine tasting of the best varietals from the region — that all happens during a bountiful French lunch. It's like two trips in one glorious day! You skip the lines at the castles.

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Loire Valley's Luxurious Castles

If you want to concentrate on the castles then opt for this fun day trip from Paris, sans wine, that gets you to the three most important chateaux – Cheverny, Chenonceau and Chambord.

Spend a Day in the Champagne Region

A Day In Champagne

Visit the Land of Bubbly as your private driver picks you up at your Paris address and whisks you away along the route des vins. At Reims, capital of the Champagne region, you tour the historic city, and visit the famous cathedral. There's lunch, of course, plus sampling a lot of bubbly at the famous producers! Can you think of a better way to spend a day? Monday through Saturday. Also available as a private tour.

Best of Versailles with Skip-the-Line Access + Grand Canal Lunch

Versailles Guided Tour & Grand Canal Gourmet Lunch

A symbol both of grandeur and of royal decadence — the chateaux and gardens of Versailles are don't-miss destinations when you're in Paris. It's an easy day trip, but instead of worrying about trains, maps and guidebooks, we recommend you go the royal route. Book a private van with a driver/guide to make the past come alive. Includes transportation to and from your hotel. This is likely to sell out.

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Half-Day Guided Tour of Versailles

This popular morning tour includes priority access with an expert guide. It's a small-group with transportation right from your hotel. A private tour is also available.

VIP Versailles Tour With Private Viewing of the Royal Quarters

VIP Versailles

Feel like royalty as you slip past the guards and the velvet ropes to to see Versailles' secrets normally reserved for dignitaries. Here's what's in store on this exclusive VIP, small-group tour — Louis XVI's apartments, his personal library, the Royal Chapel (built for the wedding of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette). Visit the Hall of Mirrors with a twist — you see it before the palace opens, before the angry mob arrives. We recently did this tour and there's nothing like it! Sundays, Tuesdays, Saturdays.

Versailles + Claude Monet's Gardens in One Day

Monet's Magical Gardens at Giverny

Start the day with a visit to the chateau and gardens of Versailles. You next visit the luscious gardens of Claude Monet in nearby Giverny at their peak of perfection in May. Here you will see his Impressionist world blossom in front of your eyes. On this small-group tour you are picked up at your Paris address and driven to both locations for guided tours. Lunch is also included on this very popular day trip from Paris.

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Monet's House & Gardens in Giverny

To concentrate on Monet and his house and gardens in Giverny, choose this affordable small-group afternoon tour that includes pick-up at your Paris address. Daily except Tuesdays & Thursdays in July. Private tours are available everyday.

Mont Saint-Michel, Loire Valley Chateaux + Wine Tasting

Mont Saint-Michel

Spend two days exploring the coast of Normandy, the castles of the Loire Valley, and regional wines on this popular tour from Paris. We're not sure which is more breathtaking — the "floating" island of Mont Saint-Michel or the Loire Valley chateaux. Luckily, you don't have to choose. Everything is included — tickets, guides, meals, accommodations, and a guided tasting of Loire wines on day two.

The D-Day Beaches of Normandy

D-Day Tours

75 summers have passed since the Allied Forces arrived onto the D-Day beaches of Normandy. Starting out from Paris, spend the day exploring the beaches, monuments and museums that mark the beginning of the end of World War II. Choose the small group option (8 person max.) and you will be picked up at your Paris hotel and delivered back at the end of the tour.

Visit London for the Day… From Paris!

Visit London for the Day

Nowadays, high-speed trains the channel tunnel have made it possible to visit London on a day trip from Paris. What used to seem a dream is now easy! At Gare du Nord in Paris you meet your tour guide and hop on the Eurostar to London. The day includes an extensive, open-top bus tour around London and guided walking tours, including The Beatles London Walking Tour. It's an exhilarating trip that gets you back to Paris the very same day.

The Top Food & Wine Activities

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

The Food & Wine of the Marais

Travelers' Favourite

Food & Wine of the Marais

This is a new food tour that walks you through the Marais to visit the top food & wine shops in the quartier , tasting the best of French foods like cheese, charcuterie, baguettes, chocolate, and wine. You start your tour at the oldest food market in the city. This one is garnering high praise from satisfied travelers.

Cheese & Wine Tasting in a Paris Cheese Cellar

Cheese & Wine Tasting

What better place than Paris to learn about the cheese of France? And what better place than the Marais to descend into a private cheese cellar with an affineur (expert in aging cheeses)? Learn all about the proper way to age seven classic French cheeses and how to match them with wines. Discover how cheese became one of the most important food groups of France, along with baguettes and chocolate! The small group is limited to 10 to ensure there's more cheese for you. Also see, Five Top Cheese Tastings In Paris…

Chocolate & Pastry Walking Tour

Chocolate and Pastry Walking Tour

We always say that Paris and wine go together? And that also applies to Paris, chocolate & pastries. Is it any wonder that we (and our readers) like this guided walking tour? It gives you a chance to get behind-the-scenes of Paris dessert specialities, along with plenty of sampling of course, including regional specialities.

VIP Eiffel Tower Dinner + River Cruise + Moulin Rouge Cabaret

Eiffel Tower Dinner + River Cruise + Moulin Rouge

This makes for an exceptional evening in Paris and it starts out with private pick-up at your Paris address. A separate table is reserved for you at restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel, with panoramic views of Paris. After dinner you embark on a sightseeing tour along the Seine river for another unique experience. There's more to come — the fabulous cabaret show at Moulin Rouge (with champagne, of course). At the end of the evening your driver is waiting to return you to your hotel.

Wine & Champagne Tasting Class

Wine Tasting

On an evening in Paris, in an elegant wine cellar, immerse yourself in the wonders of French wine during this introduction and tasting led by a wine expert. Learn about the country's wine regions and taste the wines, with guidance from your sommelier. This Masterclass also provides the rare opportunity to taste some of the finest champagnes.

Food Specialities of the Latin Quarter

Food Specialities of the Latin Quarter

You get individual attention on this small-group gourmet walking tour that begins at a specialty cheese shop on Boulevard Saint-Germain on the Left Bank. Not only is there lots of sampling, your food-expert guide also treats you to an overview of French culinary habits, a description of any seasonal events taking place at the time of your tour, and an introduction to selected specialties in the shops.

Lunch on the Eiffel Tower Plus Access to Level Two

Lunch on the Eiffel Tower

Combine a priority access visit to the 1st and 2nd levels of the Eiffel Tower followed by 3-course déjeuner at the Tower's famous gourmet restaurant. You are met by your hostess at the base of the tower who conducts you past the long lines to the elevators. It's a wonderful way to lunch while you overlook the sights of Paris.

Paris Cooking Class & Food Market Tour

Market Tour & Classic French Cooking

Hone your French cooking skills in a small-group cooking class in Paris. Sign up to join a local chef to tour a local fresh food market, then return to the Paris cooking studio to create a stellar three-course meal. You will prepare a delicious lunch — including entree, main course and dessert — and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of wine. Class size is limited to 8.

Classical Music, Opera & Ballet

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

The Magic Flute – Paris Opera

The Magic Flute

This, Mozart's final opera is magical, philosophical and even mysterious. Today it's one of the world's most-performed operas, and for good reason — an amusing fairytale, where good triumphs over evil, influenced by the democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. You're not going to want to miss this one. Performed in German, with French and English surtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• April 27 to June 15

Carmen – Paris Opera

Carmen

Bizet's opera sizzles with passion under the hot, blazing Spanish sun. The story of Carmen sets the ideal of the free-spirited and rebellious love against the shadow of destructive obsession. This new staging of Carmen has a star-studded cast and is performed in French with English surtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• April 23 to May 23

Église de la Madeleine

concerts at la Madeleine

The church is a powerful legacy from both the last kings of France and its first emperor — Napoleon. Today it's a popular venue for classical music concerts. And, after the performance, you're in the center of Paris ready to explore.

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Vivaldi's Four Seasons at La Madeleine

May 01 to May 28

Concerts at La Sainte Chapelle

La Sainte Chapelle

Now that the warm weather has returned, so have classical music concerts at the acoustically-perfect La Sainte Chapelle, the 13th-century gem of a church on Île de la Cité. It's no wonder this is travelers' favorite venue for music in Paris. Sitting among the amazing stain glass while surrounded by the music of Vivaldi, Pachelbel, and Albinoni is an opportunity not to be missed. Highly recommended.

Eiffel Tower Concert

That's right, listen to a classical music up on the Eiffel Tower. Strauss, Brahms, Mozart, and Bartok. Your ticket gets you priority access to the tower.
• Eiffel Tower
• May 8 & 11 Only

Leon + Lightfoot + Satie – Paris Ballet

Music by Erik Satie with choreography by the well-known team of Paul Lightfoot and Sol León.
• Palais Garnier
• April 19 to May 23

Performances At Église Saint-Ephrem

Performances At Eglise Saint-Ephrem

Église Saint-Ephrem has had a rocky history. The first church was built on the site in 1335, for Italian students living in Paris. In 1677 Irish priests built a new church here. The current church was built in 1733, ceased religious activities in 1825, and was given to the Syrian Catholic Church in the 1920s. Today its also a popular venue for classical music.

The Best Events in Paris

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

Fête du Travail – May Day

May Day

Next to Bastille Day, May Day is the most popular holiday of the year in France. Most shops and museums are closed to celebrate France's Labor Day. Be on the look-out for lily-of-the-valley flowers which are a symbol of good luck in France. You'll see them for sale at flower vendors on nearly every street corner.

• Wednesday, May 1

The French Open

The French Open

This Grand Slam tennis tournament is the only one played on red clay. The French Open starts during the last week of May at Roland Garros stadium. If you're a tennis fan, this is one of the most dramatic tournament of the year. Expect to see plenty of red clay flying.

• May 20 to June 9, 2019
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Foire de Paris – The Grand Paris Expo

It's the largest home show in Paris and has been for 112 years. Discover the latest French decorating trends (who doesn't want in on that one?). More than 3,500 brands from Europe give you a chance to discover all the latest French house and home trends.

• Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles
• April 27 to May 8, 2019
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La Fête de la Victoire
  • On this French National Holiday the President of France will lay flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor the liberation of France.
    • Wednesday, May 8, 2019
    • Arc de Triomphe

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Jazz Festival at Saint-Germain-des-Prés
  • Hear top jazz performances in the heart of Paris.
    • May 16 to 27, 2019
    Website

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Nuit des Musées
  • It's an all-nighter at Paris museums. Free museum entrance, plus they stay open until the wee hours.
    • May 18, 2019
    Website

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Taste of Paris
  • Join top chefs and food & wine producers, with a line-up of dazzling cooking demonstrations and tastings.
    • Grand Palais
    Website

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Fête du Pain
  • Only in France, folks. It's a festival of bread where the prize for the best baguette of the year is awarded.
    • May 14 to 20, 2019
    Website

What's On at the Museums

Things to Do in Paris May 2019

Calder-Picasso

Calder-Picasso

This exciting exhibition examines the similarities and the differences between these two great 20th-century artists. Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso changed the way we look at art, and perhaps the world.
Musée Picasso
• February 19 to 25 August 25, 2019
Information

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Archaeology Goes Graphic

The popular Archaeology Goes Graphic exhibition series (now in its fourth season) follows in the footsteps of archaeologists to see how they discover treasures, unearth objects, classify them and interpret the past. All done in comic book form!

  • Petite Galerie, Louvre
  • Ends July 1, 2019

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Liturgical Textiles of the Byzantine Tradition from Romania

See highlights of the Romanian collection's embroidery of Byzantine tradition from the mid-15th to the mid-17th centuries.

  • Department of Decorative Arts
  • Ends July 29, 2019

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Forgotten Kingdoms – From the Hittite Empire to the Arameans

The Hittite empire, ancient Egypt's rival power, was a world power until 1200 BC. This exhibition focuses on this forgotten civilization only rediscovered in 1911. After their discovery sculptures and artifacts were taken to Berlin, where they were damaged during World War II bombings. However, an extensive conservation project has restored them and you can now see them at the Louvre.

  • Hall Napoléon, Louvre
  • May 2, 2019 to August 12, 2019

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Franz Marc and August Macke – 1909-1914

Discover two major artists of German Expressionism. Franz Marc (1880-1916) and August Macke (1887-1914) forged a friendship based on their shared interest in Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Fauvism. Both had a spiritual fascination for landscapes and nature. Both were drafted and died in battle in World War I.

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Black Models – From Géricault to Matisse

This powerful exhibition explores the representation of black models in art from the time of abolition of slavery in France in 1794 to the present day with works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne.

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Ellsworth Kelly – Windows

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Shunk-Kender: Art in the Eye of the Camera (1957-1983)

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The Secret Soul of the Filipino

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Paris Romantique, 1815-1848

The Petite Palais follows its successful Paris 1900 exhibition with a panoramic show of the capital during the romantic years, from the fall of Napoleon to the Revolution of 1848. Nearly 600 works — paintings, sculptures, costumes, works of art and furniture — immerse the visitor into the artistic, cultural, and political events of this period. Take a virtual stroll through 19th-century Paris to discover the iconic neighborhoods of the period — the Tuileries, Palais-Royal, Nouvelle-Atènes, Notre-Dame, and the Grands Boulevards

Discover the many faces Paris of last century — the capital of fashion and of arts and crafts; the clash of styles at the annual Salon art shows; a renewed passion for the Middle Ages; the Paris of revolutions; the bohemian life; and finally the Paris of spectacles.

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The Decor of the Nabis Movement

They were true pioneers of modern decor. Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis, Sérusier, and Ranson, defined an art directly related to everyday life. From the beginning, this group, at the end of the 1880s championed decoration as a fundamental issue of creation. They advocated original expression, joyous and rhythmic, in reaction against the aesthetics of pastiche that was fashionable at the time.

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Red – Art and Utopia in the Land of Soviets

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Luigi Ghirri – The Map and the Territory

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