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. Cultural events are in full swing this month with classical music concerts at Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle; Romeo & Juliet at Opera Bastille; and Vivaldi's ever-popular The Four Seasons performed at La Madeleine.
With 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. Speaking of wines, there's no better place than Paris to join a wine tasting lead by an expert sommelier.
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|Top Day Trips From Paris||The Most Popular Activities||The Top Food & Wine Activities|
|All The Best Events in Paris||Classical Music, Opera & Ballet||New Exhibits at the Museums|
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 lines. Click below to view readers' favorite tour. If you can't find your dates, check the Big List of Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tours.
This new activity is pretty much three things in one. You dine on a 3-course lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel, the restaurant on the first level of the tower. (You have priority-access tickets, of course.) But you also have tickets to get you to the second level and even to the very top for a birds-eye view of Paris. Once you've taken it all in, there's a river boat at the foot of the tower waiting to take you on a cruise of the famous river.
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.
Combine a glamorous dinner in Paris with sights of the city's must-see attractions on this 3-hour evening sightseeing dinner cruise aboard one of the classy Bateaux Parisiens boats. As you dine, the band entertains you with live music while you take in the lights. Hotel pickup is included as is champagne and wine. What else would you expect in Paris?
Here's yet another perfect evening in Paris — dining on the Eiffel Tower and then ending the evening with a nighttime river cruise. You begin with skip-the-line tickets to get you up to tower to restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel. On this night you have two stunning views of the City of Light — from up above, at the tower; and from a bateau cruising along the Seine.
With more than 9 millions visitors a year, the Louvre Art Museum 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.
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.
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.
We love evening in Paris — there's so much to do and see and there's a kind of magic in the air. Dine at the Moulin Rouge, still the number-one rated nightclub in Europe. Then take in the amazing cabaret show. No need to figure out how to get there or what to do when you're ready to leave, transportation is included.
Make every minute count. This tour plays out like a lovely orchestrated piece of music. Highlights of the Louvre museum — check. Seine River cruise — check. Eiffel Tower lunch — check. The finalé is a skip-the-line visit to the 850 year-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral on the picturesque Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. Everything is included, from entrance fees, lunch, to Seine river cruise.
On a warm evening in May take a tour of the dark side of the City of Light. Our readers have loved this walking adventure with an informative guide exploring the winding streets and hidden alleys of the city with over 2,000 years of history. That's plenty of time for lots of legends and stories to arise — about ghosts, the Black Plagues, the wars, and the unexplained.
We love the quirkiness of this walking tour. See Paris through the eyes of fashion icon Coco Chanel. Sip hot chocolate at Angelina (Coco's fave place), visit her first hat shop, view the sights of the city that inspired her, as your chic guide (dressed in vintage clothes) fills you in on details of her unique life. If you love fashion and the history of Paris, this tour is made for you!
Before we get to our recommended day trips, 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. It's convenient — and cheaper than a taxi.
But this is our very best tip — arrange to ride into Paris in a luxurious private car. We value the comfort of having our Paris pal and professional driver, Manu, meet us at the arrivals gate to whisk us into the city in his Mercedes S-Class. Really, it's the only way to do it! Questions about Manu's service? Ask us…
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.
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 VIP 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've done this tour and there's nothing quite like it!
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.
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? Also available as a private tour.
This small-group tour takes you directly to the Land of Bubbly for a full-day exploration. Running Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in May.
The beautiful Renaissance valleyThe Top 3 Loire Valley Tours is known for more that just its famous chateaux. The Loire Valley also produces world-renowned wines. This tour gets you guided tours into the 3 most famous castles. It also includes a guided 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.
If you want to concentrate on the castles then opt for this fun day trip from Paris, sans wine, gets you to the three most important chateaux – Cheverny, Chenonceau and Chambord.
In May the luscious gardens of Claude Monet are at their peak of perfection. For 43 years Monet used them as his inspiration. Here you will see his Impressionist world blossom in front of your eyes. You are picked up at your Paris address, driven through the pastoral countryside with plenty of time to visit Monet's pink mansion, rambling gardens and the famous Japanese bridge.
74 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. Everyday in May.
There's so much you can see from Paris in one day, and these suggestions are just the beginning. To learn more, read our complete guide to historic Mont-Saint-Michel, to the World War I battlefields, Disneyland Paris, and even London!
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. There's good reason this is travelers' favourite 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.
Opera & ballet lovers unite! Shakespeare's timeless and universal love story is told through opera and dance with modern choreography by Sasha Walz and classical music by Hector Berlioz. These final performances will sell out quickly, so book now!
• Opera Bastille
• May 2 & 4, 2018
Fall under the spell of Parsifal, Wagner's final opera. Based on the knight Percival and his quest for the Holy Grail, the three-act opera was first staged in Bavaria in 1882. Performed in German with English and French subtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• May 5, 10, 13, 20 & 23
Two breathtaking operas in one performance. The night begins with Ravel's Spanish Hour, a comedie musicale set in Spain, about a clockmaker and his unfaithful wife. Then it's Puccini's libretto Gianni Schicchi, which premiered 100 years ago in New York. Performed in French with English surtitles.
• Opera Bastille
• May 17, 19 & 27
Music by Beethoven, Schonberg, and Bartok, choreography by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker with dancing by the Les Etoiles of the Paris Ballet corps. The choreographer's work is presented in three parts: Quatuor #4, Die Grosse Fuge & Verklarte Nacht.
• Palais Garnier
• May 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12
Flying buttresses, menacing gargoyles, soaring spires & the occasional hunchback, Notre Dame is also home to one of the world's largest pipe organs. A concert here will be a top highlight to your trip to Paris. Added bonus — only ticket holders are allowed into Notre Dame during the evening concerts.
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.
Eglise Saint-Ephrem also 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.
This month is a great time to be in Paris to take in a concert at one of the many historic churches and cathedrals that span the city landscape. Choose from concerts performed at La Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, Saint Ephrem, Saint Germain des Prés, or ballets and opera at Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille.
Paris and wine simply go together, so take the chance to learn about the country's wine regions and taste the wines, with guidance from an expert sommelier. We particularly like the 2-hour grand cru tasting — it provides the rare opportunity to taste some of the finest wines of France. It all takes place in a charming wine bar very near the Louvre.
Didn't we just say that Paris and wine went together? Well, how about Paris, chocolate and pastries? Is it a 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.
Take a walk with a culinary expert to discover the foods that France is most famous for. Start at a traditional fromagerie to learn about the country's cheeses. Move on to freshly baked baguettes. The tour takes in French wine and even foie gras! And, don't worry — any calories you take in at delicious taste samplings are going to be burned off by the walk!
Would you really expect to get a fine dinner on top of the most popular monument in the world? Well, it's true, and you can book your table that gives you a view across Paris. In fact, we've given you the only link that will guarantee you a window seat for you and that Special Someone. In Paris. On the Eiffel Tower. At night.
Don't you just love activities where you don't have to do anything except eat and drink? Unless, by chance, you decide to look out the window at the lights of Paris passing by. That's exactly why we like taking a cruise down the Seine on a luxury bateau… while dining on a 3-course gourmet meal prepared by a French chef. It's night in the City of Lights — combining romance, fine dining, and a river tour of Paris.
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.
Macarons seem to us so emblematic of Paris that it would be a shame to visit and not learn how to make these delicate meringue-based confections. Luckily, you can easily do that by signing up for this small-group class, where you learn how to create your own macarons while you get loads of individual attention from Chef Marthe. You end up with a box of the delicacies to take away with you.
This fab food activity has you tasting your way through what may be the hottest food neighborhood in Paris — the area around the Aligre Market in the 12th. Sample ten of the most iconic foods of France at specialty shops — from baguettes to chocolate to cheese. The fun kicks off in the vibrant market street at one of the most popular oyster bars in the city.
Is it just us, or do Paris & champagne go together? This new tasting combines the two in a lovely way — set in most acclaimed champagne bar in the city, a champagne sommelier introduces you to some of the best of the small and family champagne producers in France. The cellar features more than 50 champagnes, so there's no end of choice!
Take a culinary jaunt up the hill for delicious tastes and artistic discoveries at every turn. Sample crusty baguettes, tender crepes, cured speciality sausages and a glass or two of wine at the many charming wine bars along the route. As you taste your way around the neighborhood you'll also learn about the many hidden & artistic landmarks of Montmartre.
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.
• Tuesday, May 1
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 27 to June 10, 2018
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
• Ends May 8
After training as an engraver, Israël Silvestre (1621-1691) turned to cityscapes. He started with small drawings of his hometown Nancy, his later works were panoramas of Paris, with royal festivities and of the cities conquered by Louis XIV. This series also includes his beautiful drawings of local landmarks like Vaux-le-Vicomte, Meudon, Montmorency and Versailles.One hundred drawings, 400 prints, and eighty-eight copper plates.
Fifty works from the Louvre, Musée National, Versailles, and Beaux-Arts illustrate the evolution of political power. Spanning from antiquity to present day the works in this collection highlight the evolution of political power as expressed through art.
The exhibition presents Baltic Symbolism from the 1890s to the 1920s. And who doesn't love a bracing dose of Baltic Symbolism? Hands, please.
200 never-before-seen works demonstrate the evolution of the Western perception of distant and not-so-distant populations, societies and territories.
Famous for his landscapes, Camille Corot was also n prolific painter of figures. See 60 of his nudes and portraits.
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