Regardless of the time of year you decide to visit the City of Light, there’s always something going on to satisfy every type of visitor, be it music, film, fashion, food or even just sunbathing. Here are 6 great ideas to get you started this summer.
Paris Jazz Festival
Now in its 22nd year, the festival will take place every weekend from 7th June to 26th July. Jazz bands from all over the world, from London to New York, Bamako to Stockholm, will perform on stage in a total of 31 concerts at the botanical Park Florale in the Vincennes woods southeast of Paris. Two concerts will take place each day except for the opening day when there will be three. On Saturday 13th and 27th June, special jazz nights will be happening in the evenings from 9pm. The first weekend will celebrate jazz music from Paris, London and Brussels, while the next, will be the turn of Paris and Rome, followed by Tokyo and so on. The concerts are also themed according to the style of jazz. For instance there is usually a Latin jazz weekend, as well as one for acoustic jazz, funk and soul, and hybrid weekends that celebrate jazz with hip-hop, funk or African undercurrents. The festival is free although there is an entrance fee to the park (6€ for the day, 22€/11€ for a festival pass). For more information see Paris Jazz Festival.
Pop-up Jean Imbert restaurant and Cinéma Paradiso at the Grand Palais
Every evening from 16th until 26th June from 7pm until 6am, the Cinéma Paradiso, now an annual event, that takes place under the Grand Palais’ glass nave, will welcome up to 10,000 people a day in its two cinemas of 2,000 seats each as well as at its Superclub nightclub (capacity of 5,000) at night. In addition to the 22 cult films (Mommy, Carrie, Fight Club...) that will be shown every night (from 9.50pm) over the 10 days, there will be various events including three bowling alleys and a hair salon. At the Superclub a total of 30 artists and international DJs including Agoria, Cassius and Kavinsky, will take over the stage every night from 11.30pm. And this year, as well as the many food outlets onsite, the young Parisian chef Jean Imbert, will be opening a pop-up outpost of his gourmet restaurant Acajou (16th arrondissement of Paris). For full listings click here.
Fête de la Musique
As with every year, the one-day celebration of the art of music will take place across France on 21st June. Bands take over the streets, bars, museums, galleries and various other locations, making it a wonderful time to experience the city, which truly comes alive. Created in 1982 by French cultural figure Jack Lang also Minister of Culture at the time, the Fête was actually the idea of Maurice Fleuret, director of music and dance, who pointed out that since five million people in France played a musical instrument, it made sense to have a festival celebrating the art of music – and the Fête de la Musique was born and has been one of the top events on the social calendar for the French ever since. While there is an official programme of events, free concerts will be taking place all over Paris indoors and outdoors (weather allowing) so unless visitors want to experience a particular event or see a particular band, there is no need to plan ahead. fetedelamusique.com
Fete de la Musique © Paris Tourist Office/Amelie Dupont
Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week
Paris is one of, if not the world fashion capital and four times a year visitors can experience the particular ambiance that takes over the city during its fashion weeks, with the women’s prêt-à-porter and haute couture being the two key events of the year. The next fashion week will unravel 5-10th July and is the one the world will come to see for the autumn/winter 2016 collections of the country’s iconic haute couture maisons like that of Chanel, Saint Laurent and Dior. Although the actual shows are accessed by invitation only, there are a number of satellite events happening all over Paris, which will be disclosed closer to the time. People-watching is also a favourite pastime as models and celebrities swan in and out of the shows at the main Fashion Week hubs like the Carrousel du Louvre, the Jardins des Tuileries, the Grand Palais and the Palais de Tokyo among tens of undisclosed secret locations. For the official fashion show schedule: www.modeaparis.com
Chanel: Paris Haute Couture Week
Similarly to the United States’ Independence Day, July 14th marks La Fête de la Bastille (Bastille Day), a celebration of liberation and independence for the people of France. The Bastille was a prison that stood on the eponymous square in the 11th district of the city that was taken over and completely destroyed by the people in 1789 marking the beginning of the French Revolution – the day the French overturned their monarchy. Highlights include the military parade from 9am on the Champs Elysées and the fireworks display, which this year will take place from 11pm at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. There are also a number of free concerts happening through the city like a classical music concert from 9.30pm on the Champs de Mars, the park just behind the Eiffel Tower, and events including the notorious Bals des Pompiers (firemen’s fetes) that take place in each arrondissement of Paris – extremely popular, visitors should get there early.
Fireworks on Eiffel Tower for Bastille Day © Yann Caradec
Paris Plages: urban beaches
Every year from 20th July until 18th August the banks along the Seine and some of Paris’ canals turn into makeshift urban beaches (‘plages’ in French) with real sand, deck chairs and a number of games and activities for visitors of all ages. While the beaches can get very crowded, visitors to the city can stroll along the banks to soak up the summer atmosphere of the city. The main beach runs along the riverbanks close to the Hôtel de Ville (Paris town hall) and another is built along the Canal de la Villette in Jaurès, east Paris. Although not quite beaches, there is also a fun and lively holiday vibe along the banks of Bercy, where numerous pop-up restaurants and bars set up gardens of deck chairs and bean bags that stay well into the night. More information on the Paris Tourist Office website.
Paris Plages © Paris Tourist Office/Marc-Bertrand