A packed Parisian spring events calendar

Sport, exhibitions, festivals, fairs and shows to suit all tastes: there’s no lack of things to see and do!

Springtime returns to Paris in March and April, bringing a wealth of events in its wake. There will be major sporting events, new exhibitions, activities for children and large-scale popular events – from the Art Paris Art Fair to the Mois de la photo du Grand Paris (photography month), not to mention the Paris semi-marathon, Fitbit and the opening of the new arts complex La Seine Musicale on the Ile Seguin. Here is our list of not-to-miss events!

Sports

Running

Fitbit semi-marathon de Paris © DR

From 5 March, runners will be starting off the month on the right foot

Runners will be starting off the month on the right foot by assembling at the Bois de Vincennes on 5 March for the Fitbit Paris half-marathon. Nearly 40,000 people gather in the French capital to run the 21.1 km marathon. On 16 March, the French capital’s most iconic monument will enter the fray, hosting the Verticale de la Tour Eiffel challenge. The goal is to be the fastest to climb the Eiffel Tower’s 1,665 steps.

The month of April has its own running event, with the 41th edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, one of the world’s top races, taking place on the 9th. Drawing nearly 57,000 participants each year, it is run over a 42-km stretch through some of the top Paris sights, including the Champs-Élysées, Concorde and the Eiffel Tower.

Runners of all levels have their very own trade show, the Salon du Running, from 6 to 8 April at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. Drawing more than 90,000 visitors, this is the biggest fair devoted to a single sport in France.

Fans of equestrian events ? 

Course hippique © Thinkstock

Mark your calendars: 17, 18 and 19 March are the dates for the 8th edition of the Saut Hermès, the prestigious show jumping competition, where you can see the world’s finest riders in action in the magnificent setting of the Grand Palais. In March, the Dimanche au Galop (Sunday at the races) event takes over the Auteuil and Saint-Cloud racecourses for nearly the entire month.

Rugby, martial arts, vintage car fans

Rugby will be in the spotlight at the 6 Nations Tournament 2017. On 18 March, the Stade de France will host the face-off between France and Wales.

Fans of Bruce Lee movies take note: the 32nd Festival des Arts martiaux opens on 25 March at AccorHotels Arena, and is expected to draw roughly 10,000 martial arts enthusiasts.

On 24 April, vintage car fans will flock to the nave of the Grand Palais to admire the vehicles chosen to take part in the 26th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 before they hit the road. The display will include classic gems that have long since gone out of production, from brands like Simca, René Bonnet, Delahaye and Facel Vega.

Exhibitions

Spring is a fertile season for exhibitions, with a succession of major art events. No doubt about it, Paris is the perfect setting for spectacular exhibitions.

March gets off to a great start

Amedeo Modigliani - La Rousse au Pendentif © Collection Alicia Koplowitz - Grupo Omega Capital

With an exhibition at the Musée Maillol bearing the same title as Anne Sinclair’s autobiography, 21 rue La Boétie (published in France by Grasset & Fasquelle in 2012), March gets off to a great start. In the book, the well-known journalist describes the life of her grandfather Paul Rosenberg, one of the most influential art dealers of the 20th century. The book inspired this exhibition of around 60 masterpieces by great artists such as Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Léger and Marie Laurencin.

And that’s not all – there’s another headline event straight afterwards for art lovers to enjoy. From 3 March to 10 July, the Musée Jacquemart-André is hosting From Zurbarán to Rothko. Alicia Koplowitz Collection. This display of nearly 50 artworks from the Alicia Koplowitz collection features both historic and modern masterpieces by the likes of Tiepolo, Canaletto, Guardi, Goya, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani and Giacometti. It is a must-see exhibition: many of the works will be on display to the public for the very first time.

When you’ve recovered from that breath-taking display, you’ll find there’s more splendour in store, with another of the year’s top events.

Sculpture de Rodin © A.Berg Agence photographique du musée Rodin 2015

To mark the centenary of Rodin’s death, the Grand Palais is paying tribute to the great sculptor with a magnificent exhibition, Rodin. L’exposition du centenaire. (title to be confirmed). Running from 22 March to 31 July, it casts new light on the master’s work, assembling works by Rodin as well as his contemporaries (Bourdelle, Claudel, Brancusi, Picasso etc.) from various collections. Meanwhile, the Musée Rodin has decided to celebrate the centenary by giving carte blanche to Anselm Kiefer. The resulting exhibition, Regards croisés (from 14 March), offers a striking reinterpretation of Rodin’s work by the renowned German contemporary artist.

Chefs-d’œuvre du Bridgestone Museum of Art de Tokyo

From 5 April, the Musée de l’Orangerie will take its place in the spotlight with Tokyo-Paris. Masterpieces from the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Collection Ishibashi Foundation. This exhibition showcases paintings by a variety of artists, both Western and Eastern, in styles ranging from Impressionist to abstract: Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock and Shiraga, among others.

Picasso will be back on the programme this year, with two new exhibitions opening in spring.

Exposition Olga Picasso - Musée  national Picasso

The Musée Picasso examines how the artist’s first wife, the dancer Olga Khokhlova, influenced his work with an exhibition titled Olga Picasso (from 21 March).

The Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac investigates the Spanish painter’s connections to non-Western art with the exhibition Picasso primitif (from 28 March).

The Petit Palais offers an overview of 18th-century French art with two simultaneous exhibitions.

Le Baroque des Lumières. Chefs-d’œuvre des églises parisiennes, opening on 21 March, displays the pictorial treasures in the collections of various churches in the French capital, while De Watteau à David, la collection Horvitz showcases 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures dating to the 18th century, drawn from the holdings of American collector Jeffrey Horvitz.

With spring around the corner, it’s no surprise that so many upcoming exhibitions have Nature-related themes.

Vue de la série Nine Discourses on Commodus Cy Twombly © Cy Twombly Foundation, Rome / FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa, 2016

From 15 March, the Jardins exhibition at the Grand Palais offers a sweeping overview of landscape painting from the Renaissance to our day, with works by a variety of artists including Dürer, David, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso and Magritte. From 16 March, the Musée du Luxembourg Sénat is hosting Pissarro à Éragny. L’anarchie et la nature, with works by the Impressionist master during his final years in a village in the Oise, not far from Paris.

The Musée d’Orsay is also hosting a nature-themed exhibition, though with a more mystical focus. Au-delà des étoiles. Le paysage mystique de Monet à Kandinsky gives visitors an introduction to depictions of Nature in paintings by Gauguin, Denis, Hodler, Klimt, Munch and Van Gogh, and Canadian painters like Tom Thomson and Emily Carr.

Does painting mirror the soul? ‘Your soul is a chosen landscape,’ the great French poet Paul Verlaine once wrote. Until 24 April, the Pompidou Centre is hosting a retrospective of Cy Twombly. The work of this unclassifiable American artist – explosions of colour, amorphous shapes, tangled skeins, scribblings and scratched-out lines – reflects a rich interior landscape.

In April, the Musée de la vie romantique will turn into an exquisite garden filled with lovely colours. The exhibition Pierre-Joseph Redouté et le goût des fleurs showcases the work of the most renowned botanical artist of all time. It’s an opportunity to admire the delicate watercolours painted by the man who was once described as ‘the Raphael of flowers’. You’ll marvel at their beauty.

Exhibitions in Paris take you on a journey into the world’s different cultures.

Exposition Dalida au Palais Galliera © DR

France has always been at the crossroads of manydifferent cultures. The Italian influence has been felt strongly ever since the arrival in the second half of the 19th century of many Italians who came to France in search of work. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Italian migration to France, the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration is the place to go: from 28 March, it is hosting an exhibition titled Ciao Italia ! Un siècle d’immigration italienne en France (1860-1960).

The Grand Palais is focusing on India, with a sparkling display of sumptuous jewellery from the Mughal period to our day. The exhibition Royale extravagance : joyaux indiens de la collection Al-Thani opens on 29 March. The Mona Bismarck American Center on the other hand will be exploring representations of African and African-American beauty with the exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture (from 9 March).

Fashion, too, is outward looking this season. In March, the Palais Galliera will inaugurate its Spanish season with an off-site exhibition titled Balenciaga : L’œuvre au noir at the Musée Bourdelle, which examines why the colour black is so predominant in the designer’s work. From 27 April, the museum puts the great singer Dalida centre stage. Born in Egypt into an Italian family, the singer, who was a superstar in France, died 30 years ago. The Palais Galliera is marking the anniversary of her death with an exhibition of some of her most beautiful outfits. A fashion icon, she was dressed by the greatest couturiers, among them Carven, Balmain and Yves Saint Laurent.

Art exhibitions are also focusing on far horizons in April.

The Musée Cernuschi will be hosting Lee Ungno (1904-1989), l’homme des foules, an exhibition (open until September) devoted to one of the greatest Asian painters of the 19th century. Korean-born Lee Ungno’s paintings were strongly influenced by calligraphy, and often feature men and crowds.

Having hosted a number of successful exhibitions, notably ‘David Bowie’, which drew 200,000 visitors, the Philharmonie de Paris is taking visitors off to the Caribbean to examine the multiple facets of Jamaican music, often associated solely with reggae. Jamaica Jamaica ! will open to visitors (music included!) from 4 April.

Movies and architecture are also on the exhibition calendar this spring. Indulge in a bout of nostalgia at the Cinémathèque française, which explores the connections between childhood and cinema at the exhibition Les Enfants du cinéma (from 29 March). La Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine for its part will be hosting L’architecte, portraits… et clichés from 21 April. This exhibition explores the architect’s trade – a subject most people know little about – from Antiquity to our day.

Photography

Musee Europeenne de la Photographie - Etage ancien © Alexis Allemand

April is a great month for photography fans, with a major event devoted entirely to this art: the Mois de la photo du Grand Paris. Originally launched in 1980, ‘photography month’ will take on a whole new dimension in 2017, with a new name, new dates and new spaces. It has been moved from November to April, and will now be held not just in Paris but throughout the Ile-de-France region. The programme features no fewer than 80 exhibitions in Greater Paris as well as a number of related events.

Another photography-related event to check out in April is the Auto Photo exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. It looks at the ways cars have been photographed over the years, displaying 400 works by photographers such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Ed Ruscha, Lee Friedlander and Jacqueline Hassink. And, from 26 April, the Pompidou Centre is hosting a retrospective of the great American documentary photographer Walker Evans.

Art events

Art Paris Art Fair 2016 © Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc

From 30 March to 2 April, aficionados will flock to spring’s big art event: Art Paris Art Fair. The four-day event will be held at the Grand Palais, with 140-odd galleries from 20 countries exhibiting. Africa is the theme of this year’s edition. Another very popular event is PAD Paris Art + Design at the Tuileries from 22 to 26 March. Contemporary art enthusiasts will also been keen to visit the Grand Marché d’art contemporain on Place de la Bastille from 27 April to 1 May.

To admire the work of emerging artists, head for the Salon de Montrouge: the 62nd edition is on from 27 April to 24 May at the Beffroi de Montrouge (92) cultural centre. Focusing on young artists, the event has become a must-see for art insiders. It provides a launching pad for promising artists. It was here that Felice Varini and Hervé Di Rosa were first spotted.

Another big art-related event in March is the Semaine du dessin, when many venues in Paris and Ile-de-France put the spotlight on drawing. Other not-to-miss events: the Salon du dessin at Palais Brongniart from 22 to 27 March, Drawing Now Paris, the contemporary drawing show, at the Carreau du Temple from 23 to 26 March, and DDESSINPARIS, to be held at Atelier Richelieu from 24 to 26 March.

Children

In April, there’s plenty to do in Paris with the kids during the school holidays.

Disney sur glace Olaf © DR

Step into the magical world of Disneyland® Paris which is celebrating its 25th anniversary from 26 March 2017. The festive programme includes new attractions ‘Star Tours the Adventure Continues’ and ‘Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain’, the Disney Stars on Parade with new floats and costumes, spectacular shows, the new sound and light ‘Disney Illuminations’, a grand anniversary ceremony orchestrated by Mickey in person, and lots more surprises!

From 4 to 9 April, Disney on Ice will be back at the Zénith Paris with La Reine des Neiges, an entrancing, enchanting show that will appeal to both children and adults.

If you’d like to take your kids on an unusual and poetic walk through Paris, don’t miss Troublantes Apparences, a series of puppet shows in the windows of many shops in the city. It’s an artistic and entertaining way to window shop, and free to watch from 20 to 22 April.

The focus is on children at Bercy Village during Kids, Let’s Play. This day-long festival features entertaining workshops and shows and even a party just for kids.
There’s no shortage of exhibitions to visit with your children. Two exhibitions on at the Palais de la découverte until 27 August will appeal to scientifically minded kids. Faites vos jeux ! Quand les maths s'en mêlent focuses on mathematics, while Viral. Du microbe au fou rire, tout s’attrape examines the theme of infections. Young history buffs can journey back in time to the Middle Ages at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, which is hosting an exhibition titled Quoi de neuf au Moyen Âge ? until 6 August.

Take your budding artists to the Petite Galerie at the Louvre. The arts and culture education section of the Louvre is celebrating its second season by inviting young visitors and their parents to look at representations of moving bodies in 70 artworks at an exhibition titled Corps en mouvement (until 3 July).

This year, Easter Sunday falls on 16 April, and there will be egg hunts for children in many different parts of the French capital. Bring your baskets!

For more information, see our ‘Easter in Paris’ section

Funfair

Foire du trone vue générale © DR

Springtime is funfair season, and children in Paris look forward in particular to the Foire du Trône, which will be back on the Pelouse de Reuilly from 31 March to 5 June. Considered the biggest fair in all of Europe, it has attractions galore, and plenty of surprises in store.

See also...

Fairs and trade shows

Mondial du tatouage concours © Anthony Dubois

March is the month when Paris’s two major literary events take place: the Printemps des Poètes, from 4 to 19 March, and the Paris Book Fair, now called Livre Paris, from 24 to 27 March. For shopping with an innovative twist, don’t miss the Foire de Paris from 29 April to 8 May. This is Europe’s biggest fair!

Then there’s the tattoo fair Mondial du Tatouage and the dance fair Le Salon de la Danse, Let’s Dance in March at the Grande Halle de la Villette. Also on the calendar this spring: the 100% organic show Vivre autrement at the Parc floral de Paris and the wine trade’s Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants at the Espace Champerret.

People with a sweet tooth will be tempted to visit the Salon Sugar Paris at the Parc floral (20 to 22 April) while, at the end of April, Musicora 2017 at the La Grande Halle de La Villette will boast France’s biggest display of musical instruments. Calling all vegans: VeggieWorld, the biggest vegan event in France, will be held at the 104 on 22 and 23 April.

Music and shows

The Australian Pink Floyd Show © DR

A number of big names will be playing concerts in Paris in March and April, with genres spanning metal, R’n’B and rock. Drake will be playing the AccorHotels Arena on 12 and 13 March. If French pop is more your style, you’ll have a hard time choosing between Kendji Girac, Christophe Mae, M Pokora and Julien Doré.

Avenged Sevenfold will have the crowds in a frenzy at AccorHotels Arena on 2 March, with KoRn taking over at the Zénith Paris on 20 March. German band Tokio Hotel will perform at the Olympia on 21 March. And cover band The Australian Pink Floyd Show will be putting on their tribute to Pink Floyd at the Palais des Congrès on 18 March.

Nostalgic for the 80s? You’ll be pleased to hear the musical Stars 80 - 10 Ans déjà ! will be back at the Zénith Paris from 13 to 15 April.

If you’re a figure skating fan, don’t miss ‘Time’, the new Holiday on Ice show (from 3 to 23 March).

The Opéra Bastille is paying homage to the choreographer George Balanchine from 9 to 29 March with a performance of ‘Songe d’une nuit d’été’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), the ballet he choreographed.

April will mark the inauguration of La Seine Musicale. This vast arts complex designed by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines on the Ile Seguin has both a 6,000-seater concert hall and an auditorium, which will host classical music, jazz and world music concerts as well as shows featuring a combination of music and videos. This exceptional venue also has artist-in-residence spaces and a 7,000m² garden.

Festivals

Festival Omnivore H.Sato © OWTParis Mickael Bandassak

Springtime in Paris is also a time for festivals, with themes ranging from music and art to food. The 12th edition of the Omnivore at the Maison de la Mutualité will get things rolling on 5, 6 and 7 March: three entire days devoted to young chefs with master classes, dinners, workshops and tasting sessions.

Fans of break dance and other acrobatic moves can also look forward to March: the final of the international hip-hop contest Juste Debout is slated for 5 March at AccorHotels Arena.

From 22 March to 9 April, the multi-disciplinary festival 100 %, mixing theatre, dance, circus arts, music and contemporary art, will be back at La Villette. And, to hear the music that’s hot right now, check out the 29th edition of the Chorus des Hauts-de-Seine festival, on in La Défense in April.

Cinema

From 19 to 21 March, film buffs will be at the movies full-time during the 17th Printemps du cinema. For three whole days, you can buy a ticket for any show of any movie at any cinema for just 4 euros!

History buffs can hark back to the splendour of Louis XIV’s reign with the musical fountain display Les Grandes Eaux Musicales at Versailles (From end of March)


Olivier Giraud "How to become a Parisian in one hour"

Show - comedy, one-man show
from 24 September 2016 to 02 September 2017
Théâtre des Nouveautés - 24 boulevard Poissonnière, Paris
Book

Olivier Giraud offers a show in English on the attitudes and idiosyncrasies of Parisians: mannerisms and habits that have given th...

Cy Twombly

Exhibition
from 30 November 2016 to 24 April 2017
Centre Pompidou - Place Georges Pompidou, Paris
Book

A major retrospective of one of the greatest American artists.

Picasso Primitif

Exhibition
from 28 March 2017 to 23 July 2017
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac - 37 quai Branly, Paris
Book

Dialogue between Pablo Picasso and the arts of Africa, Oceania, the Americas and Asia

Pavillon des arts et du design fair

Exhibition | Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 31 March 2017 to 03 April 2017
Jardin des Tuileries - Place de la Concorde, Paris

The event for decorative art admirers.

Art Paris art fair

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 30 March 2017 to 02 April 2017
Grand Palais - Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris

Art is the guest of honour at the Grand Palais.

Salon du dessin

Room
from 22 March 2017 to 27 March 2017
Palais Brongniart - 28 Place de la Bourse, Paris

This one-of-a-kind event in Paris unveils a wide selection of works on paper

Paris Marathon

Sport
from 09 April 2017 to 09 April 2017
Tout Paris - ., Paris

Every year nearly 50,000 runners are ready to start the Paris Marathon. Departure: Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

Romanès Cirque tzigane

Show - circus
From 22 October 2016
Cirque Romanès - Square Parodi - Boulevard de l'Amiral Bruix, Paris

Authentic tzigane circus, Romanès invites us into a festive and colourful world

Cirque Bouglione

Show - circus
October 2016 to march 2017
Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione - 110 rue Amelot, Paris

The Cirque Bouglione is back at the Cirque d’Hiver with a new show

Drawing now

Room
from 23 March 2016 to 26 March 2017
Le Carreau du Temple - 4 rue Eugène Spuller, Paris

Focus on contemporary drawing.

Cirque Bormann Moreno

Show - circus
from 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2016
Cirque Bormann Moreno - 1 place Skanderbeg, Paris

Every year this traditional and family circus, the Cirque Bormann Moreno, is popular with the public

Grand Marché d’art contemporain

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 27 April 2017 to 01 May 2017
Place de la Bastille - ., Paris

L’art contemporain donne chaque année rendez-vous aux amateurs d’art sur la place de la Bastille.

The Big Wheel at Place de la Concorde

Celebration
from 11 November 2016 to 15 May 2017
Place de la Concorde - ., Paris

Each year, as Christmas approaches, the Big Wheel is set up on the Place de la Concorde.

Dalida

Exhibition
from 27 April 2017 to 13 August 2017
Palais Galliera - Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris - 10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, Paris

The outfits of the star of French music are on show at the Palais Galliera

Salon de Montrouge

Exhibition | Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 04 May 2016 to 31 May 2016
Le Beffroi de Montrouge - 2 Place Emile Cresp, Montrouge

A look at the contemporary art scene of the future.

Paris Tattoo Convention

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 03 March 2017 to 05 March 2017
Grande Halle de La Villette - Parc de la Villette - 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris

The unmissable meeting point for the amateurs and professionals of the world of tattooing.

Musicora

Room
from 28 April 2017 to 30 April 2017

Jazz meets classical.

Le songe d'une nuit d'été, ballet de George Balanchine

Show - danse
from 09 March 2017 to 29 March 2017
Opéra National de Paris - Opéra Bastille - Place de la Bastille, Paris

From 9 to 29 March 2017, the Opéra Bastille welcomes 'Le songe d'une nuit d'été', the ballet by George Balanchine

Musical Fountains Show at the Palace of Versailles

Celebration | Show - miscellaneous
from 01 April 2017 to 29 October 2017
Château de Versailles Spectacles - Grille du Dragon - Pavillon des Roulettes, Versailles

A majestic walk in the gardens of the Sun King

Paris Half Marathon

Sport
from 05 March 2017 to 05 March 2017
Tout Paris - ., Paris

The 21.1km race will take participants on a course around the East of Paris

Saut Hermès

Sport
from 17 March 2017 to 19 March 2017
Nef du Grand Palais - Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris

The elite of show-jumping in the heart of Paris.

Six Nations Tournament

Sport
from 04 February 2017 to 18 March 2017
Stade de France - Consortium Stade de France - ZAC Cornillon Nord, Saint-Denis La Plaine

The top rugby-playing nations in Europe will fight it out in the eagerly awaited Six Nations Tournament.

Martial Arts Festival

Sport
from 25 March 2017 to 25 March 2017
AccorHotels Arena - 8 boulevard de Bercy, Paris

Martial arts show by more than 300 experts, masters and champions, all disciplines included

Olga Picasso

Exhibition
from 21 March 2017 to 03 September 2017
Musée national Picasso-Paris - Hôtel Salé - 5 rue de Thorigny, Paris

A new exploration of the painter’s private life.

Jardins (Gardens)

Exhibition
from 15 March 2017 to 24 July 2017
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais - 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris

A panorama of plants in art in France and in Europe from the Renaissance to the present day

Foire du Trône

Celebration
from 31 March 2017 to 28 May 2017
Pelouse de Reuilly - Bois de Vincennes, Paris

Some 350 attractions on more than 10 hectares of land at the Pelouse de Reuilly.

The Color Run Paris

Sport | Celebration
from 16 April 2017 to 16 April 2017
Tout Paris - ., Paris

The concept of The Color Run™ is unique: a colourful 5 km run through the streets of Paris

Foire de Paris

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 27 April 2017 to 08 May 2017
Paris expo Porte de Versailles - VIPARIS - 1 place de la Porte de Versailles, Paris

A showcase of culture and food from around the world, the fair is also an opportunity to celebrate innovation

Livre Paris

Room
from 24 March 2017 to 27 March 2017
Paris expo Porte de Versailles - VIPARIS - 1 place de la Porte de Versailles, Paris

Le rendez-vous des lecteurs

International Agricultural Show

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 25 February 2017 to 05 March 2017
Paris expo Porte de Versailles - VIPARIS - 1 place de la Porte de Versailles, Paris

This unmissable event showcases livestock, terroir products and regional gastronomy.

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