With its myriad museums, theatres, exhibition spaces and sports venues, it can be hard to decide what you want to do in Paris – and for autumn 2017 the listings are positively bursting with new attractions!
To help narrow down your search, we’ve picked out the best of this autumn’s cultural crop for you to mark in your diary.
Anniversaries are the hallmark of the 2017 autumn season, starting with one relating to the most Parisian name of them all: Dior. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs kicked off the celebrations starting this summer with a fantastic retrospective displaying the stuff of dreams – fashion and luxury — and retracing 70 years of Dior designs, with 300 dresses from the famed haute couture brand. For the 80th birthday of David Hockney, the Pompidou Centre invites visitors to plunge into one of the British painter and photographer’s famous swimming pools – a most refreshing artistic (re)discovery.
The Grand Palais, meanwhile, is celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of Irving Penn, with a must-see exhibition devoted to the career of one of the 20th century’s most famous photographers, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is not the only emblematic New York City museum to be represented in Paris this autumn: the MoMa will take over the Fondation Louis Vuitton with a brilliant exhibition of American modern art.
As to shows, Paris offers a particularly eclectic selection of events. There will be a much-awaited performance of Don Carlos, a Verdi opera, at the Opéra Bastille from 10 October to 11 November 2017. This 4hr30 tragedy will be surtitled in both English and French. At the Palais Garnier, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart takes top billing with the evergreen Così fan tutte.
A number of great musicals will also have Paris audiences singing along from September onwards: West Side Story at La Seine Musicale; Grease at the Théâtre Mogador; The Addams Family straight from Broadway at the Palace and, for fans of the hippie movement, Welcome to Woodstock at the Comedia.
This year, as usual, there is something for all ages and all tastes!
Music fans should head straight to the city’s concert venues. Paris has a huge number of them, each one showcasing its preferred musical genre. For classical and contemporary music fans, there’s the Philharmonie de Paris and the plethoric concert programme of the Orchestre de Paris. For pop-rock fans there’s the AccorHotels Arena, where the likes of Lady Gaga, Metallica, Ennio Morricone and Justice will be playing concerts. And for a laid-back vibe, head to the Olympia to listen to Diana Krall, or the Zénith de Paris for a performance by the enchanting duo Angus & Julia Stone.
Like summertime, autumn in Paris offers rich pickings when it comes to festivals. The Festival d’automne is probably the most eclectic of them all: featuring dance, cinema and theatre, it offers a range of diverse and high-quality events in 47 different venues in the capital and around. Night owls can enjoy two fantastic events this autumn: Summer House and MaMa Festival. And for fans of jazz, swing and indiemusic, there are two not-to-miss festivals: Jazz à La Villette and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
A trip to Paris is a great opportunity to visit an internationally renowned trade show or fair. The FIAC is the top Paris event for contemporary art aficionados. As to pop culture, the third edition of Comic Con will be packed with surprises and superheroes. And no gourmet could possibly miss the Salon du chocolat.
Autumn is a good time to explore some of the more unusual places in Paris, during the Heritage Days. These places – usually off-limits to the public – open their doors to visitors for that one weekend. Unusual is also the best word to sum up the installations you can admire along the contemporary art trail set up each year on the occasion of the Nuit Blanche. Music fans can join a procession unlike any other: the Techno Parade winds its way through Paris every year in mid-September. And when you’ve had your fill of all those events, go along to the Fête des Vendanges to sample the one and only made-in-Montmartre wine.
Sports fans can look forward to a number of international events. The 39th edition of the 20 km de Paris attracts more than 25,000 runners every year. The Rolex Paris Masters is a major tennis tournament held in the Accorhotels Arena, which also hosts the France International Gymnastics event. And for horse racing fans, the Chantilly racecourse has organized the renowned event now known as Qatar, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for nearly a century.
With the family
There is no lack of things for kids to do in Paris. For an enjoyable day out with the family, head to the Fête au Bois de Boulogne: a lively, longstanding fairground favourite that takes places each year. Can’t think what to do with your youngsters? Then take them to Kidexpo, the show all families love. If they enjoy thrills and chills, the Halloween Disney festival at Parc Disneyland® Paris features all the most famous baddies from 1 October onwards.