And that’s not all: there’s more than a hint of summer in the French capital’s events calendar. With the return of sunshine and milder temperatures, Paris will be playing host to numerous open-air events, including the French Open (at Roland Garros), the European Night of Museums and the Fête de la Musique. There’s something for everyone!
Gastronomy takes centre stage this season, with some delicious events in store. May is a month to savour with the week-long event Les Heures Heureuses, when foodie walks are organized throughout the city. It’s the ideal way to explore Paris neighbourhoods while sampling all manner of tasty delights. Ménilmontant in the 20th arrondissement, Clichy-Batignolles in the 17th, the Marais (3rd and 4th): don’t hesitate to join these gourmet walks, which offer a fantastic opportunity to sample a tasting menu featuring all the flavours of Paris. More than 280 restaurants will be creating bite-size delights for visitors to taste, for only 2 euros. If you’re a food lover, you’ll be in seventh heaven.
Another not-to-miss foodie event is the food fair Taste of Paris, which sets up its stall in the nave of the Grand Palais from 18 to 21 May. There will be a host of tasting sessions, chats with chefs and culinary events to enjoy.
May and June have more than their fair share of interesting exhibitions.
The headline event of the season is undoubtedly Derain, Balthus, Giacometti at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (from 2 June). Featuring no fewer than 200 paintings by these three leading figures of 20th century art, this exhibition explores their friendship and the many ways their art intersected.
In mid-June, the Musée d’Orsay is putting on an exhibition titled Portraits de Cézanne. Although he gained worldwide renown with his landscape paintings, notably his Mont Saint-Victoire series, Paul Cézanne also tried his hand at portraiture. It is this lesser-known aspect of his oeuvre that is the focus of this exhibition, which sheds new light on the work of the precursor of modern art.
In the latter part of June, the Pompidou Centre will pay tribute to the great British painter David Hockney, who turns 80 this year. He is known for his eclectic and highly original work. The David Hockney retrospective (title to be confirmed) displays 160 of his artworks: paintings, photomontage, videos and iPad art.
In late spring, Paris museums will set their sights on far horizons. Can’t take time off to do some travelling? Then indulge your wanderlust by visiting these exhibitions. In late May, at the Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, set sail for Oceania and drop anchor in New Zealand with La Pierre sacrée des Maoris. This exhibition is all about jade. Reputed to have magical properties, the stone is an integral part of the culture of New Zealand.
While at the Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, you can hop from one continent to another and head for Africa, the ‘cradle of humanity’, by browsing the L’Afrique des routes exhibition (open until November). Another Africa-themed exhibition, Chefs-d’œuvre d’Afrique, is on at the Musée Dapper until 17 June. These shows pay a fitting tribute to Africa Day on 25 May.
The Palais Galliera has selected the Maison de Victor-Hugo as the stage for the second instalment of its off-site ‘Spanish season’ event. The museum will spotlight the writer’s love for the Iberian Peninsula by hosting Habits aux couleurs de l’Espagne from 21 June to 24 September: an exhibition displaying a superb collection of traditional Spanish costumes.
The Cinémathèque française is proposing to take visitors on a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun. L’Écran japonais : 60 ans de découvertes displays a selection of objects related to Japanese cinema, with screenings of Japanese films until 25 June.
Art, past and present
The painter Maurice Denis made no secret of his admiration for Eugène Delacroix. The Musée Eugène-Delacroix explores the relations between the two artists and examines the Romantic painter’s influence on the work of Maurice Denis at an exhibition titled Maurice Denis et Eugène Delacroix : de l’atelier au musée, which runs from May to August.
Starting in May and all the way to November, the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris will be decking itself out in finery with the exhibition Medusa, bijoux et tabous, which displays 300 precious pieces by artists, designers and jewellers such as Man Ray, Dali, Picasso and René Lalique.
On 23 June, La Maison rouge will be inaugurating an exhibition titled Hélène Delprat : I did it my way. Hélène Delprat is a versatile artist who draws inspiration from a number of sources – literature, cinema, the radio and the internet. She blends documentary and fiction in her art and works in a variety of media, including photography, video, drawing and painting.
The late spring calendar includes photography and design shows. In June, the Jeu de Paume is inaugurating two exhibitions: one devoted to the great 1950s Dutch documentary photographer Ed Van der Elsken and the other to the work of Tunisian-born contemporary artist Ismaïl Bahri.
On the design front, the Galerie Azzedine Alaïa is putting the spotlight on Marc Newson. The Australian designer became internationally famous after creating his iconic ‘Lockheed Lounge’, an aluminium daybed that sold for a record price of 3 million euros in 2015.
Ice Hockey Word Championship
Sports fans will be spoilt for choice in May! The 81st edition of the ice hockey world championship kicks off on 5 May, with 64 matches to be played (including some at AccorHotels Arena) by 16 countries attempting to wrest victory from the 2016 champion, Canada.
French Tennis Open at Roland Garros
Tennis then takes centre stage avec Roland Garros featuring the world’s top tennis players and due to start on 22 May to 11 June at Porte d’Auteuil. Last year, Serbian player Novak Djokovic finally won his first French Open title. Will he manage it again this year? Wait and see!
On 27 May, see out the month in style by heading to the Stade de France for the French Cup football final 2017. After its two back-to-back wins, Paris Saint-Germain is the team to beat at this 100th edition. And once that’s over, keep on cheering at the football-focused Paris Football Week from 23 to 25 June at the legendary Stade Charléty. The programme includes matches, live events, shows, parties and much more.
June is also a great month for sport, starting with the keenly awaited Rugby Top 14 Final at the Stade de France on Sunday 4 June to decide the top French club of the season.
Also on the sporting calendar: the legendary Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, with 23 obstacles to be cleared, on 20 and 21 May at the Auteuil racecourse. And of course the Prix du Jockey Club will be back at the Chantilly racecourse (60) on 4 June, followed on 18 June by the Prix de Diane Longines, France’s very own high society horse-racing event.
Golf: Open de France
The 101st edition of the Open de France golf tournament will be back on the green at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (78) from 29 June to 2 July.
Celebrations and festivals
May festivals in Paris
Not to be missed event : the European Night of Museums
The first festival scheduled during these two months is the European Night of Museums on 20 May - a one-off opportunity to enjoy specially created afterhours events in a hundred-odd museums across the Ile-de-France region.
Outdoors, jazz, free concerts, theatre festival...
In May and June, some heavy-duty festivals take centre stage. From 23 to 28 May the 12th edition of Villette Sonique, the talent-unearthing festival, will be on at Parc de la Villette. Then it’s time for the sustainable We Love Green festival, with its forest setting, the Bois de Vincennes.
As for jazz, Paris will be hosting two not-to-miss events: the 17th edition of the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival on the Left Bank from 11 to 22 May and, in June, the Paris Jazz Festival at the Parc Floral.
May is the time when Paris kiosks and gardens host a number of free concerts.
The Jardin Shakespeare goes one step further and hosts a theatre festival amid the greenery from early May to end-September (dates to be confirmed). In mid-May the quays of the Canal Saint-Martin and the surrounding area come to life with Printemps des Rues and its array of free performances: theatre, music, puppet shows, circus acts and dance…
June festivals in Paris
Not to be missed event : Fête de la Musique
The other major event at this time of year is the Fête de la Musique on 21 June, which heralds the start of summer. Besides big-name concerts in top Paris venues, amateur musicians of every stripe come out and perform. So, on the longest day of the year, there’s music in the air, with free concerts and street performers on every street.
Pianos, techno, rock
For garden lovers, Rendez-vous aux Jardins from 3 to 5 June provides an opportunity to get back to nature, with thousands of parks and gardens open to the public. The highly original arts project Play Me, I’m Yours will return to Paris in June (date to be confirmed). During the event, pianos are installed on streets and in public spaces around the city for anyone to play and enjoy.
In June The Weather Festival will also be back in 2017 : this techno festival is very popular with clubbers.
Meanwhile, rock fans will be glad to hear that Britain’s Download Festival will be taking place for the second year in a row from 9 to 11 June in Brétigny-sur-Orge (91). Expect quite a few big names: Linkin Park, Green Day and System Of A Down.
In June, a number of other festivals take place in various parts of Paris proper as well as the Ile-de-France region, including Onze Bouge (11th), LaPlage de Glazart (19th), Mini Opéra Côté Cour at Bercy Village (12th), Et 20 l'été (20th) and La Défense Jazz festival (92).
Fairs and trade shows in Paris
Design enthusiasts will be making their way this month to D’Days, from 2 to 14 May. Various venues throughout the French capital host design-related events – exhibitions, workshops, discussions and so on – over this 12-day period.
Arts and crafts are in the spotlight in late spring at the Révélations event (3 to 8 May), organized in alternate years with Monumenta at the Grand Palais. During this show, more than 400 art and craft artisans exhibit their work to the general public.
Food lovers are also in for a treat in May, with the food fair Taste of Paris setting up its stall in the nave of the Grand Palais from 18 to 21 May. There will be a host of tasting sessions, chats with chefs and culinary events to enjoy.
Survey the skies of the future at the Parc des expositions de Paris-Le Bourget (93) during the Salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace (SIAE). Following the trade-only days, the world’s biggest air and space show will open to the general public from 23 to 25 June. It’s an opportunity to examine a wide range of aircraft, get up to speed with technological innovations in the field, attend discussions and watch spectacular aerial shows.
In May, everyone can go to the opera. The 11th edition of the Tous à l’opéra event on 6 and 7 May aims to broaden the appeal of opera by making it free to attend any performance at any of the participating venues throughout the weekend.
And from June to September (dates to be confirmed), during the ‘Opéra en plein air’ event, a great opera from the classical repertoire is staged in open-air settings at prestigious sites throughout France. Meanwhile, the Palais Garnier will be staging Rossini’s ‘La Cenerentola’ from 10 June.
There are also plenty of concerts on the programme and you’ll have a hard time deciding. Classical music fans will be pleased to hear that the virtuoso pianist Lang Lang is scheduled to perform at the Philharmonie de Paris on 3 May. The children’s band Kids United, a favourite with schoolkids, will be onstage at the Zénith Paris on 21 May. The young Canadian pop sensation Shawn Mendes, who was discovered through Twitter’s video app Vine, will play a concert at AccorHotels Arena on 24 May. The legendary Beach Boys will be making a comeback at the Olympia on 1 June, followed by Hans Zimmer (11 June) and Phil Collins (18 to 23 June) at AccorHotels Arena.
The Fête du Cinéma in late June is a chance to see films on a budget, as tickets cost only €4.
In early June, Pestacles will be back at Parc Floral de Paris in the Bois de Vincennes, with a line-up of exciting events for kids: concerts, shows, circus acts and more. And, as family outings go, it’s hard to beat the Fête des Tuileries in late June – a funfair made up of 60-odd attractions in the very heart of Paris.
Bargain hunters take note: the summer sales will get underway on 28 June. Expect reductions of up to 70% for six whole weeks. Everything must go!