What to do in Paris in February

In February, Paris has any number of things for couples to do: exhibitions, concerts, shows, fairs and more

Saint-Valentin pigeons romance tour Eiffel © Fabrizio Verrecchi via Unsplash

In the depths of winter, as the mercury drops sharply in the French capital, lovers’ hearts are ablaze on 14 February, Valentine’s Day.

Throughout the month, Paris  has any number of things for couples to do: exhibitions, concerts, shows, fairs and more. Take your pick!

 More info on Romantic Paris

Music

Orchestre classique avec violonistes © Larisa Birta via Unsplash

Fall under the spell of Paris’s classical music programme starting with ‘Debussy liberated’ at the auditorium of the Musée d’Orsay on 1 February. These nine concerts enable you to (re) discover his Impressionist repertoire, with its elements of freedom and nonconformity.

For a romantic evening, an outing to the Palais Garnier is one of life’s must-dos. The setting is impressive with magnificent Napoleonic-style decor, crystal chandeliers, majestic stairs ...  On 14 February, love is in the air at the Philharmonie de Paris with a recital by Diana Damrau and Jonas Kaufmann, inspired by Tuscan and Venetian popular poetry.

Exhibitions

Malick Sidibé, Mali twist - Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain © DR

February is the perfect month to get a culture fix while staying nice and warm indoors. Several of the exhibitions in town are well worth a visit this month.

For the 2018 cultural season, the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is staging the exhibition Peinture des Lointains (Paintings from Afar). It is the first exhibition devoted to the Museum's private collection. Some 200 hitherto unseen paintings and graphic works will be revealed to the public (until 28 October).

Holland comes to the Petit Palais with the exhibition Dutch artists in Paris, Van Gogh – Van Dongen – Mondrian. The show highlights more than a century of influences and artistic exchanges (until 13 May).

The Centre Pompidou opens the year with colourful and monumental installations by the American artist Sheila Hicks, a pioneer of textile art (until 30 April).

The Centre Pompidou is staging the first French retrospective of the work of South-African photographer David Goldblatt, a leading documentary photographer (until 7 May).

Back to the art of the 19th century, at the Musée Marmottan Monet which presents the exhibition Corot, Peindre La Figure Humaine focussing on the painter and his models, another aspect of this pioneer of landscapepainting (from 8 February).

The Musée de Montmartre reveals the beginnings of Cubism and Fauvism, with a not-to-miss retrospective on Van Dongen and the Bâteau-lavoir (from 16 February to 28 August).

Finally, it is ‘direction Mali’ at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, an essential stop to get into the rhythm of Malick Sidibé, Mali Twist (until 25 February).

Last chance to see

Exposition Picasso 1932 © DR Pablo Picasso

In February there’s still time to catch up with some of the top 2017 exhibitions, after which it will be too late.

Picasso 1932, année érotique - Musée Picasso (until 11 February)

Dada Africa - Musée de l’Orangerie (until 19 February)

Degas Danse Dessin. A tribute to Degas with Paul Valéry - Musée d’Orsay (until 25 February)

Being Modern: MoMA in Paris - Fondation Louis-Vuitton (until 5 March)

See also…

Fairs, festivities and festivals

Nouvel an chinois - Masques tribaux © Tangi Bertin via Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese New Year falls on 16 February, and 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. The programme will include the spectacular dragon parade as well as many shows and events.

February is also carnival month. Head for Place Gambetta on 11 February to enjoy the Carnaval de Paris. This colourful costume parade complete with floats provides a welcome touch of gaiety and warmth to those cold, grey winter days!

As the new year unfolds, the Maison de la Radio will be filled with the music of our time at Présences, Radio France’s festival honouring young musical composers. The 28th edition of the festival will take place from 6 to 11 February.

For something completely different, visit France’s biggest agricultural show. This year’s Salon international de l’agriculture will be held from 24 February to 4 March.

Meanwhile, vintage car enthusiasts will be flocking to Rétromobile, the international classic car show, from 7 to 11 February.

The exhibition Concept Cars, the ‘Fashion Week’ of automobile design is back on 1 February at the Hôtel National des Invalides, a must-see event with world leaders of design.

Shows

Onéguine - Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris © Julien Benhamou - Opéra national de Paris

Parisians enjoy singing and listening to songs and, in February, there are three big musicals to look forward to:

Bodyguard at the Palais des Sports (from 2 February)

Les Choristes at the Folies Bergère (until 11 February)

Priscilla, folle du désert (the French version of ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’) at the Casino de Paris (from 8 February)

Swan Lake will be performed at the Seine Musicale (on 10 and 11 February) and then at the Palais des Congrès de Paris (from 14 to 18 February).

Opera fans should note that two masterpieces are being performed in February – ‘La Traviata’ (until 28 February) and ‘Le Barbier de Séville’ (until 16 February) at the Opéra Bastille.

Concerts

Lady Gaga, Paris © Lady Gaga

Music fans have a strong line-up of big-name concerts to choose from this month: Lady Gaga at AccorHotels Arena (20 February), Seal at the Seine Musicale (28 February), The Dropkick Murphys (16 and 17 February) at the Zenith...

Sports

Rugby fans, mark your calendars: February marks the kick-off of the legendary 6 Nations Tournament 2018. Head to the Stade de France on 3 February for the France - Irelandgame.

Tussles on tatami mats are also on the cards at this time, as judo fans flock to the AccorHotels Arena on 10 and 11 February for Paris Grand Slam, featuring the top judokas.

Finally, the best handball players will be at the AccorHotels Arena for the Hand Star Game (3 February), an exceptional event!

Children

Children in Ile-de-France look forward to February, because they have a two-week break from school. If you’re wondering how to keep them entertained, don’t worry: there’s no shortage of ideas for things to do in Paris and around!

There is the exhibition Once Upon a Time... Science in Fairytales (until 18 November) and Special effects Steal the Scene! (until 19 August) at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, as well as Meteorites: Between Sky and Earth, at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle (until 10 June).

And why not take them to see a show with dancing? The sleeping beauty, Belle, dreams in an enchanting dance performance at the Amphithéâtre Bastille (from 7 to 12 February) and the Théâtre Mogador welcomes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the musical (from 17 February to 6 May).

For circus fans, there is the new show Exploit at the Cirque d’hiver Bouglione (until 26 February). Contemporary circus arts are on the programme at the CNAC 2018 event (until 11 February), with many shows for children as young as two years old.

International Agricultural Show

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 24 February 2018 to 04 March 2018
Paris expo Porte de Versailles - VIPARIS - 1 place de la Porte de Versailles, Paris

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

Six Nations Tournament

Sport
from 03 February 2018 to 17 March 2018
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.

Cirque Bouglione

Show - circus
from 14 October 2017 to 11 March 2018
Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione - 110 rue Amelot, Paris

The Cirque Bouglione is back at the Cirque d’Hiver with its new show 'Exploit'

Chinese New Year in Paris 2018

Celebration
from 16 February 2018 to 16 February 2018
Tout Paris - Paris, Paris

Paris celebrates this traditional Chinese festival with parades, fireworks and spectacular dragon and lion dances in the city's Ch...

Paris Carnival

Celebration | Festival
from 11 February 2018 to 11 February 2018
Tout Paris - Paris, Paris

Le Carnaval de Paris known as Saint-Fargeau, a festive and costumed parade through the streets of Paris.

Picasso 1932

Exhibition
from 10 October 2017 to 11 February 2018
Musée national Picasso-Paris - Hôtel Salé - 5 rue de Thorigny, Paris

More than one hundred of Picasso’s works are presented in this exhibition, including one of his greatest masterpieces, The Dream.

Being Modern: MoMA in Paris

Exhibition
from 11 October 2017 to 05 March 2018
Fondation Louis Vuitton - 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris
Book

The Fondation Louis Vuitton presents an exceptional exhibition on the occasion of its collaboration with MoMA

Rétromobile

Trade fair, trade show
from 07 February 2018 to 11 February 2018
Paris expo Porte de Versailles - VIPARIS - 1 place de la Porte de Versailles, Paris

Exceptional collections.

Bodyguard, le musical

Musical theatre, musical
from 02 February 2018 to 04 March 2018
Dôme de Paris - Palais des Sports - 34 boulevard Victor, Paris

Bodyguard, rendu célèbre à l'écran par Kevin Costner et Whitney Houston, arrive en février 2018 sur la scène du Palais des Sports

La Traviata

Opéra
from 02 February 2018 to 28 February 2018
Opéra National de Paris - Opéra Bastille - Place de la Bastille, Paris

Verdi’s masterpiece in a new production at the Opera Bastille

The Barber of Seville

Opéra
from 24 January 2018 to 16 February 2018
Opéra National de Paris - Opéra Bastille - Place de la Bastille, Paris

Damiano Michieletto gives fresh sparkle to Rossini’s masterpiece

Judo : Paris Grand Slam

Sport
from 10 February 2018 to 11 February 2018
AccorHotels Arena - 8 boulevard de Bercy, Paris

See the greatest judokas in tremendous combats

Hand Star Game

Sport
Le 3 février 2018
AccorHotels Arena - 8 boulevard de Bercy, Paris

A new edition of Hand Star Game at the AccorHotels Arena

Once upon a Time… Science in Fairy Tales

Exhibition
from 03 October 2017 to 18 November 2018
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie - 30 avenue Corentin Cariou, Paris

The science of fairy tales at the Cité des Sciences

Meteorites: Between Sky and Earth

Exhibition
from 18 October 2017 to 10 June 2018
Le Jardin des Plantes - Muséum national d 'Histoire naturelle - Rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Paris

The natural history museum looks skyward