Springtime returns to Paris in March and April, bringing a wealth of events in its wake. There will be new exhibitions, activities for children and large-scale popular events. Here is our list of not-to-miss events!
From 4 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 for the Fitbit Paris half-marathon. Nearly 40,000 people gather in the French capital to run the 21.1 km marathon. On 15 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 42th edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, one of the world’s top races, taking place on the 8th. 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 5 to 7 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 ?
Mark your calendars: 16, 17 and 18 March are the dates for the 9th 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.
And if you like horse jumping events, don't miss the Paris Horse Jumping and Dressage finals at the AccorHotels Arena (from 11 to 15 April), the best riders in the world will be there.
Rugby, martial arts, vintage car fans
On 23 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. This year, Italian brands are honoured, the opportunity to go back in time to classic models Autobianchi, De Tomaso or Osca.
In March/April, new exhibitions take place in art and history heritage venues in Paris.
At the Palais Galliera, spring is celebrated with elegance! On 3 March, the fashion museum inaugurates an exceptional retrospective dedicated to the designer Martin Margiela, a central and singular figure of the 20th century, adept at sobriety and deconstruction.
Over at the Musée Jacquemart-André (from 9 March to 23 July), the long-awaited retrospectiveMary Cassatt: an American in Paris brings together collections from the most prestigious American and French museums for a unique tribute.
At the Grand Palais, don't miss the exhibition dedicated to František Kupka, one of the pioneers of abstractart (from 18 March to 30 July).
The 80th anniversary of the creation of Guernicais being celebrated at the Musée Picasso, in an exhibition about this major work by Picasso (from 27 March to 29 July).
At the Centre Pompidou, the exhibition Chagall - Malévitch - El Lissitzky, l’Avant-Garde Russe à Vitebsk features more than 200 works from all around the world illustrating the beginning of modernity (from 28 March to 16 July).
While at the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, the exhibition Ghosts and Hells explores the underworld in Asian art – its spirits and infatuation with terror (from 10 April).
At the Musée d’Orsay, the focus is on Eastern Europe. The exhibition, Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Art of the Baltic States, provides an insight into the elements and influences including popular culture and folklegends that have led to an art of great originality (from 10 April).
Plus ... the Musée Maillol focuses on the 30s with the exhibition Foujita, Les Années Folles 1913-1931 (from 7 March), the Louvre Museum opens the new cultural season with two not-to-miss shows: France Viewed from the Grand Siècle. Drawings by Israël Silvestre (1621–1691) (from 14 March to 25 June) and Delacroix (from 28 March to 23 July), whilst machines take control at the Grand Palais with Robots and Artists (from 2 April). Movement is beautified at the Musée Rodin through Rodin and Dance (from 6 April), and tribute is payed to Japanese architect Junya Ishigami at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain (from spring).
From 5 to 8 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. Europe is the theme of this year’s edition. Another very popular event is PAD Paris Art + Design at the Tuileries from 21 to 25 March. Contemporary art enthusiasts will also been keen to visit the Grand Marché d’art contemporain on Place de la Bastille from the end of April.
From 16 March to 5 May, Centquatre will be holding the 8th edition of Circulation(s), a festival devoted to young contemporary photographers. The programme features exhibitions, round table discussions, screenings and more – not least a photo studio (over the weekend) where you can have your portrait taken by a professional photographer.
To admire the work of emerging artists, head for the Salon de Montrouge: the 63rd edition is on from 28 April to 23 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 21 to 26 March, Drawing Now Paris, the contemporary drawing show, at the Carreau du Temple from 22 to 25 March, and DDESSINPARIS, to be held at Atelier Richelieu from 23 to 25 March.
In April, there’s plenty to do in Paris with the kids during the school holidays.
Step into the wonderful world of Disney, which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the creation of its animated movies. The programme of festivities includes: Tale as Old as Time, a special movie-concert to celebrate the heroes of our childhood, at the Grand Rex (10 March).
Until 25 March, the Disneyland Paris Park offers intergalactic excitement with the Season of the Force, a must for any true Jedi, young or old.
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 are plenty of exhibitions to choose from. The Semaine du Cerveau at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, explores the latest advances in scientific research on the brain (from 13-18 March)! Then the exhibition Fires (from April 3) looks at how man masters fire and its importance for humanity.
This year, Easter Sunday falls on 1st 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, fairs and trade shows
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 30 March to 27 May. Considered the biggest fair in all of Europe, it has attractions galore, and plenty of surprises in store.
For shopping with an innovative twist, don’t miss the Foire de Paris from 27 April to 8 May. This is Europe’s biggest fair!
Music and shows
A number of big names will be playing concerts in Paris in March and April! Rock, electronic music, classical orchestras ... There is something for everyone! Harry Styles is playing at the AccorHotels Arena (13 March), as well as 30 seconds to March (14 March), Arcade Fire (28 April) and Sam Smith (30 April.)
The Opéra Bastille features the composer Hector Berlioz with the 2-act opera Benvenuto Cellini (from 17 March to 14 April).
Springtime in Paris is also a time for festivals, with themes ranging from music and art to food. The 13th edition of the Omnivore at the Maison de la Mutualité will get things rolling in March: three entire days devoted to young chefs with master classes, dinners, workshops and tasting sessions.
In March, movie goers can take advantage of a new edition of the Printemps du cinéma to see a film: for three whole days, you can buy a ticket for any show of any movie at any cinema for just 4 euros!
From 1st March to 30 April, the multi-disciplinary festival 100 %, mixing theatre, dance, circus arts, music and contemporary art, will be back at La Villette.
Relive the heyday of the reign of Louis XIV with the Musical Fountains Show at Versailles (31 March - 28 October) and the Musical Gardens Show (27 March - 15 May).
And for those who like a ‘head’ on their beer, the Planète Bière Paris is back for a new edition at the Cité de la Mode et du Design (25 and 26 March).