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 Harmonie Mutuelle Semi de Paris, a half-marathon. Nearly 40,000 people gather in the French capital to run the 21.1 km marathon. On 14 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, on 14 April with the 43th edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, one of the world’s top races, taking place on the 8th. Drawing nearly 55,000 participants in 2018, it is run over a 42-km stretch through some of the top Paris sights, including the Champs-Élysées, Concorde and the Eiffel Tower. In mid-April, the multi-coloured Color Run is back (date to be confirmed). Participants run through Paris from the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) to Trocadéro.
Runners of all levels have their very own trade show, the Salon du Running, from 11 to 13 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: 22, 23 and 24 March are the dates for the 10th 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.
Football, martial arts, vintage car fans
On 29 April, vintage car fans will flock to the nave of the Grand Palais to admire the vehicles chosen to take part in the 28th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 before they hit the road. This year, British brands are honoured, the opportunity to go back in time to classic models Frazer-Nash, Fairthorpe or Jowett.
Wind up the month of April by watching some great football: head to the Stade de France for the final of the 2019 French Cup (on 27 April).
In March/April, new exhibitions take place in art and history heritage venues in Paris.
From 23 March, the Villette will be hosting an absolutely amazing exhibition devoted to the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and the fabulous treasure discovered in his tomb in 1922.
Géricault, Manet, Cézanne and Matisse were among the great names of modern painting whose work sometimes featured black subjects. An exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay titled Le modèle noir de Géricault à Matisse (Black Models: from Géricault to Matisse), on from 26 March to 21 July, examines the dialogue between the artists and their models from a historical perspective, going from the abolition of slavery to the present day.
Bright, flat colours, rounded contours and simplified patterns are among the aesthetic markers of the decorative and ornamental art produced by the Nabis, a group of artists working during the late 19th century. Their exquisite paintings can be admired at the Musée du Luxembourg from 13 March to 30 June.
March and April mark the opening of two new exhibitions at the Grand Palais. Rouge, l’art au pays des Soviets (Red: Art in the Land of the Soviets), on from 20 March to 1 July, focuses on the contribution of artists to Communist propaganda in Russia during and after the October 1917 Revolution, while La Lune, du voyage réel au voyage imaginaire (The Moon: A Real and Imaginary Journey), on from 3 April to 22 July, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Man’s first steps on the Moon with a display of artworks featuring this celestial body.
And, for electronic music fans, the Philharmonie de Paris is putting on an exhibition set to the pulsating rhythms of music by Laurent Garnier: Rêve électro, de Kraftwerk à Daft Punk (Electro Dream: from Kraftwerk to Daft Punk) from 9 April to 11 August.
From 4 to 7 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 3 to 7 April.
From 20 April to 19 July, 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 64rd edition is on from 27 April to 22 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 27 March to 1 April, Drawing Now Paris, the contemporary drawing show, at the Carreau du Temple from 28 to 31 March.
In April, there’s plenty to do in Paris with the kids during the school holidays.
Until 17 March, Disneyland® Paris will be dabbling in the dark side of the force. Legends of the Force: A Star Wars Celebration is an event no aspiring Jedi, big or small, will want to miss!
The focus is on children at Bercy Village during Kids, Let’s Play (date to be confirmed). This day-long festival features entertaining workshops and shows and even a party just for kids.
On the exhibition front, Corps et sport (Sport and the Body) at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie demonstrates all kinds of weird and wonderful facts about the human body in movement (until 5 January 2020).
Are you a fan of figure skating? Check out the new Holiday on Ice show at the Palais de Sports (from 28 February to 5 March).
This year, Easter Sunday falls on 21 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 (date to be confirmed), which will be back on the Pelouse de Reuilly. Considered the biggest fair in all of Europe, it has attractions galore, and plenty of surprises in store.
March is also carnival month. Mark your calendars: the Carnaval de Paris takes place on Place Gambetta on 3 March. This joyful parade of floats and people wearing colourful costumes adds warmth and sparkle to a chilly winter’s day!
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!
Also on the calendar this spring: the 100% organic show Vivre autrement at the Parc floral de Paris (from 15 to 18 March) and the Destinations Nature show at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (from 14 to 17 March).
Music and shows
A number of big names will be playing concerts in Paris in March and April! Pop, electronic music, classical music... There is something for everyone! Niki Minaj is playing at the AccorHotels Arena (7 March), as well as Shawn Mendes (19 March) and Eros Ramazzotti (28 March).
The Philharmonie de Paris will shine a spotlight on the iconic Star Wars saga at a cinema/concert event – a screening of Return of the Jedi on 2 March. The Opéra Bastille, meanwhile, will be staging a modern take on Bizet’s legendary opera Carmen (from 11 April to 23 May). And La Seine Musicale will present one of the greatest ballets of all time, Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake), from 16 to 31 March.
Springtime in Paris is also a time for festivals, with themes ranging from music and art to food.
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 17 to 19 March)!
From 28 to 31 Marchl, 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 (date to be confirmed) and the Musical Gardens Show (from end-March onwards).
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 (24 and 25 March).