What to do in May and June in Paris

Paris is the place to enjoy music! In May and June, music fans get together to make the most of music festivals and concerts.

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!

All kinds of music

Outdoors, jazz, free concerts, theatre festival...

We love Green 2017 © Maxime Chermat

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 18th edition of the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival on the Left Bank from 24 May to 04 June and, in June, the Paris Jazz Festival at the Parc Floral while, from 1st to 3rd June, Musicora 2018 at the La Grande Halle de La Villette will boast France’s biggest display of musical instruments.

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 15 to 17 June in Brétigny-sur-Orge. Expect quite a few big names: Guns n'Roses, The Offspring and the Foo Fighters.

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).

Not to be missed event : Fête de la Musique

Fête de la musique - Misteur Valaire © Clément RG

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.

Shows with music and outdoor opera

In May, everyone can go to the opera. The 12th edition of the Tous à l’opéra event on 5 and 6 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.

At the Palace of Versailles, the Fountains Night Show and the Royal Serenade in the Hall of Mirrors thrill the court of the Sun King (16 June – 15 September).

Exhibitions

TeamLab Transcending Boundaries © DR

May and June have more than their fair share of interesting exhibitions.

At the Grande Halle de la Villette, contemporary creation always has a special place! The Japanese collective Teamlab puts a new spin on art with installations using new technology for an amazing immersive experience (4 May-2 Sept). At the end of May, the Centre Pompidou pays a new tribute to French modernism through the exhibition U.A.M, a modern adventure, 1929-1958, bringing together a huge variety of internationally-recognized artistic creations (30 May-27 August).

In early June, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris  is showing the exhibition Zao Wou-Ki: Space is Silence (from 1 June). This show explores the richness of the work of one of the most important Chinese painters and engravers.

At the Musée du Louvre, the focus is on the 18th century, the golden age of pastel painting in Europe, with the exhibition Pastels of the Musée du Louvre (7 June-10 September) featuring 120 exceptional works that reveal the complexity and fragility of this art. In mid-June, head to the Musée d’Orsay to see In Colour, polychrome sculpture in France 1850 to 1910. The question of applying colour to sculpture in the Second Empire and the influence of Art Nouveau are explored (11 June-23 September).

Other shows not to miss:

At the Cinémathèque Française, discover the work and travels of the tireless photographer and writer Chris Marker (2 May-29 July).
At the end of May, at the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, enjoy the stories of the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, the Famille Fenouillard or Phileas Fogg and Passepartout at the exhibition The Little Explorer’s Box of Delights (22 May-7 October).

In collaboration with the Tate Modern, the Petit Palais puts the Thames on Seine with the exhibition The Impressionists in London (1870-1904), a journey in the footsteps of the French painters exiled across the channel (from 21 June to 14 October).

Sports

Internationaux de France de tennis - Roland Garros © FFT / Christophe Saïdi

With the arrival of good weather, sport takes off in Paris!

Tennis is the focus of attention with the French Open at Roland Garros, which attracts the world’s top tennis players at Porte d’Auteuil (from 21 May to 10 June). Also on the sporting calendar: the legendary Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, with 23 obstacles to be cleared, on 18 and 20 May at the Auteuil racecourse. And of course the Prix du Jockey Club will be back at the Chantilly racecourse on 3 June, followed on 17 June by the Prix de Diane Longines, France’s very own high society horse-racing event.

On 8 May, see out the month in style by heading to the Stade de France for the French Cup football final 2018. On 2 and 3 June, women footballers vie for the trophy in the Women’s French Cup Final (venue to be communicated later).

June is also a great month for sport, starting with the keenly awaited Rugby Top 14 Final at the Stade de France on Sunday 2 June to decide the top French club of the season. Finally, the Open de France is back at the Golf National de Guyancourt end of June.

See also ...

Fairs and trade shows in Paris

Nuit européenne des musées - Chateau de Fontainebleau - Porté par le vent © DR

In May, museums open to night owls, with the European Museums Night (19 May). The first festival scheduled during these two months is the European Night of Museums on 19 May - a one-off opportunity to enjoy specially created afterhours events in a hundred-odd museums across the Ile-de-France region.

Design enthusiasts will be making their way this month to D’Days, in May. Various venues throughout the French capital host design-related events – exhibitions, workshops, discussions and so on – over this 12-day period.

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 17 to 20 May. There will be a host of tasting sessions, chats with chefs and culinary events to enjoy.

Back at the Parc Zoologique de Paris, the Biodiversity trail, a sensory adventure invites visitors to rediscover the sensation of nature barefoot (from 30 May to 1 November)!

Concerts and shows

Philharmonie de Paris Salle Pierre Boulez © Charles Platiau DR

The Palais Garnier presents Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti (from 6 June to 12 July 2018) whilst the Opéra Bastille stages Heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel (from 17 May to 17 June). The National Opera of Urkraine brilliantly performs The marriage of Figaro at the Palais des Congrès de Paris (26-27 May).

Côté concerts, il y a de quoi faire et vous avez le choix entre de nombreux événements. For classical music enthusiasts, the brilliant pianist Mikhael Pletnev will give a concert at the Philharmonie de Paris (29 May), which has a big line-up of top orchestras to celebrate the arrival of summer: the Orchestre de Paris, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Debussy, Mahler, Brahms and Tchaikovsky will also be on the programme for summer at the Auditorium de la Maison de la Radio.

The Fête du Cinéma in late June is a chance to see films on a budget, as tickets cost only €4.

If you’re a fan of figure skating, you’ll enjoy watching the new Holiday on Ice extravaganza ‘Atlantis’, on from 22 to 27 May.

In June, the spectacular Ramin Djawadi, composer of Game Of Thrones is at the AccorHotels Arena (12 May). And you can also see Katy Perry (29-30 May) and Fast&Furious (29 June – 1 July).

Katy Perry - AccorHotels Arena 2018 © DR

Children

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.

Exhibitions include: Festival Cité Interdite (12-13 May), at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie,  a magical journey in the footsteps of the greatest adventurers (12-13 May). Close by, at La Villette, also for kids, Journey to the Centre of the Earth recounts the classic story of Jules Vernes in dance (3-5 May), and the Royal Ballet of Cambodia will delight kids and grown-ups at the Philharmonie de Paris (18-19 May).

And for Disney fans, the biggest event will take place on the first weekend of June when FanDaze Inaugural Party gets the entire Parc Disneyland Paris singing.

Shopping

Bargain hunters take note: the summer sales will get underway on 27 June. (27 June - 7 August). Expect reductions of up to 70% for six whole weeks. Everything must go!

"How to become a Parisian in one hour" by Olivier Giraud

Show - comedy, one-man show
from 30 September 2017 to 09 June 2018
Théâtre des Nouveautés - 24 boulevard Poissonnière, Paris
Book

Olivier Giraud offers a show in English on the attitudes and idiosyncrasies of Parisians: mannerisms and habits that have given th...

Et 20 l’été

Festival | Show - miscellaneous | Show - theatre
June 2018
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

The street arts festival returns for its 8th edition in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

Festival Solidays

Festival | Modern music
June 2018
Hippodrome de Longchamp - Bois de Boulogne, Paris

Solidays is en event about solidarity - in the fight against Aids : concerts, entertainment and activities

Fête des Tuileries

Celebration
June - August 2018
Jardin des Tuileries - Place de la Concorde, Paris

Children and adults, Parisians and visitors all enjoy the sixty or so attractions at this two-month-long funfair

The Big Wheel at Place de la Concorde

Celebration
from 17 November 2017 to 05 May 2018
Place de la Concorde - Place de la Concorde, Paris

Each year, as Christmas approaches, the Big Wheel is set up on the Place de la Concorde.

Grand Steeplechase

Sport
from 19 May 2018 to 20 May 2018
Hippodrome d'Auteuil - Route des Lacs, Paris

The Grand Steeplechase de Paris is one of the biggest dates on the racing calendar.

Champs-Elysées Film Festival

Festival | Show - miscellaneous
June 2018
Avenue des Champs-Élysées - De l'Arc de Triomphe à la place de la Concorde, Paris

Champs-Elysées Film Festival aims to present independent French and American films to a wider audience : competition, screenings, ...

La Traversée de Paris (Drive through Paris)

Celebration
from 07 January 2018 to 07 January 2018
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

740 vehicles of all makes and from all periods drive through the streets of the capital.

Fountains Night Show at Versailles

Celebration | Show - miscellaneous
from 16 June 2018 to 15 September 2018
Château de Versailles - Établissement public du château, du musée et du domaine national de Versailles, Versailles
Book

A magical memorable evening at the Palace of Versailles.

Les Pestacles Festival

Festival
June-September 2018
Parc Floral de Paris - Jardin botanique de la Ville de Paris - Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, Paris

Every year from June to September, the Parc Floral in Paris plays host to Les Pestacles, a festival for kids and their families.

Paris Jazz festival

Festival | Jazz music
June-July 2018
Parc Floral de Paris - Jardin botanique de la Ville de Paris - Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, Paris

Paris Jazz Festival artfully blends jazz melodies and the harmony of nature

Belleville artists' open studios

Exhibition | Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
May 2018
Quartier de Belleville - Belleville, Paris

More than 250 artists open the doors of their studios to the public, free of charge

Prix de Diane

Sport
June 2018
Hippodrome de Chantilly - 16 avenue du Général Leclerc - 209 BP 90, Chantilly

This race is one of the most prestigious on the flat racing calendar, an event that is the epitome of French elegance and distinct...

Rendez-vous aux jardins

Celebration
June 2018
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

More than 2,300 gardens (historic, contemporary, exotic, urban and vegetable...) are open to the public.

French Open tennis championship

Sport
from 21 May 2018 to 10 June 2018
Stade Roland-Garros - 2 avenue Gordon Bennett, Paris

This year once again, (whether it be on Philippe Chatrier or Suzanne Lenglen court) a new chapter in tennis history will be writte...

Villette Sonique

Festival | Music - miscellaneous
May 2018
Parc de La Villette - Plein Air - 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris

The free, open-air music festival returns for a 13th edition.

We love green

Festival | Modern music
from 02 June 2018 to 03 June 2018
Bois de Vincennes - Bois de Vincennes, Paris

This eco-friendly music event has an exceptional line-up of international artists for festival goers!

Foire du Trône

Celebration
April - May 2018
Pelouse de Reuilly - Bois de Vincennes, Paris

Some 350 attractions on more than 10 hectares of land at the Pelouse de Reuilly.

Carnaval Tropical in Paris

Celebration | Festival
July 2018
Avenue des Champs-Élysées - De l'Arc de Triomphe à la place de la Concorde, Paris

Tropical rhythms take over.

Fête du cinéma

Festival
June 2018
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

Paris, a cinematic joy.