What to do in Paris in July and August

Festivals, music, movies and plays: your complete guide to summer fun in the capital!

Bastille Day in Paris

Feu artifice 14 juillet tour Eiffel © DR

The highlight of the summer is Bastille Day on 14 July, with an event-packed programme. The programme for the national holiday, which falls on a Sunday in 2019, is packed with events. In the morning the military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées takes place, heading down the ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’ all the way to Place de la Concorde. Cast your eyes skyward for the military flypast, always a thrilling spectacle. In the evening, it’s party time with the firemen’s balls held in a number of fire stations all over Paris Region. Some of the balls are held on the previous night, the 13th, so do check before going. The celebrations wind down with a bang between 11pm and 11.30pm, with a spectacular fireworks display set off from the Eiffel Tower - a brilliant way to end the day!

Paris Plages

Grands événements - juillet aout - Paris Plages © Studio TTG

During the summer, Paris turns into a seaside resort and welcomes Paris Plages (from July to September). In the Parc Rives de Seine, the riverbanks are turned into a beach, complete with sun loungers and palm trees, to create the feel of a seaside holiday. There are lots of activities for adults and children.

More info about Paris Plages

Festivals

The Peacock Society 2017 © Maxime Chermat

Paris gets into the festival vibe in summer, with an eclectic selection of events to suit all tastes. Music, cinema, theatre: take your pick of the summer festivals!

There is a wide choice of music festivals. For electronic music fans, there’s The Peacock Society Festival in the Parc Floral de Paris. If you prefer classical music, head for the Parc Floral for the Classique au Vert festival  August-September). And rock fans can look forward to the now-legendary Rock en Seine festival, which takes place just outside Paris, in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud . But before going off to soak up the sun, take advantage of some thirty or so free (and outdoor) concerts at the Festival Fnac Live (July) !

The travelling festival Lollapalooza, which brings together a diverse mix of musical genres, is returning to Paris for the fourth time on 18 and 19 July. Fans can expect an electrifying line-up at the Paris Longchamp racecourse, with Billie Eilish and Pearl Jam as this edition’s lead acts.

The mild temperatures also bring the cinema out in the open air. If you want to see a film on the big screen, comfortably seated in a deckchair, don’t miss the fabulous Open Air Cinema Festival, which takes place at  La Villette. Other film-related events worth the detour include the Festival Silhouette dedicated to short films and La Chaise et l’écran in the 11th arrondissement.

Theatre has its place in the sun too with Tréteaux Nomades, a travelling festival that comes to the Arènes des Montmartre, with performances in the purest tradition of commedia dell’arte and farce (from 21 August to 6 September 2020).

Other exciting summer festivals include L’été du canal which takes place along the Canal de l’Ourcq, and L’été Paris La Défense )...

Full details of outdoor festivals in Paris

Exhibitions

Giorgio de Chirico, Il ritornante - Musée de l'Orangerie

Summer offers visitors a last chance to see the year 2020’s major exhibitions. At the Musée de l’Orangerie, the Giorgio de Chirico. Metaphysical Painting exhibition is on until 13 July 2020, while the Musée d’Orsay’s retrospective of work by James Tissot (1836-1902) is on until 19 July 2020. Turner. Paintings and Watercolours from the Tate Collection can be admired at the Musée Jacquemart-André until 20 July 2020, while 26 July 2020 is the final day of the Man Ray and Fashion exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg.

The Music of Picasso is on at the Philharmonie de Paris until 16 August 2020, and Body and Soul. Italian Renaissance Sculptures from Donatello to Michelangelo at the Louvre until 17 August 2020. Révolutions at the Grande Halle de la Villette closes on 23 August, and Matisse at the Pompidou Centre on 31 August 2020.

Summer is also the time when Paris museums choose to place the spotlight on lesser-known artists and more unusual themes, such as The Golden Age of Danish Painting (1801-1864), on until 16 August 2020 at the Petit Palais, and Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). Light and Solitude, on until 13 September at the Musée d’Orsay.

See also...

Fairs and trade shows

From 2 to 5 July, travel to the Land of the Rising Sun at Japan Expo, the biggest Japanese popular culture and leisure event in France. The 21th edition of the fair will take place at the Parc des Expositions de Paris-Nord Villepinte.

The Nuit des étoiles, the big family fun event of the summer season is back for the 18th year running. This free event promises three nights packed with activities such as stargazing, introduction to astronomy and workshops. To give you a foretaste of a total eclipse of the moon, which will take place in July in Paris! Various venues in Paris and the surrounding region are involved in the operation, including the Tour Montparnasse, the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget. Grab your telescope and reach for the stars!

If you like fine vintage cars, don’t miss La Traversée de Paris Estivale, the biggest classic car gathering, which takes place in the heart of the capital in July.

For a 4rd year, La Villette inflates with air. Europa kids  features giant slides, a maze, climbing games, an inflatable village for children!

Sports

Tour de France © DR

Join the crowds to watch the finish of the Tour de France! The cyclists will arrive in Paris on 19 July after a gruelling three-week ride over 3,516 km. The 23st and final stage of the race culminates in a sprint along the Champs-Elysées.

Concerts

Spectacle Marie-Antoinette au Domaine de Versailles

In Paris in summer, music lovers are spoilt for choice! As well as the many music festivals held in the capital, many top-billing artists are in concert. There are not just several music festivals taking place in various parts of the capital, but summer concerts and shows too.

The 2019-2020 season’s closing concert at the Philharmonie de Paris will be worth seeing, as always (date and programme to be confirmed). The jazz guitarist and singer George Benson returns to the Olympia on 4 July 2020, while the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden will perform at Paris La Défense Arena on 11 July 2020.

A spectacular fireworks display with Marie-Antoinette as its theme makes for a great family outing to the gardens of the Château de Versailles at nightfall (2 to 10 July 2020). The historically-themed sound and light extravaganza La Nuit aux Invalides is back this year too (from 8 July to 29 August 2020). The programme features a new version of the show Lutetia: 3,000 years of stories in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Hôtel National des Invalides.

The Opéra National de Paris will wind up the season with stagings of three legendary operas: Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi (until  12 July 2020) and La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini (until 13 July 2020) at the Opéra Bastille, and Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (until 13 July 2020) at the Palais Garnier.

Classical dance enthusiasts can look forward to a spectacular production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake performed – for the first time in Paris – by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre at the Stade Jean Bouin on 3 and 4 July 2020. And Alexander Ekman is presenting Play, his first creation for the Paris Opera Ballet, at the Palais Garnier until 14 July 2020.

Open Air Cinema

Festival | Show - miscellaneous
from 15 July 2020 to 16 August 2020
Parc de La Villette - Plein Air - 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, Paris

A cultural highlight every summer, the festival welcomes thousands of film fans with a programme of French and international films

Tour de France: finish of the 21st and final stage

Sport
from 19 July 2020 to 19 July 2020
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

After more than three weeks of racing, the riders can finally push for home and celebrate the winner of the coveted yellow jersey.

Japan expo

Trade fair, trade show, exhibition
from 02 July 2020 to 05 July 2020
Paris Nord Villepinte - VIPARIS - 82 avenue des Nations - ZAC Paris Nord 2, Villepinte

Meet your Japanese heroes.

Silhouette Festival

Festival | Show - miscellaneous
August - September 2020
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

For a week at the end of summer, the Silhouette association puts on a free festival dedicated to short films.

Rock en Seine

Festival | Modern music
August 2020
Domaine national de Saint-Cloud - Domaine national de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Cloud

One of the most prestigious music festivals of Paris.

The Peacock Society festival

Festival | Modern music
July 2020
Parc Floral de Paris - Jardin botanique de Paris - Esplanade du château de Vincennes, Paris

The electro festival at the Parc Floral de Vincennes

Festival Classique au vert

Festival | Classical music
July 2020
Parc Floral de Paris - Jardin botanique de Paris - Esplanade du château de Vincennes, Paris

This festival was founded by the Mairie de Paris with the aim of combining the pleasures of classical music and the delights of na...

Paris Plages

Celebration | Festival
July - August 2020
Tout Paris - Paris, Paris

Over the summer, Paris becomes a seaside resort with the Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) event.

Festival Fnac Live

Festival | Modern music
June 2020
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville - Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, Paris

3 days of concerts featuring thirty or so artists, with a range of musical repertoires.

La Chaise et l’écran

Festival
July - August 2020
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

Cinema festival in the 11th arrondissement.

Festival Paris l'Eté (Paris Summer Festival)

Festival | Music - miscellaneous | Show - miscellaneous
July - August 2020
Paris et Ile-de-France - Paris et Île-de-France, Paris

Some fifteen shows in Paris and the Paris region with dance, theatre and music.

Garden Parvis

Festival | Celebration
July - September 2020
Paris La Défense - Parvis de la Défense, Paris La Défense

6 weeks of entertainment to see La Défense in a different way.

Lollapalooza Paris

Festival | Modern music
from 18 July 2020 to 19 July 2020
Hippodrome ParisLongchamp - Bois de Boulogne - 2 route des Tribunes, Paris

The famous American festival sets up base in Paris!

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