In July and August, Paris puts on a host of open-air events to celebrate the sunniest, hottest months of the year. There are all kinds of ways to make the most of the long days and mild evenings. Our top tips for a Parisian summer: join the Bastille Day celebrations; relax on the ‘beach’ at Paris Plages; get geared up for the finish of the Tour de France or go festival-hopping – here is a selection of the best.
Bastille Day in Paris
The highlight of the summer every year is Bastille Day, the French national day on 14 July.
France’s national day is celebrated every year with a prestigious military parade on the Champs-Elysées, broadcast live on television, and an impressive air show. The day ends in style with a spectacular firework display and classical music concert at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. If you plan ahead, you can enjoy the show from the lawns of the Champs-de-Mars; otherwise, the firework display can also be watched from a number of venues such as Montmartre hill.
Due to Covid-19-related restrictions, last year’s parade had to be cancelled, and to avoid a large gathering the firework display took place without a live audience. Depending on the situation, the 14 July festivities may have to be re-thought again in 2021, but one thing’s certain – France’s national day will, once again, be celebrated with pride and joy. To make 14 July a truly memorable experience, events are organized throughout the day, including concerts, shows and various free events and other activities. Don’t miss out!
All you need to know about the 14 July festivities in Paris
During the summer months, the Paris Plages event transforms Paris into a seaside resort. The banks of the Seine (in the Parc Rives de Seine) and alongside Canal de l’Ourcq are turned into sandy beaches dotted with palm trees, with deck chairs provided for people to sit in and relax looking out over the water. There are plenty of beach games and activities for both adults and children – in compliance with social distancing and other hygiene precautions.
More info about Paris Plages
Festivities and festivals in Paris in July and August 2021
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!
Get out into the sunshine and explore the parks and gardens of Paris, where there’s always something going on during the summer months.
The Tuileries gardens hope to welcome 60 funfair attractions and rides once again this year for the Fête des Tuileries, held during July and August. Fun for children of all ages in one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces.
Paris has more than its fair share of festivals. There’s something for everyone and all genres are represented. Music, film theatre – it’s up to you to put together your personal summer programme!
For classical music buffs the Festival Européen Jeunes Talents, a springboard for emerging young musicians, provides an opportunity to discover rising stars interpret the works of Ravel, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Bartók.
At the Parc Floral, in the Bois de Vincennes, summertime is synonymous with festival time! Between the beginning of July and the beginning of September, the park is the venue for the Paris Jazz Festival, the Classique Au Vert (classical music in the park) festival and the children’s music festival Les Pestacles. Make the most of those long summer evenings!
Running from June to September, Opéra en Plein Air (open-air opera) is a festival with a difference. Performances take place in the grounds of some of Île-de-France’s emblematic historical buildings, such as Sceaux castle, Saint-Germain-en-Laye castle and Les Invalides. Enjoy some of the greatest operatic arias in an exceptional setting.
The Rock en Seine festival, held annually on the last weekend in August, is the go-to event of the year for rock music fans. This year the event is scheduled to take place from 27 to 29 August 2021 in the Parc de Saint-Cloud.
Full details of outdoor festivals in Paris
Another open-air cinema option, if the situation allows, is the Short Films Festival. It is scheduled to take place in the Buttes Chaumont Park, as in previous years.
Find out about all the free open-air film festivals in Paris
Principal exhibitions in paris during the summer of 2021
July offers a last chance to see some of this year’s flagship exhibitions, including The Olmecs and the civilizations of the Gulf of Mexico, at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac Museum (ends on 25 July 2021), the Morozov collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton (ends 25 on July 2021), Paul Signac at the Jacquemart-André Museum (ends on 19 July 2021), Divas, from Oum Kalthoum to Dalida, at the Arab World Institute (ends on 25 July 2021) and Martin Margiela’s solo show at the Lafayette Anticipations Foundation (ends on 21 July 2021).
Shows, festival and high points of the summer in Paris in 2021
Major shows in paris in July and August
Marie-Antoinette is in the spotlight this year in a spectacular pyrotechnic show for all the family to enjoy as night falls in the gardens of the Château de Versailles. The Grandes Eaux Nocturnes (Fountains Night Show) and the Grandes Eaux Musicales (Musical Fountains Show) are also back (dates to be announced).
Every Saturday between July and October, the Château de Vaux le Vicomte is open for evening visits by candlelight. The château and its 33-hectare gardens, designed by French landscape architect André Le Nôtre, are beautifully lit by 2000 candles. A unique and unforgettable visit, during which time seems to stand still.
During July and August at Les Invalides, visitors are invited on an immersive voyage through the history of Paris. Night at Les Invalides is a spectacular 360° sound and light show projected on the façade of this Parisian historical monument.
Lastly, vintage car enthusiasts have a date with the Traversée estivale at the end of August. An event that attracts nearly 700 vehicles of all different makes. Not to be missed!
Headline concerts in Paris this July and August
This summer major international stars are due in Paris to give some headline concerts and the programme is already looking memorable. Alicia Keys will play the Accor Arena in Paris on 7 July 2021 (following postponement of her 2020 concert), British heavy metal band Iron Maiden will rock the La Défense Arena on 11 July 2021 as part of their ‘Legacy of the Beast’ tour, and Lady Gaga is expected to perform at the Stade de France on 25 July 2021.
The summer sales in Paris
After a bargain? Try the summer sales! Find reductions of up to 70% during the sales, which last for four weeks. And if you’re looking for some inspiration, don’t miss out on a chance to discover the new creations presented at Fashion Week Haute Couture from 4 to 8 July.
The Tour de France
Last year’s Tour de France was postponed until late summer, but this year it’s due to take place from 26 June to 18 July 2021. The arrival at the Champs-Élysées is a lively and joyous event not to be missed!
Processions, offerings, and musical performances – travel abroad without leaving Paris on 30 August 2021 at the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple in the 18th arrondissement.