September is a great time to visit the French capital and enjoy the pleasant autumn weather. After the summer holidays, Parisians gear up for a variety of cultural and festive outings. Autumn brings a host of vibrant events to match the spectacular array of colour on trees.
European heritage days
Boasting such iconic buildings as the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Cœur Basilica and the Arc de Triomphe, Paris has a wealth of heritage. On the third weekend of September each year, numerous monuments in Paris region open up to the public for the European Heritage Days (19 to 20 September 2020). On this occasion, many one-off activities and tours are organized to enable people to discover (or rediscover) well-known venues and visit places that are usually off-limits to the general public, such as the Élysée Palace.
More info about the European Heritage Days in Paris
New exhibitions are a major feature of the back-to-school period in September.
The Musée Jacquemart-André is spotlighting one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli, and his workshop in the exceptional exhibition Botticelli, un laboratoire de la Renaissance (from 11 September 2020).
The Picasso-Rodin exhibition being held simultaneously at the Musée Picasso (from 15 September 2020 to 14 March 2021) and the Musée Rodin (dates to be confirmed) highlights the genius of two masters, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin, and examines the unexpected similarities in their creative approach.
Man Ray and fashion are to be discovered at the Musée du Luxembourg in an exhibition opening (on 23 September 2020)
The artists’ workshops in the Ménilmontant district will once again hold their traditional open days event this autumn. The 2020 edition takes place in September (dates to be confirmed). Meanwhile, the world-renowned antiques show Biennale Paris will take be held in the nave of the Grand Palais (from 18 to 22 September 2020).
The summer season continues, The Festival d’Automne (from September to December 2020) has the most eclectic offering, with top-quality events in various fields: dance, cinema and theatre. For fans of jazz and swing, Jazz à La Villette (4 - 13 september) is a must-see – all the more so as it’s now a family outing, including a kids’ version of the festival : Jazz à la Villette for Kids.
There is also a festival dedicated to classical music: Les Solistes à Bagatelle, which will take place every Saturday and Sunday until 13 September 2020 in the Orangerie of the Bagatelle gardens gardens in the Bois de Boulogne.
In September, the Kiosquorama eco-citizenship and arts festival occupies bandstands in gardens and parks throughout Paris Region for a month. A programme of free events open to all, including concerts, installations, workshops and educational games. (19 September - 3 October 2020)
During the weekend-long Fête des jardins et de l'agriculture urbaine (12 - 13 September) devoted to city gardens and farms, the capital’s parks, gardens and green spaces host a variety of events to encourage sustainable and environment-friendly gardening.
Design and fashion
During Paris Design Week, the City of Light turns into the world’s design capital (from 3 to 12 Septembre 2020). Each year the event draws more than a hundred designers from around the globe who come to Paris to show their latest creations. Save the date, Fashion Week returns (on 28 September 2020) with women’s ready-to-wear fashion shows (until 6 October 2020).
Postponed to 2021 : On your marks, get set, go! It is race time again with La Parisienne (13 September 2020), the all-women’s race while the legendary Paris-Versailles draws some 20,000 participants on the last Sunday in September each year. The 43rd edition will start from the foot of the Eiffel Tower (on 27 September 2020) and the runners will cover a distance of 16 km all the way to the Château de Versailles.
If you’re keen on outdoor swimming, then you can take part in the EDF Aqua Challenge, to be held once again at the Bassins de La Villette in mid-September 2020. If roller skating is your sport, you should sign up to take part in the Macif Paris Rollers Marathon & Semi-Marathon. The event is open to skaters of all levels and offers two city-centre trails – a 21-km trail for the half-marathon and twice that distance for the marathon. It’s an unusual way to admire Paris’s monuments!
The AccorHotels Arena will host the final of the world hip-hop dance championship (on 13 September 2020). Watch some of the best street dancers in action to encouragement and music from international MCs and DJs.
Music ans shows
In September, DJs, record labels, radio stations and music lovers take to the streets for the Techno Parade (dates to be confirmed), a celebration of electronic music in all its forms. On the concert scene, the end of the month looks full of musical surprises, but patience, the programme for September is still under wraps! (Postponed to 2021)
For opera fans: Georges Bizet’s Carmen returns to the Stade de France (on 17 September 2020) for the first time in 17 years. This vibrant show will have 300 artistes onstage, with the lead roles performed by the tenor Roberto Alagna, the mezzo-soprano Béatrice Uria-Monzon and the soprano Aleksandra Kurzak. (Postponed to 18 June 2022)
The One Night Queen tour – a tribute to the rock band Queen and its legendary lead singer Freddy Mercury – will play a single date at La Seine Musicale (21 September 2020). This will be a show to remember. (Postponed to 11 November 2021)
If you’re a fan of musicals, you’ll enjoy Starmania, a famous 1980s rock opera created by the French pop star Michel Berger and Canadian producer Luc Plamondon, to be performed at La Seine Musicale (from 22 September 2020).
To get some fresh air and make the most of the late summer days before the kids go back to school, head for La Fête au Bois de Boulogne (formerly known as the Fête à Neuneu) which takes up residence in the Bois de Boulogne in early September (dates to be confirmed). The fair has been delighting young and old for more than 30 years, with rides and attractions for all ages, including merry-go-rounds, mini-roller coasters, swing carousels and a Big Wheel.