Temperatures are rising, buds are appearing in parks and gardens, outdoor ice-cream stands are reopening … there’s no doubt about it, spring has arrived! From March to June, Paris welcomes the arrival of longer, warmer days, to the pleasure of native Parisians and tourists alike.
In the coming months, various indoor and especially outdoor events will be bringing the city to life as the season progresses, so mark your calendars!
The arrival of spring heralds the beginning of festival season, and there really is something for everyone! For film fans, the Printemps du Cinéma in mid-March lets movie-goers enjoy reduced-price tickets in cinemas all over France, perfect for catching your new favourite film a second time. At La Villette, the Festival 100% shines a spotlight on the performing arts such as theatre and dance, and always has surprises in store. If you’re looking for music, there’s We Love Green, which has established itself as a major player on the festival scene with its fresh, surprising programme and commitment to the environment.
Another of the season’s unmissable events is the European Night of Museums. This magical night in mid-May is a chance to get free access to the city’s best exhibitions. A unique programme is offered each year, with an exciting mix of art shows, lectures, film screenings and concerts. Over 1,800 museums, including the Louvre, the Arab World Institute and the Musée d’Orsay, take part in this special event and arrange all sorts of wonderful surprises for their visitors.
Every spring, Paris also welcomes a whole host of Easter activities for both children and adults, from egg hunts to family art and crafts workshops to treasure hunts to concerts. Plus, foodies can experience the special creations of Paris’ master chocolatiers.
For shows and fairs, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles starts the season off with the much-anticipated Foire de Paris. This annual fair has run since 1904 and is a veritable treasure trove of things to buy, see and experience. One such spectacle is the Concours Lépine, an international competition that rewards the most innovative, useful and audacious inventions.
A very different kind of fair is the Foire du Trône – this giant Parisian funfair takes place through April and May at the Pelouse de Reuilly in the city’s 12th arrondissement and promises to keep both children and adults entertained. The fair boasts nearly 350 attractions and 80 carousels, plus musical shows and stands selling sweet treats, and to finish it all off, a fantastic firework show! April is also the month of the European Artistic Craft Days, a week-long event which lets members of the public meet with professional artisans, who unveil their latest exciting and original creations. For aviation fans, the Paris Air Show takes place once every two years, and with almost 2,400 exhibitors and 150 planes, it is the world’s largest aerospace event. Ready for take-off?
Spring is the best time to get active, and what better way to kick off the season than with the Paris Marathon. Held every April, this internationally-renowned sporting event sees runners take on a 42 km route through the city, from the Champs-Elysées through the Place de la Bastille, the Pont de Bir-Hakeim and even the Bois de Boulogne. More and more participants and supporters gather every year, with almost 60,000 runners from all over the world now taking part in this exciting challenge.
Horse lovers also have their share of events to follow as the season for equestrian events begins each spring. First off, there’s the prestigious Saut Hermès, a showjumping competition held in the centre of the Grand Palais, and then comes the iconic Grand Steeple-Chase, held in the Auteuil Hippodrome since 1874. Finally, get ready for high fashion and fascinators at the Prix de Diane at the Chantilly Racecourse for a traditional but chic day at the races.
As spring gives way to the blazing summer sun, Paris has one more event up its sleeve: the French Open. This international tennis tournament is one of the most prestigious in the world as one of the four Grand Slams, and opens its 20 clay courts to some 480,000 spectators each year as they come to watch their favourite players go head to head.