Summer is drawing to a close but the weather is looking mild and sunny for a few more weeks. An ideal time to enjoy the city indoors and outdoors, and discover the new events programmes. From September onwards, museums, theatres and leisure venues resume full service and there is a wealth of festivals, trade fairs, plays, and exhibitions throughout the capital.
Topping the list of cultural events in Paris is European Heritage Days. Over one weekend, numerous cultural and historical sites exceptionally open their doors to visitors! This annual event is a rare opportunity to discover some of Paris’s most beautiful buildings. In October, the Nuit Blanche, on the first Saturday of October, attracts night owls for a cultural all-nighter as ephemeral art installations across the city offer a different offbeat and surprising view of the city. At the end of October, the FIAC also attracts art enthusiasts who come from around the world to see the work of some 1,500 new or experienced talented contemporary artists, exhibited in different places around the city. If it is pop culture that you are looking for, Comic Con returns each year to the Grande Halle de La Villette with new and exciting entertainment full of surprises and superheroes. Cosplay, science fiction, heroic fantasy, there is something for everyone.
For a spectacular sight at the start of September, head to the town of Saint-Cloud which is the stage for Europe’s biggest fireworks display. An unforgettable show! Another kind of show and atmosphere in September is the Paris Fashion Week, which showcases the finest spring/summer haute couture collections. And for fans of electronic music, Techno Parade winds through the streets of Paris every year in mid-September.
The new post summer holiday period is also packed with trade shows and exceptional cultural events, starting with the Biennale de Paris, a major meeting of antique dealers where numerous galleries show the best in jewellery, tapestry and luxury furniture. Then every two years, car and motorcycle enthusiasts can attend the renowned international Paris Motor Show to discover all the latest models.
For good food fans, autumn is the perfect opportunity to treat your taste buds! In late September, chefs take to the streets for the Goût de France event and propose the best of French gastronomy via picnics, wine tastings and gourmet events throughout Paris. This is closely followed by Tous au Restaurant, an event that enables you to enjoy good food at low prices: for each menu purchased, the second is free! In mid-October, don’t miss the Grape Harvest Festival to taste the unique local wine made in Montmartre. And chocaholics should head over to the Parc des Expositions de Paris for the Paris Chocolate Show, where pastry chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners reveal their best culinary secrets.
Finally, for thrillseekers, 31 October is the annual rendezvous at the chilling Manoir de Paris or enjoy the shows and attractions at Disneyland ®Paris after dark. A spooky spellbound atmosphere guaranteed!
This autumn, there is a bumper line-up of exhibitions in the capital. Admire the masters of Cubism at the Centre Pompidou or the 200 or so sculptures and drawings by Austrian artist Franz West. This year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton throws the spotlight on Basquiat and Schiele whilst the Musée d’Orsay presents a collection of paintings from Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods. And the Grand Palais is the place to go to see paintings by Miro, artworks based on the iconic singer Michael Jackson and the exhibition Magnificent Venice! Venice: Europe and the Arts in the 18th century.
As to shows, Paris offers a particularly eclectic selection of events. Lasting 3hrs20, the eagerly-awaited tragic opera Traviata, by Verdi, comes to the Opéra Bastille (surtitled in both English and French). A number of great musicals will also have Paris audiences singing along from September onwards: Chicago will be playing at the Théâtre Mogador and the Fashion Freak Show at Folies Bergère. If you are a fan of circus acts, the Compagnie les 7 Doigts de la Main returns with the show Cuisine et Confessions, a savvy mix of acrobatic acts, theatre and culinary art. Finally, the new show by Bartabas, Le Sacre de Stravinsky, mixes equestrian art, dance and symphonic music at the Seine Musicale.
Like summertime, autumn in Paris offers rich pickings when it comes to festivals. The Festival d’automne is probably the most eclectic of them all: featuring dance, cinema and theatre, it offers a range of diverse and high-quality events in 47 different venues in the capital and around. Are you an art enthusiast ? The event Rendez-Vous à l’Atelier is the opportunity to visit different artists’ workshops in Paris and discover the world of Delacroix, Moreau, Scheffer, Dubufe, Rodin, Bourdelle and Zadkine in the space of a weekend. For nightbirds, MaMa Festival is one of the top musical events of the new season with more than 120 concerts in 3 days. And for fans of jazz, swing and indie music, there are two not-to-miss festivals: Jazz à La Villette and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Paris is a great stage for international sporting events. This year, the coveted Ryder Cup is being staged for the first time in France, an opportunity for golfers and golfing fans in the Paris region to see the best European and American players. And for running enthusiasts, there is the 20 km de Paris with its 25,000 runners, and La Parisienne – an exclusively women’s race over 6.7 km in the heart of the city. Not forgetting the Qatar, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a full weekend of horseracing events drawing the best thoroughbred horses and international jockeys.
There is no lack of things for kids to do in Paris ! For a family day out, head to the Fête at the Bois de Boulogne to enjoy this famous funfair. Why not have fun and learn at the same time? The exhibition T-Rex includes workshops for children and the largest T-Rex skeleton ever exhibited in France; and to find out all there is to know about Fire, head to the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie. Kids and adults will love Totem et Plume, two magical shows filled with acrobatic acts, music and lights. Finally, don't miss Kidexpo, the big event for families.