Festivals and Events in Paris

Anyone planning a visit to Paris, and wanting to take in city or local festivals, would do well to check with their travel agent (or the Paris Department of Tourism) for schedules pertaining to the time of their trip. There is a wide variety of events to satisfy almost any taste, at almost any time of the year.

Music

"Singin' In Paris" is a 62-hour series of musical presentations in a luxurious 17th century mansion in the Marais district. One program focuses on songs about Paris; another program features songs in French that are known around the world.

Parisians also celebrate the coming of Summer on a grand scale, usually in the latter part of June. The Fête de la Musique has its official schedule of events, including a large, free concert generally held on the Place de République, but it also encompasses a public spirited plethora of improvised shows and concerts that take place in venues large and small.

Paris has its share of parades as well, including the French Mardi Gras type, Techno Parade. This glittering, costumed extravaganza of techno music winds its way through the east section of Paris, generally in mid-September. The participants and audience are generally of the younger generation, but the parade wound through the more elegant districts of western Paris in 2000, where the music would not be as popular, and the event still attracted a crowd of some 13,000 .

Cinema

The Paris Film Festival takes place in Spring; it showcases more than a hundred films over six Parisian cinemas. There are premierès, press awards, public awards, and film novel prizes.

Another ongoing opportunity for tourists to get off their feet and enjoy some fine French cinema, is a visit to the Forum des Images video library. Videos can be used privately in carrels, or you can take advantage of a big screen showing in one of the theatres.

Visual arts celebrations are plentiful, and you should be able to find something going on at almost any time you visit. Theatrical offerings and schedules can often be checked out online prior to your trip, so you can decide what tickets to purchase.

Cultural Events

The Festival of the Imaginary (Festival de l'Imaginaire) is a multicultural melting pot celebration of mask dancing, puppetry, drama and other visual performances.

It is usually held in early Spring, at the Maison des Cultures du Monde, and features performers from around the world.

Later in the year, you can enjoy the Festival d'Automne which actually spans a four month period, and celebrates theatre, film, dance and the performing arts.

The program is rich in variety, and each year highlights a country whose artistic performers may not have had the opportunity to be experienced by broader audiences.

Sports Events

If you are a sports enthusiast, you can also time your visit for key events throughout the year, such as:

Bastille Day

Of course, the event to attend in Paris is the national Bastille Day, July 14.

It has particular meaning for the city, as the French Revolution was born in Paris, on the day the Bastille prison was stormed by angry citizens.

Bastille Day in modern times features a massive military parade down the Champs Elysées, a fireworks display based near the Eiffel Tower, and the much celebrated Fireman's Ball, held in all Paris fire stations on the evenings of July 13th and 14th.