Official May Holidays
May 1st: Fête du Travail
May 8th: V-Day (WWII)
May 14th: Ascension
May 24-25: Pentecost Sunday (and Monday)
It's the annual Fête du Travail in France, one of the biggest national holidays when almost every museum and shop is closed (equivalent to Christmas Day). Aside from the annual parades by French workers' unions, you can see what's open May 1st on the website of the Mairie du Paris.
Through May 10
The annual Foire de Paris (Paris Fair) is one of the bigegst events of the year, occupying the entire Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (15th arr.) with hall after hall of food and wine, home and garden, fashion & accessories, travel and world cultures, arts and crafts, the famous Inventions Contest, and this year a "Makers Fair". It's chaos, it's fascinating, and there's always something interesting to learn (or buy, or eat). Just don't go on the weekend unless you like being trampled! Note: MAY 9th is the Salon du Vintage with a huge collection of vinyls and at 6pm a vintage roller skating parade.
Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Pat Oliphant will discuss his career and his piquant political cartoons, in conversation with writer Les Daly at the American Library as part of their Evenings with an Editorial Cartoonist at 7:30pm, free entry.
Yo ho ho and a flask of your best rum! Join The Chamber on the Canal St Martin this evening from 7-9pm for Tiny Boat Apero: Sip, Snack & Sail on a tiny electric boat. Tickets €50 for non-members, €30 for members, use the "secretsofparis" code for a special discount. Only 6 spaces, sign up soon!
One of the biggest flower shows in France, Journées des Plantes de Courson, takes place this weekend at the Chateau de Chantilly, just 45 minutes north of Paris from the Gare du Nord. Entry €20 (or €17 if you get your tickets online before May 14).
Check out your favorite Paris museum at night during the 11th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées, when all over Europe museums stay open all night...for free!
May 19-June 7
The annual French Open at Roland Garros takes place for two weeks in the Bois de Boulogne (16th). Tickets go fast, get yours on their official website.
Sex & Booze: An Erotic Book Club at The Chamber, where we'll be reading Vox by Nicholson Baker (a classic!), drinking cocktails, and talking about...well, sex. And as an extra bonus, I'll be the guest moderator for this event! (use the promotional code "naughtyparis" to get a discount on your ticket). Limited to 8 women only, 8-10pm in a private home; sign up while there's space! Check out other fun Chamber events here.
Who doesn't love teatime? Join the author Jill Colonna of Teatime in Paris! for a book launch at Treize Bakery today 4-6pm. You get a copy of the new book and tea and pastries for just €33 (limited spaces, reserve your spot).
Craft beer lovers unite! It's time for the second annual Paris Beer Week, with tons of events, tastings, brewery tours and bar specials all over Paris. The calendar is in English, and many of the events are free. Support Paris' locally-grown artisan beers!
Through May 22
April 26th was the Journée Nationale de la Déportation (National Day in Memory of the Deportation) in memory of the victims and the heros of the Nazi deportations during WWII. There are several exhibitions in remembrance of the deportation, including Lutetia 1945: Return of the Deportees (concentration camp survivors returning to Paris were welcomed and reunited with family at the Lutetia Hotel in the 6th), which takes place from April 23-30 at the Mairie du 10ème arrondissement (72 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 10th); and two exhibitions in the Mairie du 13ème arrondissement (Place d'Italie), "Jewish Children in Paris 1939-1945" about the lives of the Jewish children during the occupation, April 24-May 15, and "The 13th in Resistance"about the residents of the 13th who were members of the French Resistance, April 24-May 22. All events are free.
Stephen Clarke, the best-selling author of A Year in the Merde series and 1000 Years of Annoying the French is launching his latest book, How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), 7pm at the Abbey Bookshop (29 rue de la Parchiminerie, 5th; just behind St Severin church). There will be wine and munchies and good company, as usual. Free entry.
Through June 13
Check out a free exposition on 50 years of Parisian Street Art, Sur les Murs, featuring the work of 50 different French street artists (including Space Invader, Miss Tic and Speedy Graphito). At the Crédit Municipal de Paris, 55 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 3rd, from 9am-6pm (Thurs until 7pm, Sat until 5pm, closed Sun).
Through August 1
Nostalgic for the soulful songs of the legendary Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf? Book a tabe now at sexy cabaret singer Caroline Nin's "Hymne à Piaf", a show using English storytelling and songs en français to remember one of the greatest French singers of all time. Shows are in English Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Shows take place at the intimate Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €25-30.
Through August 23
Whether you already love Edith Piaf or know nothing about this iconic French singer, this exhibition about her life and music at the Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand (13th) is a great opportunity to learn all about one of France's greatest legends during the centennial year of her birth. Piaf, Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 1-7pm, €9 entrance.
Upcoming Paris Events (mark your calendars!)
The Salon du Vinatge is always a fun event in Paris, whether you're shopping for clothing, accessories, vinyls, and home decor, or just to hear the retro DJ tunes and the festive atmosphere. Free entry, at the Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd).
Celebrate Fête de la Musique in 17th-century aristocratic style at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte for their annual costumes dance event, La Journée Grand Siècle, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the original owner, Nicolas Fouquet. There will be an elegant picnic in the chateau gardens, live music and dancing, as well as carriage rides and sword-fighting shows. If you don't have a costume gown you can rent one on-site from €17.
The annual Rock-en-Seine Festival is one of the best music festivals of the year, taking place in a leafy park of St-Cloud, right on the outskirts of Paris (which means you can get there on the metro). This year's headliners are The Chemical Brothers, The Libertines, FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks), Kasabian, The Offspring, Hot Chip, and tons of others on four stages. The €119 three-day passes (the best deal) sell out quickly, get yours as soon as possible, especially if you want to snag one of the camping spots on-site (tent included!) Also, if you happen to have small tots with you there's a separate play area for them so the adults can go have fun without babysitting (or feeling guilty).
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For general events around Paris: Que Faire à Paris?
- For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing
- For indie/alternative music concerts see Gigs in Paris
- For art exhibitions in galleries and museum see Slash Paris
- For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism
- For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide