In May and June, there’s more than a hint of summer in the French capital’s events calendar. With the return of sunshine and milder temperatures, Paris will be playing host to a number of open-air events, including the UEFA Euro 2016, the French Open akaRoland Garros, the European Night of Museums and the Fête de la Musique. There’s something for everyone!
UEFA EURO 2016 IN PARIS
The most keenly awaited sporting event of 2016 will be taking place in France. From 10 June to 10 July, the French capital will live and breathe the UEFA Euro 2016. Held every four years, the championship involves Europe’s top football teams.
Want to root for Les Bleus, the French team, at one of their matches? We have all the details of the championship, special events in Paris linked to the Euro 2016 and the best bars and restaurants showing the matches. The championship gets underway at the Stade de France at 9pm on 10 June 2016.
More headline sports events in Paris
Roland Garros featuring the world’s top tennis players and due to start on 22 May at Porte d’Auteuil. Last year, against all odds, Swiss player Stan Wawrinka won the title. This year, will Novak Djokovic finally win the only Grand Slam title that has so far eluded his grasp? Find out on 5 June! Also on the sporting calendar: the legendary Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, with 23 obstacles to be cleared, on 20 and 21 May at the Auteuil racecourse, and the Prix de Diane Longines at the Chantilly racecourse.
CELEBRATIONS AND FESTIVALS
The first one on the calendar is the European Night of Museums on 21 May – a one-off opportunity to enjoy specially created afterhours events in a hundred-odd museums across the Ile-de-France region.
The other major event at this time of year is the Fête de la Musique on 21 June, which heralds the start of summer. Besides big-name concerts in top Paris venues, amateur musicians of every stripe come out and perform. So, on the longest day of the year, there’s music in the air, with free concerts and street performers on every street.
For garden lovers, Rendez-vous aux Jardins from 3 to 5 June provides an opportunity to get back to nature, with thousands of parks and gardens open to the public. Finally, there’s the LGBT community’s pride parade on 26 June: a festive and colourful event.
In May and June, some heavy-duty festivals take centre stage. From 26 to 29 May the 11th edition of Villette Sonique, the talent-unearthing festival, will be on at Parc de la Villette while, on 28 and 29 May (dates to be confirmed), the sustainable music festival We Love Green will take place on the lawns of the Parc de Bagatelle. The Weather Festivalwill also be back in 2016, on 3, 4 and 5 June: this techno festival is very popular with clubbers. Meanwhile, rock fans will be glad to hear that Britain’s Download Festival is being held for the first time in Paris, on 10 and 12 June. Solidays, one of the top summer festivals, will be back at the Longchamp racecourse from 24 to 26 June (dates to be confirmed). The programme is eclectic, ranging from rock and pop to electronic music.
As for jazz, Paris will be hosting two not-to-miss events: the 14th edition of the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival on the Left Bank from 19 to 31 May and, in June, theParis Jazz Festival at the Parc Floral. For classical music fans, there’s the Festival Chopin 2016, to be held from the mid-June to the mid-July at the Orangerie in the Parc de Bagatelle inside the Bois de Boulogne.
In mid-May the quays of the Canal Saint-Martin and the surrounding area come to life withPrintemps des Rues and its array of free performances: theatre, music, puppet shows,circus acts and dance. And the DDAYS festival, from 30 May to 5 June, will appeal to design enthusiasts.
The keenly-awaited biennial event Monumenta, with its focus on larger-than-life art, will be back at the Grand Palais from 8 May. The Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping will be the star of this edition (the seventh). The Musée d’Orsay, for its part, will be hosting France’s first-ever solo exhibition (titled Charles Gleyre, le romantique repenti) devoted to the noted 19th-century painter and teacher.
And, from 23 June, the Palais de Tokyo offers visitors a chance to see the exhibitionRester vivant, curated by the writer Michel Houellebecq.
SHOWS AND CONCERTS
Opera features prominently on the events calendar, with Verdi’s La Traviata at Opéra Bastille and the German director Aribert Reimann’s version of Lear at the Palais Garnier. Opera fans should also look out for Opéra en Plein Air, the festival that puts on a great opera in June each year at an exceptional venue. And, for a truly majestic show, head for Versailles and Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, the spellbinding fountain display, to be admired from June to September.
There are also plenty of concerts on the programme. Teen idols 5 Seconds of Summer, the Australian pop-rock band, will be playing the AccorHotels Arena on 17 May. And, after a sold-out performance at Bercy, David Guetta will be playing a one-off concert – free! – at the Eiffel Tower on 9 June. Chosen to be the ‘musical ambassador’ of the Euro 2016, he will be playing a mega DJ set the night before the opening match of the European championship.
June is movie month in Paris. The Fête du Cinéma in late June is a chance to see films on a budget, as tickets cost only €4. Other events for film buffs: Cinéma Paradiso (to be confirmed) at the Grand Palais and the Champs-Élysées Film Festival.
In early June, Pestacles will be back at Parc Floral de Paris in the Bois de Vincennes, with a line-up of exciting events for kids: concerts, shows, circus acts and more.
And, as family outings go, it’s hard to beat the Fête des Tuileries in late June – a funfair made up of 60-odd attractions in the very heart of Paris.
Bargain hunters take note: the summer sales will get underway on 29 June. Expect reductions of up to 70% for six whole weeks. Everything must go!