Culture

What’s On in Paris – May 2022

There are three holidays in France in May: Fête du Travail (May 1st, almost everything is closed); V-Day 1945 (May 8, most places remain open that are normally open on a Sunday); and Ascension (Thursday May 26th, most places remain open except government buildings). 

May 4
Private Evening Visit of the Gaudí Exhibit at Musée D’Orsay – the American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay (AMFO) are hosting a private after-hours visit of the new Gaudí exhibition, followed with a glass of Champagne. Free for members, €35 for non-members, register now for your spot!

April 2-May 8
Calling all street art fans! The Colors Festival brings together 65 French and international artists, painters, photographers, etc. from around the world to decorate 700m² of space in the 11th arrondissement, with four live painting sessions each weekend. Open daily, weekdays from 11am-7pm , until 9pm on Thursdays, and weekends 10am-6pm (last entry an hour before closure). Unlike most street art shows in Paris, this one charges an entrance fee: €15 for a timed-entry ticket (€8 for students and seniors over 62; €5 for kids under 13, free for kids under 3). You can buy on site, but if you want to make sure you get in the time you want, buy online: https://www.colorsfestival.paris/

April 28-May 9
The annual Foire de Paris (Paris Fair) is one of the biggest 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 and accessories, travel and world cultures, arts and crafts, the famous Inventions Contest, and 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! Buy your tickets in advance and avoid lines; entry €11 (€15 at the door).

May 13-15
One of the biggest flower shows in France, Journées des Plantes de Chantilly (formerly Courson), takes place this weekend at the Chateau de Chantilly, just 45 minutes north of Paris from the Gare du Nord. Entry €18 (or €16 if you get your tickets online before May 13).

May 14
Check out your favorite Paris museum at night during the 18th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées, when all over Europe museums stay open until late (usually 11pm or midnight)…for free! Over 75 events in Paris alone. Special flashlight tours, live music, installment arts, film screenings, costumed museum guides, and other fun events throughout the evening at each museum. This year’s theme is “popular culture” (ie Star Wars).

May 15
Run My City Paris – A unique run through Paris, it may start off like any other “race” but there’s no time recording, just two routes (9k or 15k) that take runners to special museums, monuments and other Paris sights you may or may not know (yes, you stop your run to pop in for a visit). Sounds fun, right? Register in advance for the best rate, and let Heather know you’ll be there, too. 😉

May 18-22
The 16th annual Fête de la Nature is a five-day festival celebrating nature with a full program of 5000 free events in parks, gardens, nature preserves and forests all over the country, with 36 events in Paris alone.

May 19
Le Food Market is a monthly open-air food festival on Boulevard Belleville (between metro Ménilmontant and Couronnes) with over a dozen stands serving up tasty dishes of all kinds for less than €10 (kind of like a gathering of static food trucks, but without the wheels) from 6pm-10:30pm. This month Italian food is celebrated! It can get quite crowded, so get there early to avoid waiting (there are huge tables to sit and eat). Here’s the video (in French, but gives you an idea what to expect).

May 19-21
ChangeNOW Summit for the Planet – At the Grand Palais Ephémère, “The world’s largest gathering of solutions for the planet with 1000 solutions, 400 speakers from 120 countries, and 800 investors.” The featured guest speaker is the legendary Jane Goodall. All events will be in English and French. They’re also still looking for English-speaking volunteers (Heather is one of them!).

May 20-23
The 33rd annual Artists’ Open Studios in Belleville takes place for four days in over 120 ateliers in Belleville (centered on the 19th and 11th arrondissements). It’s a great chance to see some real Paris neighborhoods, meet local artists, and of course purchase some lovely artworks! See a map of all the open studios, or visit the HQ at Galerie des AAB (1 rue Picabia, 19th, metro Couronnes). Free entry. Studios are open 2-8pm over the four days of the event.

Through June 6
From noon to midnight every day is the Foire du Trone, an open air fair with rides, food and perfect for a family outing. Open from noon until 11pm, Fri-Sat until 1am. Free entry, rides work with tickets. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, 92 boulevard Poniatowski, 75012 Paris (near Bois de Vincennes).

Through July 17th
Learn about the history of the construction, evolution, and burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in a free augmented reality exhibit in the nave of the historic Collège des Bernadins, a 13th-century monastery-turned-cultural-center just across the river from the Cathedral in the Latin Quarter. The exhibit is in multiple languages using a “histopad” tablet, although the website where you sign up for your spot is only in French (click the purple “Reserver” button and create an account to get a free ticket). Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm, and Thurs and Sun (and April 16-18) from 2-6pm. Closed April 15th and May 1st. On 20 Rue de Poissy, 5th.

Through June 16th
To celebrate the centenary anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses by Sylvia Beach, owner of the original Shakespeare & Co Bookstore in Paris, an ensemble of international stars are recording the complete text to be released as a free podcast between February 2nd and Bloomsday on June 16th by Shakespeare & Co, listen here.

Planning Ahead – Book it Now!

Rock-en-Seine Festival – August 25-30th at the Domaine de Saint-Cloud, headliners include Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Stromae, and Rage Against the Machine.

Paris Sketchbook Workshop – September 27-October 2 in Paris, with five world-famous sketchbook artists.