Paris Practique :: Tis the Season

Year round there are wonderful, magical and mundane things to do around Paris. One could take a trip to this city and only sit at cafes and people watch (under the heatlamps in winter), picnic in the numerous parks and gardens, and visit the endless markets that happen daily around the city. But if you’re still trying to decide when to plan your next visit, here are a few things that happen throughout the year to look forward to. Even the pastries change with the season from bouche de Noel for Christmas, kings cakes for the new year, heart shaped baguettes for Valentine’s Day (that’s about as deep as Parisians get into that holiday, as l’esprit d’amour is a daily celebration!). So you could always plan your trip around food, which would be very French after all! Just be warned that the French take their holidays seriously. Most places will be closed on les jours fériés, and on Sundays for that matter, so check the calendar before you go. As for once you’re here, the Mairie de Paris is a great way to find out what free cultural events are happening around the city, but my favorite way to know what’s happening is by the posters in the Metro. Happy travels!

FALL

  • Nuit Blanche – the first Saturday in October the city has a “sleepless night” with art & light installations around the city and bars, restaurants, galleries and even swimming pools staying open all night long
  • A great season to take a romantic walk in a Paris cemetery. I’m dead serious! Check out Pere Lachaise for starters.
  • All year long “salons” of any subject take place around the city. Salon de la Photographie in November is one of my favorites
  • Maison Object – design trade show (Sept) [industry only]

WINTER

  • Ice Skating in front of Hotel de Ville
  • Holiday markets pop up all around the city – Abbesses, Chatelet, St. Germain…
  • Visit Galeries Lafayette to see the 5 story X-mas tree and creative window displays (department stores in general are a beautiful treat to visit in Paris, and many have great views from their rooftops!)
  • Les Soldes – the twice yearly sale around the entire city happens in late Jan/early Feb so stores can make room for the next season’s stock
  • Chinese New Year Parade – ring in the Chinese New Year Paris-style
  • Maison Object – design trade show (Jan)
  • Drink vin chaud!

SPRING

  • It’s not winter anymore, so celebrate with a picnic on the Champ de Mars!
  • There are over 400 parks and gardens in the city. Check out them all. Promenade de Plantee is always a favorite, as is Parc Monceau.
  • A visit Monet’s Gardens at Giverny is always in season.
  • Flea markets! (really year round, but they’re more fun when the weather is nice!)

SUMMER

  • Paris Plage – the man made beach created in front of City Hall (Hotel de Ville) for sunning in the sand or a game of beach volleyball
  • Les Soldes – the twice yearly sale around the entire city happens in late June/early July so stores can make room for the next season’s stock
  • Diner en Blanc – it’s invite only, but one day I’m determined to get an invite to this magical dinner where the magical location is only revealed at la derniere minute!
  • Paris Graffiti festival – happens every June
  • Bastille Day – July 14th
  • Cinema in the Parc (de la Vilette)
  • Tour de France
  • August – enjoy a Paris void of Parisians (who are taking advantage of their 5-9 weeks of vacation/year) and full of tourists

For loads more Paris things to do and see, check out my D*S Paris Design Guide.

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