What to do in Paris
A few suggestions of things to see and do while in Paris.
- July 14th is Bastille Day. Fireworks are usually July 14th, and the traditional 'bal des pompiers' -- go dancing in any of the Paris firehouses -- are the 13th and 14th. More information (in French).
- Paris Quartier d'été,
a festival of (mostly) free contemporary dance, circus, outdoor cinema, and world music in the city's parks, runs from July 15 to August 9.
- July 13 and 14 in the Tuileries gardens,
Festival Jazz Manouche (Gypsy jazz).
- The Paris Jazz Festival at the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes
runs June 6 through July 26. Les Arenes du Jazz are held in July
in the Arenes de Montmartre and other venues in the area, as a part of
Paris Quartier d'Eté.
- More outdoor concerts in Paris (in French).
- Wynton Marsalis is in Paris July 10. Alvin Ailey July 6-25. Leonard Cohen, July 7.
- The parc La Villette holds outdoor movie projections July 15 to mid August. Get there early and rent a lawn chair.
- Paris cinema runs July 3-14.
- Brush up on your French and see a play at the historical Comedie Francaise, Salle Richelieu. Last minute tickets (95 low-visibility seats) are available one hour
before each show for 5 €.
- In the summer, the beach comes to the Seine. Paris Plage runs from July 20 to August 20.
- The bassin de la Villette celebrates 200 years this summer.
Take a cruise on the Canal de l'Ourcq for 1 € ( More activities in French.)
- There are dozens of museums and historical sites in Paris.
- There are innumerable temporary exhibits to visit. Calder until July 20, and
Kandinsky until August at the
Centre Pompidou; Warhol until July 13 at the Grand Palais; Rodin portraits until August; filmmaker Jacques Tati at the Cinematheque Francaise until August are just a few examples.
- Hop on a Velib' and explore.
- Seen everything already? Have a coffee in the Galeries Vivienne --
go for a swim on (not in, thankfully) the Seine --
visit the Russian orthodox church -- walk along the Canal Saint-Martin --
find the place Henry the 6th was assassinated --
see a replica of Marie Curie's laboratory --
find one of the two remaining standard meters from 1796 --
see a Pascaline, Pascal's adding machine --
visit the church where almost all the kings of France are buried --
for extra credit find the resting place of Marie Antoinette --
follow the Bievres river, now covered, to where it flows into the Seine --
follow the Medicis Aqueduct from the suburbs to the Luxembourg gardens --
splurge on a meal at one of Paris' finest restaurants (hint: lunch is cheaper, and be sure to reserve well in advance) --
sign up for a cooking or wine tasting class --
visit the unseen corners of the metro -- Visit the Roman arena -- go for a chocolate crawl --
have a picnic in the Parc de Sceaux -- hike in the forest of Fontainebleau --
Follow Victor Hugo to the
Chateau des Roches
and visit the photography museum in Bievres -- see splayed trees in Versailles...
- Can't be bothered?
Sit in a café and finish that proof.
(Organizers' favorite: Café de la Nouvelle Mairie,
around the corner from IHP.
19-21, Rue des Fossés-Saint-Jacques.)
Bastille Day festivities
- The evening of the 13th, two outdoor concerts at the
Place de la Bastille. (Program in French)
- July 14th starts at 9 AM with the traditional military parade down
the Champs Elysees,
complete with an impressive array of infantry, cavalry,
tanks and armored vehicles,
as well as parachutists and low-flying planes flying in formation.
- There will be a concert (Johnny Hallyday) at 8 on the
Champs de Mars,
- The evening ends with fireworks around 10:45 PM,
in front of the Eiffel Tower, celebrating its 120th birthday this year.
(Plan on walking back to your hotel, as the RER and
Metro stop running a bit after midnight
and get extremely crowded.
Often the stations near the more crowded sites are closed as well.)