The best things to do in Paris throughout the year
A month by month guide
Paris is a dreamy city with a vibrant personality unlike anywhere else in Europe. It is a place where romantics and culture lovers can find joy alongside people seeking excitement and adventure in a thriving modern metropolis. History and culture seep out of the city’s most-visited neighborhoods. And the world-famous attractions need no introduction. Yet alongside the world-class museums and art galleries, there is a lot more to see and do.
Paris continually bubbles with events and activities, often hidden in neighborhoods that tourists overlook. Whatever month you visit, there is sure to be something compelling going on somewhere in the city. From beloved annual events to little-known gems, we’ve pulled together all our knowledge of the city to create an expert guide to help you make the most of your trip to the French capital. From January to December, we shine a light on the best things to do in Paris throughout the year for the ultimate Paris vacation.
Paris in January
After the festive highs of Christmas and New Year, you might expect Paris in January to feel a little flat. Yet if you know what to look for, you’ll find some fantastic things to do in Paris in January. There’s still a short window to catch the tail-end of festive activities like the ice-skating rinks and Christmas markets that light up public spaces around famous landmarks. January is also a month when spending time indoors in the warmth is à la mode. It is a month to crowd into colorful cafés to enjoy a chocolat chaud Parisien or a slice of the seasonal favorite, galette des rois.
The good news is that several engaging activities take place under roofs. Foremost among them is the Big Top of Cirque Phénix, where circus fans are entertained by the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (World Circus Festival of Tomorrow.) Above all, January is a time to seek out bright and uplifting activities, like the Atelier des Lumières (Light workshop) or the harness racing spectacle of the Grand Prix d’Amérique. And, of course, the start of the January sales that sees department stores fill up with bargain-hunting shoppers. If you’re wondering how to make the most of the post-Noël lull, we’ve picked out all our favorite things to do in Paris in January.
Paris in February
Paris shakes off the January blues this month and gets back into a groove that sets a pattern for the year to come. Top of the agenda is the boisterous carnival of Mardi Gras and the start of the Six Nations rugby tournament. Both events are perennial favorites in Paris and across France, especially the Six Nations. The world’s oldest rugby tournament visits the Stade de France in Paris for live matches, but you can find bars across the city filled with impassioned fans as France once again makes a bid for rugby glory.
February is also all about romance as Valentine’s Day sees la ville d’amour (city of love) welcome loving couples from around the world. Paris is fully geared up in February to help visitors make the most of romantic getaways, with gastronomic river cruises and fine-dining restaurants hosting intimate dinners. If romance is off the table, you can look forward to two pancake days in Paris (France goes crazy for crêpes on Chandeleur, not Shrove Tuesday.) You can also look forward to the first hints of spring and visiting some of the city’s most popular attractions without big crowds. It is a wonderful time to bathe in the light of the stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle or see the breathtaking interior of Palais Garnier. For romantics and visitors looking to escape the winter cold, our guide has everything you need to know to get the best out of Paris in February.
Paris in the spring
Paris in March
Spring is in the air in Paris in March. That means more outdoor events and activities, with some notable sporting events and cultural exhibitions to look forward to. Two hotly-anticipated events are the climax of the Six Nations rugby tournament and the Saut Hermès equestrian show. The city’s public spaces also burst into life as the days get warmer and longer. March sees the historically important Fête des Blanchisseuses (Laundressess Festival) take place in the city center. Meanwhile, the first shoots of spring make the picturesque parks of Paris extra-delightful places to explore. March is also when we bid joyeux anniversaire to the Eiffel Tower (136 years old in 2023) and raise a glass on Saint Patrick’s Day in Irish pubs across Paris.
Finally, several art events will appeal to culture seekers, including a chance to see craftspeople at work in their studios during the Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (European Artistic Crafts Days.) Meanwhile, the exciting documentary festival, Cinéma du Réel, gets underway at the Pompidou Center. With the days noticeably warming up and the winter grey dissipating, Paris in March delivers a variety of events to entertain locals and visitors. You can find them all in our guide for Paris in March.
Paris in April
Paris in April offers a diverse mix of things to do. From the sprawling Foire de Paris, a fixture since 1904, to the famous musical fountains at Versailles. Easter tops the agenda, and there is no shortage of chocolate-fueled fun in Paris. It is the ideal time to explore the city’s deliciously fun Chocolate Museum and seek out some of the finest chocolates in France.
To offset chocolate binges, there is the vibrant and fun Color Run. For more serious runners, the Paris Marathon is in town. With spring well underway, the beautiful parks of Paris are in full bloom and ripe for exploring. With visitor numbers low throughout the month, April is a fantastic time to immerse yourself in city life and enjoy overlooked parts of Paris. To help you find your way, we’ve documented all the best things to do in Paris in April.
Paris in May
You can almost taste the approaching summer in May as Paris bursts with renewed sun-dappled energy. On the social calendar are some fantastic free events, many outdoors. Leading the way is the ever-popular Sonique Villette music festival. A free event in the lively Parc de la Villette and the first signal that summer is about to begin. You can also see the seasonal changes enrich public spaces during the Fête de la nature that brings the city parks to life with free events.
Paris in May also sees art and cultural destinations open their doors, from the Night of the Museums to the open studios of the edgy Belleville district. There is also time to enjoy uplifting events like the Holi Festival and Tous à l’Opéra (everybody at the Opera.) May is filled with public holidays in Paris. You can see the smiles throughout Paris as workers down tools and enjoy many fun and exciting activities. You’ll find them all in our compilation of the best things to do in Paris in May.
Summer in Paris
Paris in June
With summer breaking the city horizon, Paris in June brims with energy. June is the final month before the Les grande vacances, yet benefits from all the sunny joys of summer. Topping the agenda is a series of free musical events and street parties. The musical parties include the Fnac festival outside the majestic Hôtel-de-Ville and a jazz festival in the business district, La Défense. And there are a couple of other music festivals lighting up the neighborhoods of Paris, all captured in our guide to the month. Paris’s love of film also takes center stage with the Champs-Élysées Film Festival and the convivial open-air screenings at the Festival des Canotiers.
Pride also hits Paris during June, with two-weeks of LGBTQ+ events culminating in the Pride parade. Above all, June is a prime time to explore the cultural landscape of Paris. It is summer without the tourist crowds. It’s a golden time to get the most out of museums and art galleries without long lines. With the summer vacations just around the corner, Parisians are gearing up for the seasonal madness, and there is much to do in Paris in June. Jump into our guide to discover what is on offer throughout the city.
Paris in July
Les grande vacances (the big vacation) gets underway in July. Travelers from around the globe head to Paris, while Parisians head in the opposite direction for their summer break. The city crackles with energy as summer reaches a crescendo, with numerous exciting events and activities throughout the city. If you can’t join the Parisians heading to the coast, you can pretend you’re at the seaside during the exceptionally popular Paris Plages (Paris Beaches,) and cool off in pools in the Bassin de la Villette. The chances are high that you’ll want to cool off after enjoying many of the exciting things to do in Paris in July. It is a month to enjoy open-air festivals and cheer home the riders in the Tour de France.
The biggest event of all occurs on July 14, as France celebrates la Fête Nationale Française, better known as Bastille Day. Le 14 Juillet sees an impressive military parade and air show on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, followed by evening fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. It is a huge day for Paris and one of the most exciting events all year. July is also a time to simply savor Paris’s more easygoing activities. An opportunity to enjoy the outdoor spaces of Paris in warm sunshine, from café terraces to beautiful parks. If you’re looking for inspiration for what to do in Paris in July, we’ve got you covered in our expert guide to all the best events and activities.
Paris in August
The hot, sultry month of August is when Parisians like to take their vacations. That means fewer big events in Paris in August, but no shortage of amazing things to do if you know where to look. Even though locally organized events slow and major landmarks and museums steal the limelight, there are still festivals and events popping up throughout the month. They include the Rock en Seine music festival and the free outdoor movie screenings during the Cinéma en Plein air de la Villette. August is also the time to make the most of Paris’s outdoor spaces, such as the rooftop bars that only open for the summer.
There are also some diverting events taking place in parks and city squares. They include the bizarre yet thrilling Silhouette film festival and the many events that light up the city center during the Festival Paris l’Eté (summer festival of Paris.) If you’re ready to check out some of the best things to do in Paris in August, jump into our guide to make your summer vacation plans complete.
Autumn in Paris
Paris in September
The pace of life slows in Paris during September. But only if you’re a tourist. Parisians are busy returning to work during la rentrée (the return). If you can visit Paris in September, you’re in for a treat. The weather retains a summer feel, yet the most popular museums and art galleries are quiet. Meanwhile, restaurants and markets start changing their offerings as fall approaches and the harvest season gets underway.
With Parisians back at their desks Monday to Friday, the city returns to hosting weekend events to entertain locals. From a much-needed car-free day in the city center to the free museums during the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, there are some unique events to enjoy. Plus, there are numerous events to help Parisians to blow off steam. They include Paris’s famous techno parade and the politically charged Fête de l’Humanité. We cover them all in our guide that details what to do in Paris in September.
Paris in October
Those in the know will tell you Paris in October is a joy. Low visitor numbers combine with pretty autumnal days that make exploring the city a rare delight. You can also look forward to several cultural highlights in October. The ever-popular Nuit Blanche sees museums and art galleries throw open their doors for a cultural night to remember. And the harvest season is marked with some notable events, including the colorful Fête des Vendanges harvest procession in beautiful Montmarte.
There are also world-class fairs like the fabled car show Mondial de l’Auto and the Festival d’Automne à Paris. Capping the month is Halloween, with Disneyland Paris leading the festivities. If you thought October in Paris would be quiet, our guide will illustrate why visiting Paris during the month is a secret visitors like to keep to themselves.
Paris at christmas
Paris in November
You can feel the chill in Paris as winter approaches and Noël looms into view. While the city braces for the Christmas season, you’ll find plenty of events and activities to ward off the encroaching cold. Events range from the seasonal — Beaujolais Nouveau tastings, for example — to sporting action at the annual tennis event, the Rolex Paris Masters. As events move indoors, you’ll also be able to enjoy events like Paris Games Week and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Of course, you don’t need to seek out busy events to enjoy Paris in November. You can make the most of the quiet fall ambiance that pervades the parks, restaurants, and markets that make Paris so beautiful in autumn. If you need inspiration, we’ve gathered all our favorite things to do in Paris in November in one guide to help you make the most of Paris in the fall.
Paris in December
December in Paris is overtaken by Christmas celebrations. From the million lightbulbs illuminating the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Christmas markets that appear near iconic landmarks. If you visit Paris in December, you can enjoy festive foods like vin chaud (warm wine) and a mouthwatering Bûche de Noël, which looks as good as it tastes. There is much to see and do in Paris in December. Ice-skating rinks, festive displays, and Christmas mass in ancient churches cater to every interest.
And then there is the Réveillon du Nouvel An (New Year’s Eve) to look forward to. The highlight of New Year is the countdown and fireworks on Avenue des Champs-Élysées. But parties can be found everywhere, including in famous cabaret halls and on ships cruising the Seine. December is a month when Paris fills with festive wonders. It probably doesn’t need saying, but we’ve distilled the best of Paris in December into a handy guide to help you enjoy the most magical month in Paris.
Ich liebe die Vielfalt Europas und kann mich an Edinburgh, Lissabon und London garnicht sattsehen! Mein größtes Glück ist aber trotzdem das schöne Schweden. Irgendwann wird man mich nurnoch in meiner einsamen Hütte an einem See im Nirgendwo finden...
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