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A view over the rooftops of Paris
A view over the rooftops of Paris | © Moyan Brenn / Flickr
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What to See and Do in Paris in April

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 28 March 2018
There may be April showers, but springtime in Paris promises to bring a wide range of exciting cultural events. From marathons to jazz festivals, fairgrounds and newly opened theme parks and exhibitions, there’s something for everyone.

MUSIC│ Dance at Banlieue Bleues Paris Jazz Festival

📅 From now until Friday 13 April 2018

Banlieues Bleues Festival is an annual jazz music festival held in Seine-Saint-Denis, bringing the northern suburbs of Paris to life. The event was founded in 1984 making it one of Paris’s longest running, and most successful events. In 2018, there’s a host of major new jazz talents topping the bill with names such as Shabaka Hutchings and Lucky Peterson, though the focus is wide-ranging with an eclectic programme of jazz and blues music from across the globe. It’s only a little hop on the metro from the centre, and is well worth the trip.

📍 Banlieue Bleues, 9, rue Gabrielle Josserand, 93500 Pantin, France, +33 1 49 22 10 10

Jazz festival is a must visit in April
Jazz festival is a must visit in April | © herb1979/Pixabay

FUNFAIR│ Enjoy the attractions at the Foire du Trône

📅 April 1 – 27 May 2018

Believe it or not, the annual Paris fair (Foire du Trône) is the oldest traditional funfair in France, dating back to the rule of Lothair in AD957. Here, you can rediscover sweet childhood pleasures of rides and attractions such as duck fishing, bouncy castles, rollercoasters and the ‘big wheel’. Once you’ve had your fill of rides, make sure to sample something tasty from the numerous food stalls wafting scents of their tastiest fairground classics such as crêpes, candy floss and toffee apples. Opening in April, it will be open until 27 May.

📍Foire du Trone, Pelouse de Reuilly 75012 Paris, France, +33 7 58 28 04 29

RIDES│ Go wild at Parc Astérix amusement park

📅 Wednesday 5 April – Monday 21 August

Parc Astérix is a well-loved theme amusement park in France, based on the hilarious comic book series Astérix by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny, and it’s only just reopening after months of closure. It is situated approximately 35km (22 miles) north of Paris, so is easily reachable by public transport or car, packed with enough rollercoasters, ghost rides, dodgems, and meet-and-greets to keep you going for hours.

The park also promises a historic day of thrills, as it has begun incorporating rides and themes from cultures such as the Gauls, Romans, ancient Greeks and the Egyptians. A highlight of the hilarious live shows include stories, such as that of a Gaulish spy trying to infiltrate a Roman camp. This attraction is for adventure-lovers and adrenaline-junkies.

Tickets: from €49 for adults

📍 Parc Astérix, 60128 Plailly, France, +33 826 46 66 26

ART│ Marvel at the art of pastel from Degas to Redon

📅 From 1-8 April 2018

Painting is often seen as superior to pastels, but this brave exhibition at the Petit Palais called ‘The Art of Pastel‘ proves us all wrong. Showcasing magnificent pastels from 19th century and early 20th-century masters, such as Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, Mary Cassatt and Paul Gauguin, you’ll emerge from the exhibition seeing the world in a softer, more beautiful light.

Mary Cassatt’s A Goodnight Hug
Mary Cassatt’s A Goodnight Hug | © Flickr / Plum Leaves

The exhibition closes on 8th April, but there’s still enough time to discover how the delicate yet dynamic impressionist’s technique has captivated art historians for decades. It’s a rare chance to get up close to the work of Mary Cassatt, the only American member of the Impressionist movement. Her contribution to the Impressionism has largely stayed in the shadows, but with new exhibitions like this, that is all about to change.

Tickets: € 7-10, free for under 18s

📍 Le Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill 75008 Paris, France, +33 1 53 43 40 00

CARS│ Admire vintage cars at the Grand Palais

📅 23-28 April 2018

The Grand Palais offers a surprising sight to see in Paris this April, with a host of treasured vintage cars chosen to take part in the 26th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 before they hit the road. Particularly showcasing Italian brands, you can marvel at classic models such as Autobianchi, De Tomaso and Osca. The excitement starts on 23 April and is set to gather thousands of vintage car fans who come to admire the exceptional vehicles.

📍The Grand Palais, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris, France, +33 1 44 13 17 17

Vintage car
Vintage car | © Pixabay/Pexels

ART│ Rediscover Picasso with ‘Guernica’ exhibition

📅 1 April – 29 July 2018

Arguably, the main aspect of culture that Paris has to offer is art, enticing millions of tourists to flock to its museums each year. The Picasso National Museum, in partnership with the National Museum Reina Sofía Art Center in Spain, should definitely be on the art-enthusiast’s list this April, as they unveil an exhibition about Guernica, Picasso’s masterpiece. Not only will you dive into archives, sketches and documents that detail the history of Guernica, but you’ll also learn about Picasso’s political engagement, which is something that other museums don’t offer. It’s a must-see.

Tickets: €11-12.50

📍 Picasso National Museum, 5 rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris, France, +33 1 85 56 00 36

ART│ From Calder to Koons, discover the artist as jeweller

📅 1 April – 8 July 2018

The Louvre and Pompidou museums are not the only art centres that Paris has to offer. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is exhibiting some of the most beautiful jewellery designed by famous artists such as Picasso and Jeff Koons, an event that is sure to widen your perception of what counts as works of art. The unusual exhibition displays 250 items of jewellery, including necklaces, earrings and brooches, and there’s even rare pieces designed by Salvador Dali, as well as Max Ernst, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor. The gift shop has a fabulous selection of souvenirs.

📍Musee des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France, +33 1 44 55 57 50

SPORT│ Get fit with the Marathon de Paris

📅 7 April 2018

The 42nd edition of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, one of the world’s top races, attracts nearly 57,000 participants each year. Its 42km stretch is one of the most scenic events you could wish for, winding past the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, you won’t be short of inspiration to hit the finish line. It’s a unique way to discover the city for the most daring of sightseers, bolting round the capital as fast as you can! Of course, there might be an April shower or two but, this is a welcome relief during a marathon. If you’d rather watch from the sidelines, why not cheer on the runners instead in what promises to be a hugely convivial ambiance?