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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's On: The Best Things to Do in Paris in May

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 18 June 2018
With the weather gearing up for summer, there are festivals kicking off throughout Paris in May. Whether you want to chill on a terrasse listening to live jazz or perfect your culinary skills, marvel at the latest artistic exhibitions or sit back and enjoy the tennis, there’s something in France’s capital city for everyone.

FOOD │ Taste of Paris

📅 17-20 May 2018

A visit to Paris in May means you can make the most of its gastronomic excellence with the hotly anticipated festival, Taste of Paris. It’s the ultimate place to perfect your culinary skills in the capital of cuisine. You’ll be transformed into a top chef during the 45-minute hands-on sessions at the Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets Theatre, learning directly from the masters. What’s great is that the cooking sessions are free, but places must be reserved on-site so be sure to arrive early. You’ll be able to meet and chat with some top chefs and artisanal producers, and take part in a range of delicious tastings.

Tickets: from €18 to €72

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

ART │ Nuits des Musées

📅 May 19 2018

Paris has always been an art-lover’s paradise, with impressionist treasures at the Musée d’Orsay, mind-bending contemporary masterpieces at the Centre Pompidou and, of course, the world’s largest art museum, The Louvre. But there’s absolutely no better time to marvel at these wonders than in May when the city stages its 14th edition of Nuits des Musées. Not only will more than 100 museums and cultural spaces in Paris stay open well beyond their usual hours, letting you discover masterpieces in the moonlight. But there’ll also be hundreds of special events, workshops, screenings and concerts planned. What’s fantastic is that you can gain free entrance to many museums with guided visits on this day.

Tickets: Free.

📍 All across Paris.

MUSIC │ Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés Festival

📅 May 24 – June 4 2018

The season for sipping coffee on French terraces until late in the evening really starts to kick off in May, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than soaking up the sunny outdoors at a jazz festival. Founded in 2001, the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés celebrates its 18th year in 2018 with a whole host of concerts and events taking over historic spots, cafés and theatres right across the Left Bank. Some of the greatest stars the festival has attracted include Norah Jones, Manu Dibango, and Paolo Fresu in the stunning surrounds of Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, the Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and even the impressive Sénat.

Tickets: €88 to €10.

📍 Across Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

MUSIC │ Paris Ukulele Festival

📅 Friday, May 12 – Sunday, May 14

Paris is buzzing with music in May as the weather and mood begins to brighten, but it’s not just the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival that’s on the everyone’s must-visit list. Paris Ukelele Festival is a great festival of fun whose most anticipated acts this year include the Mim’s Ukes Sideshow Stage, Late Night Cabaret and Unplug the Wood. This tribute to the tiny musical instrument of the ukulele will also provide an open stage with the opportunity to showcase your own talents, as well as letting you take part in exciting hands-on workshops and masterclasses.

Tickets: €20 to €10.

📍 La Bellevilloise, 19-21 Rue Boyer, 75020 Paris, France, +33 1 46 36 07 07

SPORTS │ Roland Garros

📅 22 May to 11 June 2018

Forget Wimbledon, because the end of May is when the Roland Garros comes to Paris, hotly anticipated by all sports-loving fans across France and beyond. A major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, it’s one of the largest sporting events of the year. The spectacle welcomes an array of stars from the tennis world all fighting for the Coupe des Mousquetaires and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the men’s and women’s competitions. The adrenaline-fuelled match is usually screened to a huge audience gathered by the Eiffel Tower for those who didn’t manage to get a ticket, and of course, will be showing in all the local bars too.

The biggest tennis match in France | © Ji-Elle / WikiCommons

Tickets: Tickets prices vary.

📍 Roland Garros, Avenue Gordon Bennett, 75016 Paris, France, +33 1 47 43 51 91

ART │Artists & Robots

📅 from now until July 9, 2018

The new Artists & Robots exhibition at The Grand Palais invites the most curious and daring spectators to experience works created by artists with the aid of intelligent robots. It’s a truly revolutionary exhibition, one that suggests an interesting new direction for the future of art. Not only does it offer an overdue departure from traditional mediums of presenting and interacting with artistic creations, but it also validates artificial intelligence and robotics as a form of art. There are around 30 works on show, flirting with themes of augmented reality and artificial intelligence, where space and time are completely upturned, this event offers a mind-blowing glimpse into the limitless potential of an interactive virtual world.

Tickets: 15,00 € for full price tickets and €11 for under 25-year-olds

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

PETER KOGLER’s Untitled, 2018
PETER KOGLER’s Untitled, 2018 | © Aldo Paredes for la Rmn-Grand Palais, 2018

ART │Walk Inside Paintings Exhibition

📅 May-December 2018

Atelier des Lumières has just opened a brand new exhibition where you can walk around inside blown-up versions of famous paintings, utterly submerging yourself in the splendour of the creation. There are no fewer than 120 video projectors in use across an epic 3,300 square metres. This means that the walls, floors and even ceilings are flooded with art to curate an ultra-immersive experience. It includes work by Gustav Klimt and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, two artists born in Vienna. During the 19th century, Klimt was a dressmaker and artist, producing a series of portraits and landscapes, while the work of Hundertwasser boldly flaunts abstract shapes and bright colours.

Tickets: from €9.50

📍 L’Atelier des Lumières, 38 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris, France, +33 1 80 98 46 02

Explore art in a new way at Atelier des Lumieres
Explore art in a new way at Atelier des Lumieres | © Culturespaces / E.Spiller

FUNFAIR│ Enjoy the attractions at the Foire du Trône

📅 From now until 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, and May is the last month when you can enjoy its delights. Here, you can rediscover sweet childhood pleasures of rides and attractions such as duck fishing, bouncy castles, roller coasters 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. Great fun for the young and the young at heart.

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

RIDES│ Go wild at Parc Astérix amusement park

📅 From now until 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 roller coasters, 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