Whilst by September, the season for sipping coffee on Parisian terraces late into the summer evening might slowly be coming to an end, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop – far from it.
There’s still time to hit Paris’ city beach and take a dip, then chill out at a jazz or classical music festival afterwards. From art exhibitions to festivals and even fireworks, here’s a round-up of some of the exciting cultural events kicking off in Paris this September.
SPORTS │ Paris Beach │ September 1 – September 2
If you’re quick enough, you can still grab your beach towel and soak up some rays at Paris’ famous city beach festival, ‘Paris Plages’, which lines the banks of the River Seine and the Villette canal until September 2. You can even go swimming in the Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement if you fancy to cool down from the sweltering Parisian heat
. It’s the largest artificial lake in the City of Light at 800 metres long and 70 metres wide, so don’t worry about it feeling cramped. There’s also a range of water sports that include kayaking, canoeing and even stand-up paddle-boarding.
MUSIC │ Jazz à La Villette │ August 31 – September 13
Immerse yourself in Paris’ jazz legacy at the annual Jazz à La Villette
. What’s fantastic about this festival is that it has an international focus, bringing talent from around the world into the Parisian spotlight, and the varied bill celebrates emerging stars alongside famous names. Under The Radar is a particularly popular event as it highlights upcoming artists, unique initiatives and experimental projects. Whether you’re a fan of jazz music or not, the live set offers a great opportunity to unwind and relax. The festival is famed for its convivial and cosy ambiance too, where music lovers can meet, mingle and relax.Tickets: €38 to €20 for the main program and €12 for the Under the Radar shows.
FIREWORKS │ Fountains Night Show at Versailles │ September 1-15
The Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles), which is located only 10 miles (16 kilometres) southwest of Paris, is one of the most stunning royal castles in France. It was built by Louis XIII in 1624 and boasts lavishness at every turn. The first two weeks of September is a brilliant time of year to visit Versailles because the paths of the palace gardens, fountains and water features are brought to life with enchanting effects and music every evening. The Colonnade Grove is illuminated by fluorescent green lasers, the Encelade grove is full of swirling mist and, most extravagantly, the Tapis Vert (a vast expanse of lawn) bursts into jets of flames. The evening concludes with an epic fireworks display, accompanied with music from the era of Louis XIV, in front of the Grand Canal.Tickets: €22 to €26.
DESIGN │ Paris Design Week │ September 6 – September 15
Paris is world-famous for its fashion and that’s largely because of annual events such as Paris Design Week. The event is an exciting international platform for young and emerging design talent that transforms Paris, for one week only, into the international capital of design. This year will be bigger and better than ever. There will be more than 300 designers hailing from all over the world to exhibit their latest creations, taking over more than 200 venues. This includes galleries, design schools, workshops and creative studios, as well as bigger landmarks like La Maison Rouge and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. The festival showcases everything from furniture and fashion to home décor and delicious gastronomy.
📍 Various galleries, design schools, workshops and creative studios in Paris.
MUSIC │ Classique au Vert │ August 5 – September 2
Art Gallery, Park
If you prefer the tranquility of classical music to the thrill of jazz, then you’re in luck. For the past 20 years, Classique au Vert
has merged the majesty of classical music with the joy of being in nature. It’s become one of the most anticipated music festivals of the year. The festival stages a host of open-air concerts on Saturdays and Sundays during the first weekend of September, and there’s simply no excuse not to visit given that live bands promise to serenade you free of charge. You don’t have to buy any tickets to the concerts, all you have to do is rock up at Parc Floral de Paris and contribute a small €2.50 fee to enter the park.Tickets: Free.
GARDENS│ The Ultimate Garden Party│September 22 – September 23
With the arrival of autumn, the parks and gardens of Paris fling open their gates as part of the city’s biggest garden festival of the year. For nearly 20 years, The Ultimate Garden Party has brought together thousands of visitors over this one weekend to discover or rediscover the green spaces of the capital. A total of 40 places are open to visitors such as Parc Monceau (8th district), Georges Brassens Park (15th district) and Parc de Bercy (12th district). The festival offers a rich educational programme about environment and ecology aimed at both the young and the old. There will also be entertainment animations, guided tours, games, gardening workshops, concerts, demonstrations and walks, geared towards all tastes and all ages.
📍 Various parks and gardens across Paris.
ART │ L’Atelier des Lumières │ September – December
No visit to the French capital is complete without a trip to a gallery or museum, and the Walk Inside Paintings exhibition
at Atelier des Lumières
has been causing a storm of excitement in the art world. The exhibition invites guests to stroll around inside blown-up versions of famous paintings, utterly submerging themselves in the splendour of the creation. It’s unlike anything the city has seen before. There are no fewer than 120 video projectors in use across an epic 3,300 square metres, flooding the walls, floors and even ceilings with art. This ultra-immersive experience 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
ART │ Eugène Delacroix retrospective │ June 21 – October 23
If the Walk Inside Paintings exhibition sounds a little too contemporary for your liking, then don’t worry. The city is steeped in classical art as well. If there’s one classical art exhibition worth putting in your diary over the next two months, then it is Delacroix
at the Louvre in Paris. In collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York, the Louvre is staging a historic exhibition of epic proportions – there are 180 widely overlooked works on display. What’s so special is that it is the first major retrospective on Eugène Delacroix
in more than half a century, with the last retrospective taking place in 1963, the centenary year of his death. The exhibition also proves that there was far more to the artist than the – albeit incredible – French Revolution-inspired painting La Liberté Guidant le Peuple
(Liberty Leading the People
) for which he is most famous, by showing lesser-known masterpieces, too.Tickets: €15