Friday, December 7, 2012

Something for the Weekend (December 7th - 9th)

As almost all events organised this weekend seem to have some link to shopping, but here are some that at least offer a little more.

Little Paradis
The area around the Rue de Paradis in the 10th arrondissement has slowly come to be filled with galleries and the stores of young creators, as well as the associated bars and restaurants that seem to crop up in support of these. Once a year the area organises a noctural event, enabling people to discover the outlets, but also to attend concerts and tastings.

Saturday December 8th, 7pm - 11pm

A Swedish Christmas
Instead of going to Ikea, head down to the Swedish church in Paris for small gifts, a glass of glögg and to stock up on salmon, herring and cakes. Who knows - you may even bump into Zlatan...

Saturday and Sunday, 
Eglise suédoise
9, rue Médéric 75017

Here too are a couple of interesting current exhibitions to visit in Paris.

Rêve de Monuments
Describing itself as 'the biggest gothic hall' in France, where better than the Conciergerie for an exhibition on imaginary medieval constructions? Through paintings, film and models the show investigates the role of the château in art and culture.

Until Feb 24th 2013

Entrée des médiums - Spiritisme et art d’Hugo à Breton
An exhibition that explores, in literature and art - the role of spiritism and mediums in the creative process, both as theme and influence. A good place perhaps to look for the ghosts of christmas past, present and future in the run up to the holiday period.

Until Jan 20th 2013
Maison de Victor Hugo
6 place des Vosges


Friday, November 30, 2012

Something for the Weekend (November 30th - December 2nd)

As Christmas approaches, interesting events are harder to find, but here are a couple of strangely vintage suggestions for the weekend.

Reminder: It is the first Sunday of the month, so that means plenty of free museums. You can find a complete list of the participating museums here.

Wonder Vintage Market
At the giant 104 arts centre this weekend is a vintage 1950s bric à brac sale. Around a selection of vintage cars (including a Delorean), you'll find 700m² of stands selling clothes, accessories, furniture and various other items. To complete the atmosphere you can also have your portrait taken in a re-created 1950s kitchen!

Bon Plan: If you find the prices a little steep at the vintage market, head into the Emmaüs charity store that has set up shop in the old Riquet indoor market opposite the 104. Prices should be far lower, and all purchases are for a good cause!

Jazz Band Ball
If you find a good vintage outfit at the vintage market, why not try it out at a dance being held this Saturday night at the town hall of the 5th arrondissement. No fewer than six different big band orchestras will be performing, and the venue will certainly be chic.

More information here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Something for the Weekend (November 23rd - 25th)

Black Friday
Black Friday is an American post-Thanksgiving commercial frenzy, but it's also - more interestingly - the winter edition of Record Store Day. Join in with the event in Paris at Fargo, where you'll be able to purchase many of the special vinyl releases created for the occasion. 

Salon des Vins des Vignerons Independents
Celebrating the production of independent wine producers across France, this event will enable you to stock up on top quality wine at low prices in time for the holidays. As you enter you are given a souvenir glass to take around the show with you, that you fill up at any stand that takes your fancy. On top of that, it is quite easy to find free entrance vouchers in the press and online - here for example!

November 22nd - 26th, Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles

L'Envers du Décor: Open Days
This Sunday, seven of Paris's leading photo studios will be opening their doors - a rare opportunity to see how these mysterious places operate and to discover some interesting spaces.

Find the full list of participating studios here: 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Something for the Weekend (November 16th - 18th)

This weekend in Paris seems to be purely dedicated to photography. Here are a few of the events.

Paris Photo
The big photo event of the weekend is Paris Photo under the glass roof of the Grand Palais. For its 16th edition, it brings together over 150 exhibitors (galeries and publishers) displaying the photos of over 1000 photographers.

Big event in prestigious location means big prices though. Entrance is €28!

Photo Off
When there are big events though there are also smaller 'off' events. Supporting young and emerging photographers, Photo Off at the Bellevilloise also brings together galleries and photographers, but also a 'Photo Off' prize for best gallery, and a 'Photo After' evening event with live music.

Mois de la Photo
After taking a break last year, the Paris-wide 'mois de la photo' (photo month) event sees exhibitions and happenings throughout the city during the whole of November.

See the official website for full details of all the events:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Something for the Weekend (November 9th - 11th)

Some interesting things to do in Paris this weekend.

Braderie Sol en Si 
Judging by the lights in the streets and the windows of the main department stores Christmas is coming soon. This event - a sale of clothes and goods donated by top brands in aid of an AIDS charity - is your chance to find some bargains and donate to a good cause at the same time.

Saturday and Sunday at La Cartonnerie, M°Goncourt

Salon de la Photo 
The Salon de la Photo is the biggest photography event of the year in Paris, covering both equipment and the art of photography.

Entrance to the event, at the Porte de Versailles, costs normally 11 Euros, but you can get a free invitation by filling in this form: The invitation should arrive immediately afterwards by e-mail.

Food truck festival
There was a time when the food track served nourishment to the common man, but now instead of being parked up alongside a construction site, they are invited to festivals in the courtyard of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Vans from Denmark, Marseille and New York will be serving the food, at €30 Euros a pop.

Paris Polar
First mystery of this crime fiction festival is deciphering the (noir) website. Once cracked, you'll learn that at the town hall of the 13th arrondissement there will be two days of readings, debates, conferences and the chance to meet several leading authors.

More information (if you look hard enough) here:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Something for the Weekend (October 26th - 28th)

Make the most of this weekend - it will last one hour longer than all the others this year! That said, it's a rather quiet weekend in Paris with no major events scheduled, but here are a few ideas for you to make the most of that extra hour nevertheless.

Street Fishing
This Saturday, over 200 anglers will gather on the Seine for the Open Street de Paris 2012 fishing event. They will be coming from far and wide too - including Belgium and Holland - all for the opportunity to see who can pull the most fish from the river (before of course safely putting them back in again - as the 'street fishing' community likes to point out, this is the 'no-kill generation'!)

The meeting point is on the Quai des Célestins (M° Sully Morland) on Saturday morning, but you'll be able to observe them in action all day along the Seine near the Ile Saint Louis. 

After the fishing is over, you'll also be able to mix with the participants at the excellently-named 'Night fishing is not a crime' Hip-Hop and reggae post-event part at Le Petit Bain.

For more information on the philosophy of street fishing, read the article I published on Invisible Paris:

Foire d'Automne
Although we're passing into winter time this weekend, this show reminds us that we're still very much in autumn. Seemingly a curious mix of vegetables and interior decoration, it should at least give you the opportunity to taste food and wine and follow a series of cookery lessons. 

Entrance to the fair is normally €8, but you can get free tickets by clicking on the following link and using the code 'MATIN':

MaMa Festival
Music is à la fête this weekend in Montmartre with over 80 concerts in 20 different locations across the 9th and 18th arrondissements. In some ways it is a kind of mini SXSW festival, organised each year in Austin, Texas, but probably with a bit less sun.

The event is also a convention for the independant music industry, with a series of debates and conferences being organised - although these will probably only be of interest to those working in the industry.

More information:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Something for the Weekend (October 19th - 21st)

Another weekend, another list of ideas...

Every year I seem to say that same thing when I look at the FIAC event - €35 for a ticket! I honestly find it difficult to imagine who is ready to pay that kind of money, but then again I guess there are plenty of people who wonder exactly who pays €50 to go and watch a PSG game.

Of course, like top-level football, no-one is interested in making modern art democratic and affordable, and it is in fact in everyone's interest (artists, dealers, collectors) to keep it exclusive. If you've got money to burn (or are interested in watching other people burn theirs, you'll find all the information you need at this link:

Those with smaller budgets needn't feel completely excluded though, as several - free! - outdoor projects have also been organised:

With the FIAC monster in town, other events have sprung up to try and attract collectors towards 'under the radar' galleries and 'emerging' artists. Cutlog, at the Bourse de Commerce de Paris is the principal event for this market - and entrance is only €10!

Paris Burlesque Festival
Now in its 4th edition and firmly established in the annual calendar of events in Paris, the Burlesque festival mixes performances with live music, cinema, discussions and exhibitions. This year's theme is the 'Fiesta de la Muerte', or a celebration of the Mexican day of the dead!

The Baron Samedi's 5th birthday
A little while ago I wrote about my local bar and one of the interesting events that is organised there (incidently, Sylvanie de Lutece will be organising some events at the Paris Burlesque festival, mentioned above). Given the often short life-span of neighbourhood bars in Paris, I'm pleased to announce that it will be celebrating its 5th birthday this Friday. Come and help them blow out the candles!

Demain dans ma vie
An interesting open days event this weekend is the 'demain dans ma vie' (tomorrow in my life) initiative. It aims to put a focus on the role Paris plays in the research and development field - across all disciplines - by opening the doors of the various specialised centres around the city. As well as giving us the opportunity to see some pretty cool new technology (3D virtual reality visits around Paris at the 104 centre...), it also gives us the chance to visit some interesting locations around the city (a converted electricity sub-station in the 15th arrondissement...).

The full programme and list of participating locations can be found here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Something for the Weekend (October 12th - 14th)

After a brief hiatus last weekend, Paris Weekends is back with more suggestions for things to do in Paris.

The Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre
Incredible though it may seem, this event, which celebrates the grape harvest on the slopes of Montmartre, is the third most attended event of the year in Paris, after the Nuit Blanche and Paris Plages. I'm not sure how they actually go about counting these things, but what is sure is that it will be a busy, noisy, tipsy event!

It is basically a celebration of food and drink, with a parade and fireworks on Saturday. Strangely enough, for an event that celebrates grapes, one of the most interesting events could be the Saturday evening beer conference and tasting session (followed by punk concert!) at the Centre musical Fleury Goutte d'Or.


20 kilomètres de Paris
A far more healthy event this weekend will be the annual 20km run around the streets of Paris. Over 25,000 people will be setting off from the Pont d'Iéna at 10am on Sunday, with the fastest amongst them hoping to arrive at the finish line at the feet of the Eiffel tower around an hour afterwards.

The Banquet des 5000
Combining food and health is an initiative this Saturday which aims to highlight the amount of food that is wasted each day. A giant vegetable curry will be cooked up in front of the Hotel de Ville, using only items that have been rejected by distributors because of their shapes and sizes. Anyone can visit and take away a portion of curry, and fruit and veg (and recycling recipes!) will also be distributed.

From 1pm. More details here.

The Fête de la Science
Finally, a bit of food for the brain. The annual national science festival offers not only free entry to the Cité des Sciènces at La Villette or the Musée des Arts et Metiers, but also a whole host of events across the city.

The full programme can be found here:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Something for the Weekend (28th - 30th September)

Some suggestions for things to do in Paris this weekend.

Bastille Quartier Libre festival
Organised now for a third time, this annual festival aims to celebrate the independant traders, artists and craftspeople of the Bastille district (although why a hairdressing and wine selling chain are involved remains a mystery). Events are taking place in shops, galleries, workshops, bars and restaurants across the area on Saturday and Sunday, with one or two highlights. Most interesting might be the brunch organised on the rue des Taillandiers. The street will be closed on Sunday and covered with grass, and the restaurants and traiteurs of the area are preparing 'brunch boxes' that you can eat as a picnic on the grass!

Download the full programme here.

Love Life Parade
The Bastille district will be a busy place this Sunday. Alongside the Quartier Libre festival the Place de la Bastille will also be the starting point of the Love Life Parade, a Solidarité Sida (AIDS) charity event. The parade will be a procession of thirty floats, each of which will be a stage for live music performances by many of France's leading bands and artists (Skip the Use, Zebda, Naive New Beaters). The procession begins at 2pm, with an arrival at Opéra estimated at around 7pm (via the Rue de Rivoli and Palais Royal).

Biennale de Belleville
Centred on the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin and the CENTQUATRE arts centre, the biennale de Belleville aims to bring together the numerous art galleries in this district of Paris around central themes and programmes.

Until October 20th

Portes ouvertes des atelies de Menilmontant
It is a curiosity of the calendar that during the Biennale de Belleville there should also be an open days weekend of artists' studios in the area. Whilst the Biennale de Belleville focusses on international artists and wants to put Belleville firmly on the world map of art, this event is more a celebration of local amateurs. As usual with these events though, the art is almost secondary to the opportunity it offers to visit bucolic courtyards which are normally hidden behind closed doors.

Going back in time at the Hotel de Ville
Nine giant screens, each 10 metres across, will be installed on the Place de l'Hotel de Ville this Saturday evening, displaying virtual images of the history of Paris.

5,000 years of the history of the city will be displayed on the screens, mixing docufiction recreations, aerial views and 3D images. To get a better idea of what this might entail, watch the trailer!

From 9pm, Saturday 29th September. Free entry

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Something for the Weekend (September 21st - 23rd)

It's another very busy weekend in Paris. Here's a few suggestions to help your plan your time carefully!

Park(ing) Day
Park(ing) Day started in San Francisco in 2005 and has since then spread across the world. It is a kind of anti-car 'Occupy' movement, encouraging people to find alternative uses for parking spaces in cities. A number of events are being organised in Paris and across France on Friday, including picnics, parties and pop-up art galleries, with the event HQ being set up alongside the Palais Brogniart (Bourse).

Click here for the full list of events:

The Fête des Jardins
Every weekend seems to see some kind of fête or other organised in Paris, and this weekend is no different. Indeed, there are at least two, including this event that aims to get people into the city's parks. The most interesting thing about this particular event is not the activities organised in the public parks, but rather the access it gives to unseen gardens, mostly surrounding religious buildings on the left bank.

Whilst you're in some of these parks, you may notice that there are bandstands that never seem to be used. A festival, Kiosquorama, running throughout September and October is trying to put them to good use, organising free concerts with up and coming French bands each weekend. Visit the official site for a full list of parks/concerts:

Fete de la Gastronomie
The other 'fête' this weekend is to celebrate French food (as if it isn't already being celebrated every day of the week). A whole host of events is being organised across France this weekend, including tastings, cooking lessons, special offers in restaurants and many other things that have probably been fully booked for months.

See the official website for full details: Typically, although an English version of the website is available, it only translates the section titles and headers, not the descriptions of the events themselves. But then all visitors to Paris speak French don't they..?

Figures libres - an original night-time walk
Paris and the surrounding towns often seem completely divorced from each other, so it is interesting to see an initiative that attempts to stitch them together. Figure Libres, organised jointly by the town of Bagnolet and the 20th arrondissement of Paris, is an organised walk through the streets of the two areas. Featuring giant projections of the local residents on surrounding buildings, including the twin Mercuriales towers, and performances in the streets, it should offer an interesting perspective on a fascinating part of the city.

Click here for full details, including meeting points and times.  

Spectaculaire + 1st birthday of La Rotonde
La Rotonde restaurant and bar, housed in an old Ledoux tax collection office on the bassin de La Villette, will be hosting two parties this weekend. On Friday evening it will be celebrating its own first birthday. On Saturday and Sunday it will be the focal point of the annual Spectaculaire festival, an event which promotes upcoming cultural events in Paris with live performances and special offers.

Festival America
A biennial literature festival, held in Vincennes, celebrating writers from the 'Americas'. Readings, discussions and signings are held across the town throughout the weekend.

See the official website for a full list of events and the writers taking part:

Nouvel An Belge
As the official website says, after the Russians and the Chinese, the Belgians will be celebrating their new year...

Held across the 18th arrondissement, it is of course a celebration of Belgian creation, particularly the country's music scene. You might also find beer and frites on sale during the events!

Full details here:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Something for the Weekend (September 14th - 16th)

This weekend marks the real return to normality in Paris - and therefore the return of Paris Weekends! There's a lot happening in and around the city, so make sure you plan carefully!

The Journées du Patrimoine
France's annual heritage days weekend always offers a host of interesting possibilities. On the Invisible Paris blog I have listed the 10 I'm most looking forward to.  

The Techno Parade
I have been in Paris long enough to remember the first edition of this procession of electronic music (in 1998), and it has changed a lot since that time. Originally an event to promote an alternative music scene, it has become more and more mainstream, with the parade dominated by major labels and the largest radio stations. Under the title 'Renew' this year though, organisers hope that they will be able to go back to the roots of the event, and find a more underground angle. This may not be the case on the parade itself, but you'll be sure to find this spirit in some of the official and non-official 'off' events organised in bars and clubs across the capital.

The Battle of the Music Festivals
This weekend you'll find not one but two music festivals in the Paris area. One clean and chic in the Parc de Bagatelle gardens to the west of Paris, and one a little less polished to the east. I know which one sounds the most fun to me.

We Love Green
Positioning itself as an enviromentally friendly - or neutral - festival, We Love Green will feature sets by artists such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and James Blake alongside dry toilets and organic food vans.

Fête de l'Humanité
Ostensibly an event to raise money for the French communist party and its mouthpiece, the L'Humanité newspaper, the Fête de l'Humanité is today better known for the quality of artists it draws and the comparitively cheap ticket prices. New Order, Peter Doherty and Patti Smith will be performing, alongside chemical toilets and greasy burger vans! 

Rue Stick
Is there also room for a street art festival in this busy weekend? Yes there is! Rue Stick began as a guerilla movement, attacking en-masse blank walls across Paris (as featured on Invisible Paris), but today they work closely with towns who invite them to decorate their streets for a day or weekend. This time round you'll find them in Puteaux, at the feet of the La Defense towers.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Something for the Summer

Paris Weekends is mostly away from the city for the summer, so rather than the weekly recommendations, you will find here a list of the principal activities on offer in Paris this July and August.

Beaches and Waterways

Paris Plages has now become a traditional summer rendez-vous in the city. In the last couple of years it has also spread out to the Basin de la Villette which offers a more laid back atmosphere and more emphasis on water sports (and a crazy golf course this year!). The event runs from July 20th to August 19th, and you'll find full details on all activities here.

Of course, this initiative has also lead to imitators around the world, some of which can be found in the neighbouring towns of Paris. Two examples this summer:

  • Puteaux Plage from July 7th - August 12th. The theme this year is the London Olympics, and it has made something of a speciality of Beach Volleyball.
  • Lutece Plage the Parc Asterix beach is also back for a second year!

A 'plage' is not just somewhere to go when the sun shines though, but also at night. La Plage at the Glaz'art bar near La Villette offers concerts, DJ sets and petanque throughout the summer.

Staying on a water theme, the 'L'été du Canal' festival aims to get people out exploring the Canal de l'Ourq which leads north-eastwards from La Villette. Boat trips are only €1 throughout the summer, and there are a whole series of events - from water sports to live concerts - planned en route. 

Cinema under the stars

Despite the recent wet weather, a number of outdoor film events are planned in the city this summer.

The main outdoor cinema festival is held each year in the La Villette park. This year's theme is 'Les Métamorphoses', and runs from 25th July to August 26th. The full programme can be found here.

The Cinema au Clair de lune festival organised by the Forum des Images also aims to get people out watching films under the stars (or streetlights) from August 1st - 12th. The full programme can be found here.

If you're outside Paris, chances are you might find a temporary open air cinema on your route. The Cinesites organisation tries to couple heritage sites with suitable films, and there are plenty of interesting combinations planned this summer!

Summer bars and venues

Several places in and around Paris dress themselves up (or down) for summer, putting on a series of special events. Here is a selection of some of the most interesting:

Wanderlust: Star of the summer (if the sun ever comes out) will certainly be the new Wanderlust installation alongside the Seine. Occupying much of a converted warehouse building (particular the rooftop terraces), it is offering bars (and eventually a restaurant), music, sports and a wide variety of activities. Entrance is free, but bar prices compensate somewhat...

La Bellevilloise: La Grande Prairie is a 500m2 loft with artificial grass, fake flowers and deckchairs, but also a cool venue with cocktail bars, massages and events scheduled throughout the summer.

Le Petit Bain: Having recently celebrated its first birthday, this floating wooden box offers a casual restaurant and Latino themed music throughout the summer.


Several cultural festivals are organised in Paris during the summer.

Paris Quartier d'Ete: The biggest festival of the summer, offering hundreds of events in a wide variety of locations in and around Paris, from July 14th to August 11th.

Music in the park: The Parc Floral remains one of the best places to chill out at weekends throughout the summer. The jazz festival runs until July 29th, when the Classique au Vert classical music festival takes over (until September 16th)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Something for the Weekend (July 6th - 8th)

Schools out for summer and the holiday season has truly begun. Here are a few suggestions to celebrate in style. 

A City-Wide Treasure Hunt
Is 7 a lucky number? On this Saturday the 7th, the annual city treasure hunt will be celebrating its 7th edition - but don't take that as a clue!

The theme this year is 'Paris city of love', with participants guided by the letters exchanged by two mysterious lovers. To solve the puzzle, you must find the romantic couple's final meeting point.

Organisers promise that participants will be sent "through unexpected, unknown and often surprising locations: hidden gardens, narrow passageways, underground caverns and other secret Parisian nooks and crannies". However, there are several possible pathways leading to the treasure, and the hunt is also open to those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.

Finally, English speakers need not miss out as the enigmas and instructions have also been set out for them in English.

To take part, meet between 10am and 1pm in front of one of the following arrondissements which will become your starting point: 3eme, 6eme, 9eme, 10eme, 11eme, 12eme, 13eme, 15eme, 17eme, 19eme, 20eme or the 18eme.

For more information see:

French Lingerie 
As the treasure hunt reminds us, Paris is the city of love, so it seems entirely appropriate that there should be an exhibition of French lingerie taking place at the same time. This show celebrates 100 years of French creations, with displays of historic models as well as more recent state-of-the-art designs.

Until July 26th
Espace Pierre Cardin

BitterSweet (Paradise) Festival 
From this evening (6th), 10 days of "indie pop folk rock electro" concerts in small venues across the city, as well as more unexpected performances in galleries, cafés and shops.    

For more information, including the programme, line-ups and audio clips of the artists involved, visit

Friday, June 29, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 29th - July 1st)

June slips into July, and although summer still doesn't seem to have begun, there are still plenty of things to do in Paris. Here are a few suggestions. 

A Streetball tournament
I'm not sure what the differences are between streetball and basketball, especially when the game is not actually being played on or near a street, but this tournament - in the shadow of the Eiffel tower - should nevertheless be quite spectacular. 

For more information see: If you find the event sold out, note that the games will also be transmitted live on YouTube (

Paris Cinema Festival 
Paris is a city that has long been linked to the cinema, but without a major festival of its own. Although this particular festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it is only now growing into an impressive international event. Alongside the traditional film screenings and competitions, the interest from this event comes from its peripheral events, including a live cine-mix with Jeff Mills and a cinema-themed flea market.

La Plage 
A few weeks before the beginning of Paris Plages, another part of Paris will be artificially transformed into a beach with a few tons of imported sand. The La Plage festival takes place at the Glazart bar at the Porte de la Villette and will see a whole host of live outdoor concerts throughout the summer.

Electronic Siestas
If you're looking for a spot for a quick snooze this Sunday, try the Musée du Quai Branly. The museum's Jardin d'Eté has been open for a month already (despite the absence of summer), and this garden will be home each Sunday in July to a series of 'gentle' electronic music concerts. Although you're welcome to listen, you are also encouraged to lay down on the comfortable garden furniture and have a nice sleep!

More information here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 22nd - 24th)

Plenty of things to do in Paris for this first weekend of the summer. Enjoy it! 

A Sporting Weekend
Several sport and game events are taking place in Paris this weekend.

The French American Football final
Yes, the French do really play American Football. If you don't believe me, head down to the Stade Charlety this Saturday at 3pm. The game, between the Black Panthers from Thonon-les-Bains and the Spartiates from Amiens, is completely free too!

For more information see:

A Petanque festival
For something a little more leisurely (and French), stop at the Hotel de Ville where 20 terrains (what do we say in English? Courts? Pitches?) will be set up and ready to use, with the necessary metal boules also freely available. Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 9pm

A festival of board games
And if you're looking for something even more leisurely, how about a relaxing board game? Held - strangely enough - on a Boulodrome (a place where petanque is played) in the 12th arrondissement, it will offer the opportunity to try out hundreds of games - some of which are still in the prototype stage. 

More information:

The Fête du Cinema 
From Sunday until Wednesday, buy one full price cinema ticket then get unlimited access to other films for only €2.50 each time.

The Salon Emmaüs 
This Sunday, from 9.30am to 7pm at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, will be one of the largest flea markets of the year - and it's all for a good cause! Entrance is only 3€, or free for the under 12s or the unemployed

The Highest Book Fair in Paris
A book fair not like the others! Paris Se Livre is being held, on Firday afternoon and all day Saturday, on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse! As entry is free, it could give you the perfect occasion to discover this building and the impressive view it offers over Paris.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Fête de la Musique

If there's one day each year in Paris when you can guarantee it will rain it's June 21st, the first day of summer and also the 'fête de la musique'. With all the rain we've had here recently though, perhaps this year will offer sunshine for once!

The original spirit of the event was just to give people the freedom to set up their equipment at random spots around the city and play the music of their choice, but over time - and this year the event is celebrating it's 30th birthday - it has been a little hijacked by event organisers and consumer brands.

This means that several of the larger events have moved indoors, including the now traditional end-of-Monumenta event at the Grand Palais. This will undoubtedly be spectacular, but the fact that tickets must be reserved in advance, and the fact that the music will in fact be a selection of recorded discs chosen by (admittedly excellent) DJs means that it breaks the spirit of the event a little for me.

The full programme around France can be found here, but my personal highlight starts today in a matter of hours. The Festival 36 heures is being held at the Saint Eustache church near Les Halles and involves - as the name suggests - 36 hours of rock, pop, folk, dance - and classical - concerts non-stop until Thursday night.

See here for more detials:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 15th - 17th)

Le Prix de Diane
One of the most prestigious flat racing meetings of the year takes place this Sunday at the Chantilly racetrack, but the spectacle is much in the stands as on the track. The winner of the main race of the day will pick up the Prix de Diane (and share in a purse of 1 million Euros!), but there will also be a 'Prix de l'élégance mademoiselle' for the most elegantly dressed young lady in the crowd!

Note: Those coming by train will have free entry to the racetrack on presentation of their ticket. Free entry is still possible for those coming by car though - simply download an invitation for two people from Dimanches au Galop website.

For more information see:

Belleville, a village 'en fête' 
The Belleville district will see a series of events on Friday and Saturday, along the Rue de Jourdain, the Rue des Pyrenées and in front of the church. An artists' village will be set up, and shops in the area will also be joining in the party. There will also be plenty of events for children as well as live music on Saturday. 

Artist open days in the Pré Saint Gervais 
Not too far away from Belleville, artists in the town of Pré Saint Gervais district will also be holding open days this weekend. Several events are planned throughout the town and in the artists' studios over the weekend, and perhaps the best way to experience these is by taking one of the special buses that will be running regularly from outside the Porte des Lilas Metro station

See the official website for more information.

Digital Paris - Futur en Seine
Futur en Seine, an annual ten-day festival describes itself as a chance to display "the latest digital innovations to French and international professionals and to the general public". Although these installations are spread out across the Paris region, the festival opens this weekend with a special event at the 104 arts centre.  

See the official website for more information.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 8th - 10th)

Alongside the Seine next to the Gare d'Austerlitz sits a strange-looking building with a green exterior. Nearly three years after the redesign (by architects Jakob + Macfarlane) of this industrial building was finished, it will finally start seeing a few visitors this weekend. After seemingly changing project and name every few months, the structure - a concrete hulk originally used as a warehouse - has been launched as the city's largest terrace and nightclub. Events are planned day and night from Wednesday to Sunday, mixing fashion, arts, leisure, food and music. Something for everyone - if the sun shines!

For basic information on upcoming events see: A more complete site should be launched soon.

Paris Jazz Festival 
This Saturday sees the launch of the annual jazz festival at the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes. When the sun shines it's the perfect place in Paris for a picnic. 

For more information see:

A walk under high-voltage power lines  
If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary this weekend, how about a nature walk alongside a strip of electricity pylons? The walk is jointly organised by the electricity network and the museum national d'histoire naturelle, and aims to show the impressive biodiversity that exists in these corridors. The walk, on Sunday at 2.30pm, begins outside of Paris in the small town of Marolles-en-Brie, meaning that a car will be probably required to get there. Nevertheless, for those who do make the effort, snacks and a small gift are promised!

See the blog for more information.

Football - from a different perspective  
The Euro 2012 football tournament begins this Friday, and although you'll be able to follow it in numerous bars around the capital (despite Al Jazeera buying the rights..), perhaps the most interesting experience will be at the 104 arts centre on Sunday. Organised by Tatane, the association of ex-international Vikash Dhorasso, the day will begin with a football tournament in the main hall, continue with film and music in the afternoon, then end with the Italy v Spain match on a giant TV screen. The main difference? Commentary for the match will be given by comedians and journalists - and even by controversial ex-manager Raymond Domenech (who Dhorasso has clearly forgiven now).

Entrance for all events is free, but note that you should reserve your places for the match in advance by sending an e-mail to
See the blog for more information.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 1st - 3rd)

A new month, warm weather, long evenings - plenty to feel inspired by in Paris this weekend! 

Menil'Fest - a festival in Menilmontant
Running for a week from May 31st, the Menil'Fest event in the Menilmontant district of Paris (20th arrondissement, around the Père Lachaise and Menilmontant M° stations) brings together music, slam and artists in several locations, including an outdoor stage. Saturday and Sunday will be the busiest days with an 'allée des créateurs' and live music on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant.

For full information on the event, see here:

Designer's Days 
This four-day event is the chance for Paris to highlight the leading role it plays in the fields of design and architecture. Dozens of visits and happenings are scheduled across the city, which along with events in shops and galleries will also include the visit to an unfinished new Metro station that is normally strictly off-limits to the public.

One of the most interesting events could be the 'Portraits' exhibition at the Boutique Talents - Ateliers d’Art de France (1, bis rue Scribe - 75009 M° Opéra). Several creations (furniture, sculpture, textiles..) will be placed in a series of interactive scenes for you to investigate and touch. Additionally - and most interestingly - a photographer will be present at each 'scene' ready to take your photo with the object concerned - a photo that you will be able to take home as a souvenir!
For more information see: I'm not sure if it's just my browser or if it's a temporary problem, but the person who designed this site certainly doesn't deserve an award.

Jardins de l'Essone 
If you're looking to get out of Paris for the weekend, the best option could be to escape to one of the dozens of gardens taking part in the annual 'Rendez-vous aux jardins' event in the Essonne department to the south of Paris this weekend. Activities range from simple visits to 'picnic spectacles' with theatrical performances, so there should be something for everyone.

Click here for more information on the gardens and their locations.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Something for the Weekend (May 25th - 27th)

A few ideas for things to do in what promises to be a warm weekend in Paris. 

An affordable art fair
Advertised as an event for those who don't dare to push open the doors of a gallery, the Grand Salon d'Art Abordable, held at the Bellevilloise this weekend, will feature over 200 creations from more than 40 artists - all available at 'bargain' prices. Ok, maybe the investment will still be quite substantial, but at least you'll know that the money goes directly to the artist, and if you choose carefully, you never know how that investment could grow in the future. 

For full information on the event, see here:

Les Irisiades at Auvers sur Oise 
With the weather promising to be warm (at last...) this weekend, what could be better than a trip to the village of the impressionists and Van Gogh, Auvers sur Oise? Always an interesting and pleasant place to visit, this weekend sees the annual 'Irisiades' festival, which is basically a large garden show at the Chateau d'Auvers. 

For more information see:

Gare du Nord - an exhibition of Dutch photographers in Paris 
Paris has of course been an inspiration to photographers from all over the world, and those from Holland are no exception. Featuring mostly pictures from a golden post-war age in the 1950s, it brings together work from over 50 photographers and includes portraits of some of the major stars of the period as well as ordinary scenes of the city itself. As an additional bonus, you can also discover two rare experimental films from the 1920s and 30s, one of which focusses on the life of the Les Halles market. 

Click here to download the press release in English, which not only gives details on opening times and the location of the show, but also details on the photographers and their pictures:

Photo top, from exhibition: Fred Brommet, Place de la Madeleine, 1956 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Something for the Weekend (May 18th - 20th)

A couple of ideas for things to do this weekend in Paris. 

Nuit des Musées
The Nuit des Musées is another French idea which has now been largely exported across the continent and beyond (indeed, the event is now known as the nuit européenne des musées). In Paris, over 170 events are planned in the city's museums, most of which will open until midnight, and all of which will be offering free entry.

Highlights include theatre at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (which will be opening until 1am), a performance by automates and a treasure hunt at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, an artist's flea market at the Monnaie de Paris, a haunted photo walk for teenagers (called 'Oh my ghost'!) at the Petit Palais, a guided visit of the new Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design and an evening of American folk music (in honour of Bob Dylan) at the Musée de la musique. 

For full information on the museums particpating in Paris and the programme of events, see here:

Note: Paris smartphone app creators Urban Pulse have designed a special 'Nuit des Musées' app which includes a list of themed walks linking participating museums and events. Perhaps more importantly, they also promise live information on how long queues are at the various locations around the city, helping you to carefully plot your evening! Visit the site for information on how to download the (free) app:

Le Gras Savoye Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris 
This Sunday sees the running of the richest and most prestigious jumps race of the year in France, at the Auteuil race track in the Bois de Boulogne. Run over a distance of more than five miles and more than 20 hurdles, it was first organised in 1874 as the French equivilent of the English Grand National, and attracts thousands of race fans - as well as international jet setters to the hippodrome. 

For more information see:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Something for the Weekend (May 11th - 13th)

A few ideas for things to do on a very busy weekend in Paris. 

Artist open days in Belleville
The daddy, of all the artists' open days, and now in its 23rd year, the Belleville event covers four arrondissements and over 200 artists. The interest is not so much in the art, but rather the opportunity it offers to explore the hidden corners of this most interesting district of Paris. 

Note: For a rapid overview of the work of all the artists involved, visit the Galerie des AAB, 1 rue Francis Picabia, 20e, M° Couronnes.

For full information on the artists involved and their addresses, see here:

A treasure hunt 
This Sunday the streets of Paris will be the scene of a giant treasure hunt with the chance to win a weekend in Prague. Teams are limited to either two or three people, and you need to register your team in advance.

For more information and to register your team, click here:

Urban Film Festival
A weekend of films, dance and live painting at the 104 arts centre and the Rotonde alongside the Bassin de la Villette.

Full information here:

Nature days 
Across France, people are being encouraged to redicover the nature they share their surroudings with. In Paris, the event is above all centred on the Jardin des Plantes, with a weekend of events including films for children, a specially created village, visits and shows. Star of the event this year - our feathered friends.

Full information on all events across France here:

Les dimanches au galop

Last chance this Sunday for some free horse racing fun for all the family, with a final meeting at the city's most prestigious track, Longchamp.

More information here.