Summer in Paris is when temperatures are high and the city definitely comes back to life after the long and cold winter. Pop-up restaurants and bars line the Seine and just about every park becomes a bustling meeting ground. Festivals take over the streets and rooftop patios and terraces give you a bird’s eye view of all the action. In August, it’s true that the city becomes quiet, as locals head out on vacation but this article will show you all the reasons why it’s worth staying in the city all summer long. Read on about the the most anticipated events taking place this summer in Paris.
2020 Summer Events in Paris:
Paris Plages offers Parisians and visitors a chance to beat the heat without leaving the city. Since 2002, the city of Paris has sectioned off special areas along the Seine turning them into mini beaches free for everyone to enjoy. This year, you can visit the pop up beaches in the Parc Rives de Seine, on the Quai de Loire, and Quai de Seine at the Bassin de la Villette. Bring snacks, a towel and plenty of sunscreen, this summer in Paris promises to be hotter than ever!
Part of Paris Plages this year is free Covid testing! The lines are always long and it can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour before you get your turn for the test. There is one testing center by the Seine river and another one at Bassin de la Villette.
Testing is free of charge and doesn’t require a prescription. Available daily from 2pm to 6pm.
Schedule: July 18 – August 30, 2020
Location: Parc Rives de Seine, 75001 and Bassin de la Villette, 75019
Open Air Cinema at La Villette
One of the most romantic events to attend during summer in Paris is Open Air Cinema at La Villette. This summer in Paris, the park will be transformed into a giant, outdoor movie theater. Classic and new titles are shown every week, free of charge. Make sure you arrive early to get a good spot, as these events are often packed with movie lovers.
August screening schedule (English language films):
August 2 (Sunday) – Little Big Man
August 6 (Thursday) – Grizzly Man documentary
August 7 (Friday) – Thelma & Louise
August 13 (Thursday) – Leave No Trace
August 16 (Sunday) – Out of Africa
August 20 (Thursday) – Brokeback Mountain
August 21 (Friday) – Arizona Dream
August 22 (Saturday) – The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Schedule: Wednesdays to Sundays until August 22, 2020
Address: Parc de la Villette, 75019 Paris
Metro: Porte de Pantin
|INSIDR tip: Bring a chair, a blanket, and your favorite snacks and enjoy a cozy evening of movie magic.|
2019 Summer events in Paris
Paris Summer Festival
For more than 20 years, Paris Summer Festival has been hosting outdoor entertainment in Paris. During the event, everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy performances including dance, theatre, concerts, and even circus acts! The performances are usually put on nearby monuments, parks and in various cultural centers. In total, more than 70 performances will take place in about 30 different locations across the city. Most of the performances are for free while some require tickets but are guaranteed to be moderately-priced so everyone can come and enjoy.
- Schedule: July 12 – 13, 2019
Paris summer sales
Summer in Paris is the best time to shop in the fashion capital of the world. For about 5 weeks, all of your favorite fast fashion brands, Parisian brands, and even luxury brands hold their biggest sales of the year. You can find great deals at both small boutiques and large department stores like Galeries Lafayette. In fact, make the most out of the sales period by shopping at Galeries Lafayette where you can combine all your receipts and receive a free Longchamp bag!
Basically, all you need to do is download your INSIDR vouchers and show it to the Concierge on the 1st floor. Get a small Longchamp bag for purchases amounting 500€ and a large Longchamp tote bag for purchases amounting 1000€. Your INSIDR Passport also grants you VIP tax refund which means you won’t have to wait in a long line on the ground floor.
For more INSIDR shopping tips, make sure you read our hacks to a successful Paris shopping trip!
- Schedule: June 26 – August 6, 2019
One Day Events:
Bal des Pompiers
Bal des Pompiers transforms the main fire station of every arrondissement into an all out dancehall for a night that puts the fun in fundraising. The tradition began more than 100 years ago as a way to raise funds for the firefighters. Sévigné Firehouse in the Marais is our favorite for a ball. It’s located inside a sprawling mansion complete with a private courtyard! Another favorite is the 5th arrondissement’s ball which is usually held at the historic Arènes des Lutece. The Firemen’s Ball is free to enter but it’s customary to give a small donation which will go towards improvements in the working conditions of the firehouses.
INSIDR Tip: the lines outside the more popular firehouses can get pretty long so it would be good to bring a drink or even a snack to help you pass the time quickly!
- Date: July 13, 2019
- More information here
Bastille Day, also known as la Fête Nationale, is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. This event was an important turning point in the revolution that helped make France the democratic republic it is today. Every July 14, the city stops to witness the military parade that’s the oldest of its kind in Europe. The parade goes down the Champs-Élysées starting at the Arc de Triomphe and finishing at the Place de la Concorde where they are greeted by the President of the Republic. In the evening, a concert of opera and classical music begins at 9:30 with musicians performing from the base of the Eiffel Tower where a spectacular show of fireworks is launched before midnight!
- Date: July 14, 2019
- Parade start: 10:00am
- Location: Avenue Champs-Élysées
- Evening concert start: 9:30pm
- Fireworks start: 11pm
- Location: Champ des Mars
Final stage of the Tour de France
Tour de France is the most gruelling, most challenging and yet most prestigious cycling race in the world. The race takes place over 21 days and takes riders around the country, finishing in Paris. If your’e a cycling fan, make sure you turn up at the Champs-Élysées early in the morning to secure a great spot to catch the cyclists as they race to the finish line. The crowds are thick but it’s always a very festive environment with excited fans from all over the world cheering on their favorite bikers!
INSIDR Tip: if you don’t want to compete with the crowds on the Champs-Élysées, the next best location would be at the Tuileries Garden on rue Rivoli.
- Date: July 28, 2019
- Location: rue Rivoli, Avenue Champs-Élysées
- Metro: Champs Elysée-Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George V, Concorde, Tuileries
La Traversée de Paris Estivale
Vintage summer in Paris comes to life with La Traversée de Paris Estivale. This one day spectacle invites vintage vehicle lovers to come and show off their stuff in a parade that goes across the city. There will be 600 vintage vehicles and not just vintage cars but motorcycles, bicycles, tractors and even military vehicles as well. Some people even show up dressed in vintage outfits! The parade always concludes with a fun picnic on the terrace of the Meudon Observatory located just outside of Paris.
- Date: July 21, 2019
- Time: from 8:00am – 5:00pm
- The parade start from: 53bis rue de Fontenay, 94300 Vincennes, France
- Train: RER A Vincennes
Cultural and Musical events:
Rock en Seine
Rock en Seine is one of the biggest summer in Paris events. The music festival takes place at the sprawling grounds of the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud. Rock en Seine transforms the usually quiet park in the suburbs into a huge rocking party. The festival takes place on the last weekend of August and is one of the biggest in France that always brings aboard a star-studded lineup of performers. This year, Rock en Seine takes place August 23-25 and will be headlined by The Cure, Jorja Smith, Aphex Twin and many others.
- Date: August 23-25, 2019
- Address: Avenue de la Grille d’Honneur, 92210 Saint-Cloud
- Metro: Gare de Saint-Cloud (RER A)
- Rock en Seine tickets: 49€-159€
Summer in Paris is festival season and the biggest festival of the season is LollaPalooza. Paris’ Hippodrome is transformed into a large concert ground where international musicians come to play. This year, catch acts like The Strokes, The 1975, Bad Bunny, and French-favorite Romeo Elvis all at the Hippodrome. You can go for the whole weekend or just for the day and see your favorite artists. Unlike other festivals, you don’t have to camp or drive into the middle of the desert to attend Lollapalooza. It’s just a few metro stops outside of Paris.
- Date: July 20-21, 2019
- Address: Longchamp Racecourse Paris, 2 Route des Tribunes, 75016
- Metro: Porte d’Auteuil
- LollaPalooza tickets: 79€-149€
What do video games, cosplay, and live music have in common? You can experience them all under one roof at the annual Japan Expo. The festival happens every summer in Paris and has become one of the most popular events of the season. The festival celebrates everything Japanese, from martial arts to manga. The expo is basically 4 days full of meetings, shows, and fun activities in games for all lovers of Japanese pop culture. This is a wholesome event you can bring your whole family too.
- Date: July 4-7, 2019
- Address: Parc des Expositions de Villepinte, ZAC Paris Nord 2, 93420 Villepinte
- Metro: Gare du Parc des Expositions (RER B)
- Japan Expo tickets: 14€-18€
The Peacock Society Festival
The Peacock Society Festival is the biggest electronic music event in France. The festival takes place in a giant, warehouse style venue in Parc Floral and showcases favourites from the house and techno scene. The line-up comprises of seasoned Detroit and Berlin veterans to ascendent electronic music DJs from across the world. The festival is also quite affordable with tickets starting at just 44€.
- Date: July 5-6, 2019
- Address: Parc Floral de Paris, Route de la Pyramide, 75012
- Metro: Château de Vincennes
- The Peacock Society tickets: 44€-120€
Toutânkhamon at la Villette
The Toutânkhamon exposition at la Villette reveals more than 150 original objects from the tomb of the young pharaoh. The artifacts presented in the collection are destined for permanent residency at the Egyptian Grand Museum which is under construction. Many of the objects on view at the Toutânkhamon exposition have never been seen before outside of Egypt. It may be the most complete collection of Toutânkhamon’s possessions in existence.
- Schedule: ongoing until September 15, 2019
- Address: La Grande halle de La Villette, 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019
- Metro: Porte de Pantin
- La Villette Website: 17€-19€