As Audrey Hepburn once said: “Paris is always a good idea” and in June there’s no exception - Paris in the summer is unparalleled. The longer days are filled with walks along the Seine, endless picnics in the park, good music, good food and most importantly good wine! With the sun shining and milder climes, Paris hosts a whole array of open-air events.
La Musique - Live Music in Paris
Summertime heralds the best in music from around the world. For the last 35 years on the 21st June, it’s not only the longest day of the year but the noisiest. The fête de la musique is a pretty big deal in the whole of France, but particularly in Paris, with big-name concerts, live bands, amateur musicians and street performers on every corner. Stages spring up all over the city but your best bet is to head to either the Jardin des Tuileries, the Petit Palais, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Louvre or the Jardin du Luxembourg for guaranteed entertainment.
If you’re into something traditional: From June to September, during the Opera en plein air, a famous traditional opera is performed in the most beautiful heritage sites across the city. It’s worth reserving your place in advance as these shows get booked up!
If you fancy a day trip: Head to the Palace of Versailles where there’s the Fountains Night Show and the Royal Serenade in the Hall of Mirrors. Exploring the grounds on a balmy summer’s evening whilst fountains and water features are illuminated with beautiful lighting effects and music is what a magical Parisian night is all about.
If you’re into jazz: Check out the Paris Jazz festival from 30th June. These are a series of free live jazz concerts held every Saturday and Sunday until the 22nd July in the Parc Floral de Paris. Pack a picnic and crack open a bottle of wine whilst enjoying the smooth jazz melodies in a verdant and floral setting… bliss. If these dates don’t suit, try Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival which runs from 24th May to 4th June in the Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Prés or alternatively Musicora 2018 at the La Grande Halle de La Villette - here you’ll find France’s biggest display of musical instruments.
Best Places to Stay to Get in on the Action
All that stomping around in the heat can be exhausting, so you’re guaranteed to need the perfect plump plum cushion to rest your weary head on the evenings. Take a look at our list of the best spots which will help you capture the sun in all it’s glory during Paris summertime.
Le Sportif - Sports in Paris
If chilling to music on a midsummer’s eve isn’t your bag (because you’re a crazy person) and you’re after some more active viewing, June in Paris is still ideal for you. If you time your trip right, you can head to the Roland Garros for the French Open. This championship attracts the world's best tennis players for just over two weeks of incredible non-stop tennis action. Is there really anything better than spending an afternoon basking in the glorious sunshine, whilst watching two top five players battle it out on the court for this cherished title?
And when you’re not watching first-class tennis shots being fired on Philippe Chatrier, indulge in a picnic in the grounds. You’re allowed to bring your own food, so stock up on baguettes, ham and French cheese, just remember no sharp knives or plastic containers over 1.5 litres.
It can be pretty difficult to get tickets to the French Open (as it is with any major competitive sports championship), but there are a few tricks. The first is to grab evening tickets on the day. These allow you into the courts from 5pm, once most fans have had their fill. The second is on finals day you can purchase a €25 ticket (€12 for under 20 years-old) that will get you into Finals Gentlemen's Legends' Trophy (where celebrities come out of retirement to play a round of comedy doubles) on the main courts. This will also grant you access to the grounds to watch the men's final via the big screens - the atmosphere is electric.
Other events to note down in the sporting calendar include the Prix du Jockey club at Chantilly racecourse on 3rd June - a great day out placing bets on the bookies’ favourites. For something a little fancier on 17th June head to the Prix de Diane Longines - a fabulous high society affair and the creme de la creme of horse-racing - remember to pack your finest attire.
Finally, if racing and tennis don’t tickle your fancy, there are a plethora of other events that may including the Rugby Top 14 Final hosted at the Stade de France on 2nd June, crowning the top French club of the season and golf during the Open de France back at the Golf National de Guyancourt.
La Culture - Unmissable Arts & Culture
Summer is the perfect time of year to lap up Paris for all it’s worth. Walk along Canal St Martin and find a sweet spot to sit and share a bottle of wine as time drifts by. Shop the summer sales with up to 70% off in Beaugrenelle Paris or head to one of the many exhibitions:
- Grande Halle de la Villette - The Japanese collective Teamlab puts on an immersive experience, exploring how new technology helps artists add a new spin to their works.
- Centre Pompidou is showing a new exhibition that pays homage to French Modernism in U.A.M, a modern adventure, 1929-1958.
- Musée d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris has an exhibition showcasing the incredible Chinese painter and engraver, Zao Wou-Ki: Space is Silence
- Musée du Louvre has an exhibition focussed on the 18th century golden age of pastel painting - Pastels of the Musée du Louvre.
- Musée d’Orsay is showcasing In Colour, polychrome sculpture in France 1850 to 1910.
- Cinémathèque Française has a photography exhibition of Chris Marker’s work.
- Petit Palais, In collaboration with the Tate Modern, showcases the exhibition The Impressionists in London (1870-1904), a journey in the footsteps of the French painters exiled across the channel - one not to miss!