A Marvellous Guide to Paris in May
Bask in the late-spring beauty of Paris with this guide to what to see and do during the month of May.
Paris in May is the eternal spring. The warm weather and the light nights inspire good spirited nature all over Paris, and there's a promise of summer around the corner. It is in May too that some of the nation’s biggest holidays are celebrated – Labour Day on the 1st May and Victory Day on th 8th May – meaning that pretty much everywhere is closed. Avoid those days (or stock up in advance) and you’re primed to experience the spring that inspired Monet but better, courtesy of us here at Plum Guide.
Dance to the music of may
There are those who will rave about Paris in April - and with good reason. But April is prone to showers. Those showers help greeneries all across the city get to full bloom. It’s Paris in May that the sun sometimes comes out for a few days at a time, and the Parisians are drawn to parks en masse. For May and June are the months of citywide celebrations of music across the arrondissements of Paris. And when Björk is scheduled to play her only French gig at one of them, you know they have to be special.
Tous à l'Opéra
With the aim of broadening the age-old appeal of opera to younger generations and the curious, the Tous à l'Opéra event makes it free for everyone to attend shows through its duration. Not bad. Maria Callas would be proud. And after your fancy few hours at the opera, head back to your equally fancy home like Rue Bonaparte.
Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Every day for two weeks, Saint Germain and the surrounding area dedicates itself to the true art of jazz music. The Jazz festival brings together like-minded souls for whom Cole Porter is an institution and Chet Baker is a God. Most of the events are free or a bonus part of a good dinner and a great start to May in Paris. Choose from one of our amazing homes in the neighbourhood like Charming Touron.
Uncover the newest (and oldest) in indie rock, post-punk and jazz at this yearly free event in Parc de la Villette. Music festivals of this caliber don’t happen everywhere for free, and any chance to dance barefoot to good tunes with friends is one worth taking. No matter how young you get.
We Love Green Festival
Eco-friendly festival on the edges of Paris in the Bois de Vincennes, this event technically takes place on the first weekend in June but with such a stellar line-up, we’d be doing you a disservice not to mention it. That stellar line-up includes artists like Charlotte Gainsbourg, Beck, and Björk.
Sister to the British rock festival, Download Festival France occurs in the southern suburbs of Paris. It occurs in the middle of June, but like the above, we’d never forgive ourselves if we didn’t mention these four words: Foo Fighters and Ozzy.
Be sporty in spring
Watch a serious spot of tennis
Held every year in Roland Garros, the French Open is to the French what the World Cup is to the Brits. (We just love our sport, we can’t help it.) It’s like Wimbledon but with more actual drinking and less Pimms. Every year, a giant screen is erected at the Eiffel Tower so you can go along and watch the French Open in the Champ de Mars. Sports bars across Paris show the French Open on their screens. Our notable mention here is Canadian bar The Moose. It has 14 flat screen TVs and serves good old-fashioned North American food.
Grand Steeple-Chase of Paris
Every May, the Auteuil Hippodrome hosts one of the most iconic and challenging competitions on the equestrian calendar: the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. For less than €10, members of the public can go along to Bois de Boulogne to experience what might as well be a national holiday.
Get your culture fix
Night of Museums
Organised by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Night of Museums (Nuits des Musées) has inspired select museums all over Paris and Europe to open their doors after dark. Couples, families, and solo travellers can all experience places like the Louvre and the Musée de l'Orangerie in ways they never have before. The Night of Museums also inspires choice special events like concerts under the stars, secret jazz performances, and dances around famous monuments.
Enjoy a Taste of Paris
Become a legitimate foodie when the Taste of Paris takes over the Grand Palais in a unique showcase of gastronomical proportions. For four days across Paris in May, the Grand Palais will be full of the ingredients to the perfect time. Cooking classes, meet-and-greets, and taste-testing may even be the most French of all festivals. Enjoy your own taste of Paris too by staying at one of our homes like Boulevard de la Bastille just a short walk away from the amazing Bastille Market, operating on Thursdays and Sundays where you'll find vendors selling some of the best fresh produce in the city.
See the blossoms in Sceaux's Park
If you don’t venturing a little further out of the city centre, Sceaux’s Park’s cherry blossoms are mind-blowing. Seriously, we're a rather hard-to-please bunch here at Plum, but they really are mind-blowing.