Paris Festivals

Paris is bursting with culture and so it follows that the city hosts more festivals that you can shake a stick at.

There are the ones you expect: music festivals, film festivals plus the annual Bastille day and Gay Pride parade.

Then the ones that are a bit more unexpected, such as the Nuit Blanche when Paris's cultural offerings are enjoyed by moonlight and the Franco-Japanese festival oddly named the Fête des Enfants du Monde.

We have compiled a list of our favorite Parisfestivals but by no means is it comprehensive - these are just the ones that keep you fat, happy or drunk (well apart from the Marathon and the Tour de France which will keep you skinny).

    Banlieues Bleues
  1. Banlieues Bleues
    The French love their jazz and this annual five-week festival of French and international jazz, blues, R&B, soul, funk, flamenco and world music leaves you in no doubt of that. This Paris festival takes place from March to April at various venues in Seine-St-Denis (so yes, technically just outside Paris). The festival has been going for nearly 30 years and has always maintained the high standards of programming.
  2. Gay Pride March
    Every June, hordes of people march into the streets of Paris celebrating same-sex love. It is everything you expect: colorful, eclectic, energetic and unapologetic (its called Marché des Fiertés in French). Just imagine the mind-boggingly flamboyant costumes parading the streets until they reach the fête in Bastille.
  3. Marathon de Paris
    Most people prefer just to watch and cheer as the runners will themselves around one of the world’s most picturesque marathons every April. If you are feeling brave enough to become one of the 35,000 runners then make sure to apply well in advance. Hardly the most relaxing of Parisian events but the city is still full of a great atmosphere all weekend.
  4. Le Tour de France
  5. Le Tour de France
    Well this one shouldn't need much introduction. For those of you who have been living under a rock, the Tour de France is the world’s premier long-distance bicycling event that climaxes after some 3,500km (2,175 miles) in Paris. Expect huge crowds at Place de la Concorde to see the winner flying past the finishing line on the Champs-Elysées. The Tour de France takes place in July.
  6. Rock en Seine
    Yep, a rock Paris festival. Claim to fame: Oasis split up on the 28th August 2009 at Rock en Seine just before they were due to headline the main stage. In true Parisian style, this music festival takes place in the park of Château de Saint-Cloud just outside the city.
  7. Banlieues Bleues
  8. Paris, Quartier d’Été
    Locations vary every year for this city-wide festival but the essential remains the same: dance, music from around the world, and a giant parade. This is one of Paris’s largest festivals and strikes a good balance between the world-class (i.e., international ballet companies and top-10 rock bands) and local artists, musicians, and performers. Best bit? Most of it is free!
  9. Bastille Day (Fête Nationale)
    Vive la France! Every year on 14th July, the whole of France celebrates the storming of the Bastille in the only appropriate way: a massive party. Since the Bastille itself is located in Paris, festivities are something to behold. They start the night before in the Île St-Louis with fascinating dances. Visitors can also attended les Bals des Pompiers (Firemen’s Balls) for free. They can and they should: they take place inside every Parisian fire station the night of July 13 and/or 14th with DJs, bands, and inexpensive alcohol. They are universally considered the best thing about Parisian Bastille day. As for the place de la Bastille itself, fittingly there is there is dancing where there was once bloodshed, with a concert (but be careful as young kids sometimes throw fireworks into the crowd). The day itself begins with a military parade down the Champs Élysées and ends with fireworks in the evening.

Let it not be said that Paris festivals are lacking!