Never mind the countless number of museums and landmarks to fit into a never-long-enough stay in the City of Light – in addition, there are almost as many temporary exhibitions and special events taking place all year round in Paris, and some of them need to be reserved in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.
UP AND COMING
Here To Stay has compiled a moving calendar to keep track of some of the Must Not Miss dates for the diary. Watch this space for constant additions, which we hope will be useful in planning your itinerary for your forthcoming stay.
NOVEMBER – “Van Gogh, La Nuit Étoilée”, until December 31
Difficult to imagine how the fantastic Klimt show can be surpassed (see article on Tripping the Light Fantastic at the Atelier des Lumières Museum here), but this is every bit as spectacular at the inaugural exhibition. Fortunately the Impressionist artist will be in situ right through to December 31, but tickets are selling out fast, so advance reservation is a must, particularly in the run up to Christmas.
NOVEMBER – Y.S.L. “The Mondrian Revolution & New Collections Display”, until December 31
The Yves Saint Laurent museum on Avenue Monceau opened to clamorous success last year, particularly in light of the unveiling YSL’s atelier workshop where he used to work every day up on the top floor. While the space is restricted and the number of gowns on show is limited, it’s well worth a visit to breathe in the charged atmosphere and to get close up to those renowned and iconic dresses from the Sixties.
NOVEMBER – Thursday 14
A few days after the Christmas Lights have been illuminated on the Champs-Elysées to herald the start of the Christmas season, today’s the day that the Beaujolais Nouveau hits every brasserie and café worth its salt. Sniffed at by the die-hard connoisseurs, there’s a lot of fun every year when the newest vintage is unveiled on the traditional stroke of midnight on the third Thursday in the month.
DECEMBER – various
As the festive Christmas markets, window displays and Yule log preparations get under way, Paris will also be host to a number of exciting exhibitions and shows throughout the late autumn: from Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre to El Greco Toulouse-Lautrec at the Grand Palais, with Degas at the Opera and also the Musée d’Orsay. Watch this space for more details…
BEEN AND GONE 2019
JANUARY– Grayson Perry exhibition at the Monnaie de Paris until February 3
The first monographic exhibition of this much-loved and always relevant artist. Go for the incredible backdrop of the historic setting and the larger than life tapestries, including his pre-Brexit “Comfort Blanket”. Read more about ‘A British “national treasure” abroad’ here.
APRIL – “Le Pyramide du Louvre a 30 Ans” from March 29
It’s been thirty years since the construction of the contemporary glass pyramid appeared in the historic Cour Napoléon. Dubbed a monstrosity by some and a modern marvel by others, the sight has become almost as iconic as the Eiffel Tower, and much will be made of its birthday celebrations to mark the occasion.
MAY – Taste of Paris Festival from May 9 to 12
This four-day extravaganza is absolutely not to be missed. Bringing together top chefs from all over the city under the colossal roof of the Grand Palais, you will be able to enjoy a sample of their favourite dishes and move from kitchen to kitchen to your heart’s content. Keep an eye out for the celebrated cooks as you go – the whole thing is a real feast for the eyes.
MAY – “Le Modèle Noir de Géricault à Matisse” – starts March 29, through to July 21
The Musée d’Orsay explores the historical issue of models painted by the major artists over three the exhibition key periods, from the era of abolition through to Matisse’s discovery of the Harlem Renaissance and early 20th century avant-garde and post-war, contemporary artists. Guaranteed to be another runaway success.
JUNE – Fête de la Musique, June 21
Held on the third Thursday of the month of June and coinciding with the longest day of the year, Paris celebrates all things musical at La Fête de la Musique, with countless impromptu and pre-planned concerts and events. The streets are lined with musicians of all ages and performances of every imaginable genre from dawn to well beyond dusk.
JUNE – Last month of “The Courtauld Collection” at the Fondation Vuitton, ends June 17
This is also the last month when you’ll be able to catch what is guaranteed to be one of the season’s most popular shows. The Fondation Vuitton is proving to be a hotbed of wonderful exhibitions. “The Courtauld Collection: a Vision for Impressionism” runs from February 20 to June 17, and if you will be in town before mid month reserve your tickets well in advance – judging by previous shows, including the record-breaking Chtchoukine Collection in 2016 and Jean-Michel Basquiat which closed earlier this year, it is likely to be a sell out.
JULY – Bastille Day on July 14
A cause for national festivities, culminating in the extravagant firework displays that traditionally overlook the Eiffel Tower. Watching it from home on the small screen is perhaps not the most ceremonious way of sharing the occasion, but for the accustomed it’s often the most comfortable option. Even more popular with the locals are the eye-popping Firemen’s Balls or ‘Bals des Pompiers’ who tend to avoid the early morning and more formal military exercises in the presence of the French President that take place at the usually crowded Arc de Triomphe on Bastille Day, opting instead for one of the formal outdoor parties that take place on July 13 and 14. A great experience, it’s well worth any queuing you may need to do and security checks you need to pass through to experience this 100 year-old tradition at least once in a lifetime. (See also our special 2CV Tour with former fire-fighter Cédric and his team offered as one of our Experiences and Tours all year round).
AUGUST – all month
Whoever’s not absent without leave over the summer break will be able to enjoy the relative peace and tranquillity in the city. The man-made Paris Plages beaches along the Seine and at the Bassin de la Villette are always popular haunts, and music aficionados will be booking their tickets early for the annual Rock en Seine festival from August 23 to 25. Contact us for information about which restaurants will be staying open over the holiday season.
SEPTEMBER – European Heritage Day falls this year on Sunday 15.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris on this date, take advantage of this incredible opportunity to go behind the usually closed doors of many of the most stunning sights. From the Hôtel Lauzun on the Île Saint-Louis to a tour around the presidential suite or a special backstage performance at the Crazy Horse, this is one time when some lengthy standing in line is more than justified. Plan ahead and be sure to wear comfortable footwear.
OCTOBER – Le Salon du Chocolat from October 26-30
Sheer heaven on a plate, really, for anyone with a sweet tooth. Pâtissier chef paradise, with demonstrations of the latest techniques and plenty of opportunities to sample the goods. It gets terribly crowded, though, so an early start and advance ticket reservations highly recommended.