A line in the iconic song “April in Paris” -- “This is a feeling that no one can ever reprise” -- perfectly describes Paris in the springtime. The flowers and trees in the glorious gardens and parks of Paris are blooming, the outdoor cafes are teeming with Parisians and visitors, and the trees on the boulevards are bursting with green leaves.
There are a plethora of events happening in Paris in the spring, and we have comprised a monthly list of the don’t-miss things to do and see.
1. Easter Treats
Chocolate and pastry shops all over Paris, including Pierre Herme, Jean Paul Hevin, Laduree, Hugo and Victor, Patrick Roger and Pierre Marcolini, are brimming with elaborately decorated cakes, pastries, and chocolate eggs.
2. Easter Egg Hunts
Easter egg hunts are sponsored in many parks and gardens around Paris.
At Parc Andre Citroen, there are 40,000 hidden chocolate Easter eggs, plus there are games, dancing, and crafts classes.
In early April, the top patisseries and chocolate boutiques offer their special eggs for a hunt at the Champs-Elysees Gardens, along with games and other activities.
3. Easter Concerts And Church Services
Sacre-Coeur, Saint-Sulpice, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Germain, and Saint-Paul cathedrals all hold services in French on Good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday. The American Church and the American Cathedral have services in English.
Easters concerts at Sainte-Chapelle are always special, not only for the music but also for the up-close views of the stunning 14th-century stained-glass windows. The concerts feature classical music and singers sometimes.
Pro Tip: Easter Sunday falls on April 4 in 2021; however, April 5 is Easter Monday, which is also an official bank holiday, and many shops and businesses are closed.
4. Art Paris And PAD (Paris Art + Design)
Art and design aficionados will more than get their fair share of the top artists, galleries, and home decor at these two terrific showcases.
The annual Art Paris art fair has the top French and international galleries display the best in contemporary and modern art at a brand-new space, the Grand Palais Ephemere on the Champ-de-Mars, which is the park behind the Eiffel Tower. In 2021, it runs from April 8 to April 11.
PAD, a major art and design fair, combines contemporary design, including furniture, home accessories, art, lamps, and objects, with ethnic art and artisan jewelry. It’s held in the Tuileries Garden and boasts over 50 booths.
In 2021, PAD runs from April 7 to April 11.
5. Sundays At The Racetrack
Two of the top racetracks in Paris, Auteuil and ParisLongchamp, present a series of special horse races on two Sundays in April and May. Each Sunday features eight races with the best horses and jockeys. They also offer 45-minute behind-the-scenes tours of the racecourses.
Besides the races, there are lots of other related activities, including pony rides for the kids, a carousel, potato sack races, rocking horses, and hobby horse races.
6. French Open At Stade Roland Garros
Every year, the world’s top-seeded tennis players compete at the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay courts.
“All clay courts are different,” tennis star Venus Williams told The New York Times. “None play the same. This one plays the best.”
The French Open has been held at the historic Stade Roland Garros, which is within Bois de Boulogne park, since 1928. Players more than get a workout on the stadium’s famous red clay courts, sometimes slipping and sliding to win their matches. The unique playing surface, which slows down balls and produces a high bounce, is known to extend games -- so if you’re looking to watch a lot of elite, physically demanding tennis, the French Open is for you.
The dates for the 2021 French Open are May 17 to June 6.
Pro Tip: Just down the road from the stadium is the Roland Garros Museum, which features a permanent exhibit showcasing the history of the competition from 1897 to the present through film clips, multimedia displays, artifacts, and souvenirs. There are also temporary exhibits that tell different aspects of the French Open’s story.
7. Taste Of Paris
You can literally have a taste of Paris at the four-day food extravaganza, Taste of Paris. Held in the 775,000-square-foot Grand Palais, Taste of Paris brings together over 100 top French chefs and restaurants, which offer small tasting plates. Attendees can purchase different tasting options from just an entry ticket for around €20 (booked in advance) to a more expensive Club Taste ticket, which includes champagne, a lunch or dinner with five courses by three resident chefs, and a meet and greet with the chefs. Taste Of Paris also has a gourmet market with hundreds of food products, cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, and for kids, a cooking workshop. The dates for Taste of Paris 2021 are May 13 to May 16.
Pro Tip: Absolutely buy your tickets online and in advance. They sell quickly.
8. Saint Germain Jazz Festival
The Saint Germain Jazz Festival celebrates the Saint Germain des Pres neighborhood of Paris, which has always been the home of the jazz movement in Paris. The concerts and music events are performed in a multitude of venues, including churches, museums, university halls, clubs, and cafes. Past guest artists have included Dee Dee Bridgewater, Norah Jones, Manu Dibango, Michel Legrand, and Lisa Simone.
9. Urban Art Fair
Paris Urban Art Fair is a super successful event in the Marais district of Paris. More than 200 French and international artists display their art in 42 stands of the Carreau du Temple. Art forms include graffiti, street art, stencils, mosaics, and pop-up installations.
2021 marks the fifth anniversary of the fair. It runs from Friday, May 21. to Monday, May 25, and tickets cost €15.
10. Fete De La Musique
One of the biggest events during June in Paris is the Fete de La Musique, which happens on June 21, the longest day of the year. Every nook and cranny of Paris features some form of music, including jazz, funk, electronic, jazz, world music, classical, gospel, and dance. Much of the music is performed outdoors in the streets, parks, gardens, squares, and alleyways of every neighborhood in Paris -- and the entirety of France. The indoor venues include theaters, concert halls, churches, clubs, cafes, and cabarets. Since it’s the longest day of the year and the sun sets at about 10:15 p.m., the Fete de la Musique lasts till the wee hours of the morning. It’s much like a second New Year’s Eve, with bars, clubs, and cafes opening late.
11. Summer Sales
Unlike in the U.S., where sales happen all year round, sales in France are officially designated by the government twice a year: the first week of January for the winter sales and the last week of June for the summer sales. In 2021, the summer sale starts on Wednesday, June 27, and lasts until August 8. Almost every department store and boutique will have the word solde, which means sale, on their windows. The first week’s sales are usually between 20 to 40 percent off, and after that, they extend to 50 to 60 percent off. Unfortunately, the top luxury fashion brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton do not have sales, but Hermes has a non-advertised sale event which is sometimes listed on the internet.
12. We Love Green Festival
The We Love Green festival is committed to environmental issues through music. The concerts are held in four stages: a gigantic open-air stage, a venue for live shows, a smaller open-air stage, and Lalaland, an enormous dance floor. The We Love Green Festival also sponsors an art fair and comedy shows.
The program for 2021 brings together indie, pop-rock, and electro music. Musical acts and DJ sets for the festival for this year include Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Girl in Red, Shygirl, DJ Lag, and Sherelle. It is scheduled for June 3, 5, and 6, and ticket prices range from €55 to €59 for a single day pass for all events.
The outdoor food court reflects the commitment of the festival and serves many vegan and vegetarian dishes. All of the stalls serving food must use locally sourced ingredients and seasonal foods. All natural waste is composted. Organic wines and artisanal beers are served.
There’s also the Think Tank, which organizes talks, panels, and discussions in addition to podcasts.