There’s always something going on in Paris, meaning any break in the French capital is bound to be exciting. This summer is no exception, with lots of excellent events set to take place over June, July and August. I’ve personally visited Paris in both the summer and the fall, and there’s something special about the city of lights in summertime. Even if the Metro is disgustingly hot and sweaty.
Take a look at the list of summer festivals below to see what a summer in Paris might be like. Just make sure you reserve a room early, as cheap hotels in Paris fill up very quickly in the run-up to these events.
Fete de la Musique – June 21st
This is a great time to visit Paris if you’re on a tight budget. The annual Fete de la Musique is a free-to-attend music extravaganza where all the performers also play for free—something that’s pretty rare in the world of festivals!
Performances take place at venues across the city, including parks, museums, stations and in the street. This year’s festival will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first EP, so you can be sure to hear lots of great pop music at the event.
Solidays – June 22nd to 24th
This popular festival at the Hippodrome de Longchamp will see a slew of big names perform in Paris this summer, including The Kills, Garbage and Metronomy. This event isn’t just a promotion vehicle for established artists, though, as lesser-known artists are also given the chance to show what they can do in front of a relaxed and appreciative crowd.
If you’re interested in getting to grips with French music, keep an eye (or ear!) out for indie outfit Concrete Knives, folk band Francois & The Atlas Mountains and electronic rock group Shaka Ponk.
Paris Circuit Party – June 26th to July 1st
The first edition of this celebration of gay culture looks set to be huge. Parties will take place at clubs across Paris, with highlights including the opening party at La Scene Bastille and the massive main event at a complex under the Grande Arche de la Defense, which will be held on the 30th.
The most popular part of the festival is likely to be the LGBT Pride March on the same day, which will see more than 700,000 people and 80 floats make their way through the center of the capital in what is sure to be an immensely colorful (and noisy!) parade.
Bastille Day – July 14th
The French national day is a great time to be in Paris. Held every year on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, this celebration is basically a day of military parades and balls that get the locals—and any visitors lucky enough to be in the city on July 14th—in a suitable mood for the grand fireworks finale.
While fireworks displays are held across France on Bastille Day, Paris unsurprisingly has the biggest and best show in the country. Crowds generally flock to the Eiffel Tower to see the action, but there are several other locations where you can enjoy excellent views without being constantly jostled by other over-excited spectators, such as the Passerelle Debilly bridge and the hilltop Buttes Chaumont Park.
Rock en Seine – August 24th to 26th
Yes, it’s yet another music festival but this one is definitely worth a visit if you’re a fan of indie or rock music. The organizers have outdone themselves with this year’s line-up, which is headlined by Placebo, The Black Keys and Green Day with support from the likes of Grandaddy, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (that’s their actual name, presumably so we can be very sure of which ex-Oasis member formed the band) and Sigur Rós.
The festival takes place at the scenic Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, which is located just outside the city. Public transport connections are excellent, so you should have little trouble getting to the event from your hotel in central Paris.