Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Something for the Summer

Paris Weekends is taking a holiday for the summer, so rather than the weekly recommendations, you will find here a list of the principal activities on offer in Paris this July and August.

Paris Plages

The original Paris Plage celebrates its 10th birthday this year. In the last couple of years it has also spread out to the Basin de la Villette which offers a more laid back atmosphere and more emphasis on water sports. The event runs from July 21st to August 21st, and you'll find full details on all activities here.

Of course, this initiative has also lead to imitators around the world, some of which can be found in the neighbouring towns of Paris. Two examples this summer:

Puteaux Plage from July 2nd - August 15th
Lutece Plage at the Parc Asterix!

A 'plage' is not just somewhere to go when the sun shines though, but also at night. La Plage at the Glaz'art bar near La Villette offers concerts, DJ sets and petanque throughout the summer.

Cinema under the stars

The main outdoor cinema festival is held each year in the La Villette park. This year's theme is 'D'une rue à l'autre' (from one street to another), and runs from 19th July to August 21st. The full programme can be found here.

The Cinema au Clair de lune festival organised by the Forum des Images also aims to get people out watching films under the stars (or streetlights) from August 3rd - 21st. The full programme can be found here.

The 11th arrondissement will also host some outdoor film shows, but you'll need to bring your own chair!

If you're outside Paris, chances are you might find a temporary open air cinema on your route. The Cinesites organisation tries to couple heritage sites with suitable films, and there are plenty of interesting combinations planned this summer!

Summer bars and venues
Several places in and around Paris dress themselves up (or down) for summer, putting on a series of special events. Here is a selection of some of the most interesting:

La Bellevilloise: La Grande Prairie is a 500m2 loft with artificial grass, fake flowers and deckchairs, but also a cool venue with cocktail bars, massages and events scheduled throughout the summer.

Le Petit Bain: The newest arrival alongside the Seine, a floating wooden box offering a casual restaurant and Latino themed music throughout the summer.

Les vendredis de Longchamp: Each Friday evening, the Longchamp racecourse turns into a spectacular outdoor nightclub!

Several cultural festivals are organised in Paris during the summer.

Paris Quartier d'Ete: The biggest festival of the summer, offering hundreds of events in a wide variety of locations in and around Paris, from July 14th to August 9th.

BitterSweet (Paradise): Six venues, ten days, fifty artists. A celebration of indypop music from July 14th - 23rd. One of the planned events will also combine music with knitting!

Music in the park: The Parc Floral remains one of the best places to chill out at weekends throughout the summer. The jazz festival runs until July 31st, when the Classique au Vert classical music festival takes over (until September 25th)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Something for the Weekend (8th - 10th July)

A few suggestions for things to do and places to go in and around Paris this weekend.


Haute Cuisine
Surely the most pretentious event of the weekend, if not the year, ('an emotional and aesthetic journey'!) but it may be of interest to some. The idea behind the event - held in the Palais Royal gardens - is to couple cuisine with the current ongoing Haute Couture shows in Paris, attempting to find links between the worlds of food and fashion. What is perhaps most irritating of all about the event - and perhaps something that outlines clearly the objectives of the organisers - is how they have transformed 'haute cuisine Paris' into a registered trade mark (visible on this page)!

See here for more information:

Fête des Tuileries

For something much less pretentious, with food that is anything but haute cuisine, try the funfair in the Tuileries. Although it is dressed up as being something with historic roots, it is in fact just a strip of fun rides and activities, some of which are reserved for only the most daring (or those with the strongest stomachs, especially if they have also just eaten some chichis).

Full details can be found here:

Un Petit Bain
The newest venue on the Seine is a floating barge called Le Petit Bain. Designed specially by a collective of architects called Encore Heureux, it combines a concert venue of 450 places, a rooftop terrace and a restaurant all inside something that looks like a wooden box. Concerts are generally on a Latino theme, and it should be the hottest location of the summer!

Find out more here:

The Triathlon de Paris

Staying alongside the Seine, the Triathlon de Paris is taking place this weekend, starting with a 1.5km swim in the river by the Eiffel tower. Although it is of course too late to sign up now, it should be spectacular to watch and very photogenic, and a temporary village has been set up on the Champ de Mars with stands that may tempt you into trying the discipline next year!

Restaurant and Bar of the Week

Le Cafe des Musees
Not a recent opening or a venue that has suddenly become fashionable, but one that has remained simple, reasonable and of good quality over a number of years. Amateur food critic John Talbott reminded us of its qualities with a post on his blog this week, describing "food that is fine and as well-priced as one can find in Paris".

49 Rue Turenne, 75003

Take a Break from Paris


Just 15 minutes from the centre of Paris, Enghien is nevertheless a world apart. The town is based around a lake and spa at its centre which gives it the second part of its name - les bains. This water feature also gave it a second advantage as - given the obscure licencing laws in France - it was able to install a casino.

However, this summer it is at one of the town's other attractions that most of the action will be taking place - the Hippodrome d'Enghien. As well as the standard racing, a whole series of other events are being organised, two or three days a week, throughout the summer.

Full details can be found here: