Friday, June 29, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 29th - July 1st)

June slips into July, and although summer still doesn't seem to have begun, there are still plenty of things to do in Paris. Here are a few suggestions. 

A Streetball tournament
I'm not sure what the differences are between streetball and basketball, especially when the game is not actually being played on or near a street, but this tournament - in the shadow of the Eiffel tower - should nevertheless be quite spectacular. 

For more information see: If you find the event sold out, note that the games will also be transmitted live on YouTube (

Paris Cinema Festival 
Paris is a city that has long been linked to the cinema, but without a major festival of its own. Although this particular festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it is only now growing into an impressive international event. Alongside the traditional film screenings and competitions, the interest from this event comes from its peripheral events, including a live cine-mix with Jeff Mills and a cinema-themed flea market.

La Plage 
A few weeks before the beginning of Paris Plages, another part of Paris will be artificially transformed into a beach with a few tons of imported sand. The La Plage festival takes place at the Glazart bar at the Porte de la Villette and will see a whole host of live outdoor concerts throughout the summer.

Electronic Siestas
If you're looking for a spot for a quick snooze this Sunday, try the Musée du Quai Branly. The museum's Jardin d'Eté has been open for a month already (despite the absence of summer), and this garden will be home each Sunday in July to a series of 'gentle' electronic music concerts. Although you're welcome to listen, you are also encouraged to lay down on the comfortable garden furniture and have a nice sleep!

More information here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 22nd - 24th)

Plenty of things to do in Paris for this first weekend of the summer. Enjoy it! 

A Sporting Weekend
Several sport and game events are taking place in Paris this weekend.

The French American Football final
Yes, the French do really play American Football. If you don't believe me, head down to the Stade Charlety this Saturday at 3pm. The game, between the Black Panthers from Thonon-les-Bains and the Spartiates from Amiens, is completely free too!

For more information see:

A Petanque festival
For something a little more leisurely (and French), stop at the Hotel de Ville where 20 terrains (what do we say in English? Courts? Pitches?) will be set up and ready to use, with the necessary metal boules also freely available. Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 9pm

A festival of board games
And if you're looking for something even more leisurely, how about a relaxing board game? Held - strangely enough - on a Boulodrome (a place where petanque is played) in the 12th arrondissement, it will offer the opportunity to try out hundreds of games - some of which are still in the prototype stage. 

More information:

The Fête du Cinema 
From Sunday until Wednesday, buy one full price cinema ticket then get unlimited access to other films for only €2.50 each time.

The Salon Emmaüs 
This Sunday, from 9.30am to 7pm at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, will be one of the largest flea markets of the year - and it's all for a good cause! Entrance is only 3€, or free for the under 12s or the unemployed

The Highest Book Fair in Paris
A book fair not like the others! Paris Se Livre is being held, on Firday afternoon and all day Saturday, on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse! As entry is free, it could give you the perfect occasion to discover this building and the impressive view it offers over Paris.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Fête de la Musique

If there's one day each year in Paris when you can guarantee it will rain it's June 21st, the first day of summer and also the 'fête de la musique'. With all the rain we've had here recently though, perhaps this year will offer sunshine for once!

The original spirit of the event was just to give people the freedom to set up their equipment at random spots around the city and play the music of their choice, but over time - and this year the event is celebrating it's 30th birthday - it has been a little hijacked by event organisers and consumer brands.

This means that several of the larger events have moved indoors, including the now traditional end-of-Monumenta event at the Grand Palais. This will undoubtedly be spectacular, but the fact that tickets must be reserved in advance, and the fact that the music will in fact be a selection of recorded discs chosen by (admittedly excellent) DJs means that it breaks the spirit of the event a little for me.

The full programme around France can be found here, but my personal highlight starts today in a matter of hours. The Festival 36 heures is being held at the Saint Eustache church near Les Halles and involves - as the name suggests - 36 hours of rock, pop, folk, dance - and classical - concerts non-stop until Thursday night.

See here for more detials:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 15th - 17th)

Le Prix de Diane
One of the most prestigious flat racing meetings of the year takes place this Sunday at the Chantilly racetrack, but the spectacle is much in the stands as on the track. The winner of the main race of the day will pick up the Prix de Diane (and share in a purse of 1 million Euros!), but there will also be a 'Prix de l'élégance mademoiselle' for the most elegantly dressed young lady in the crowd!

Note: Those coming by train will have free entry to the racetrack on presentation of their ticket. Free entry is still possible for those coming by car though - simply download an invitation for two people from Dimanches au Galop website.

For more information see:

Belleville, a village 'en fête' 
The Belleville district will see a series of events on Friday and Saturday, along the Rue de Jourdain, the Rue des Pyrenées and in front of the church. An artists' village will be set up, and shops in the area will also be joining in the party. There will also be plenty of events for children as well as live music on Saturday. 

Artist open days in the Pré Saint Gervais 
Not too far away from Belleville, artists in the town of Pré Saint Gervais district will also be holding open days this weekend. Several events are planned throughout the town and in the artists' studios over the weekend, and perhaps the best way to experience these is by taking one of the special buses that will be running regularly from outside the Porte des Lilas Metro station

See the official website for more information.

Digital Paris - Futur en Seine
Futur en Seine, an annual ten-day festival describes itself as a chance to display "the latest digital innovations to French and international professionals and to the general public". Although these installations are spread out across the Paris region, the festival opens this weekend with a special event at the 104 arts centre.  

See the official website for more information.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

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

Alongside the Seine next to the Gare d'Austerlitz sits a strange-looking building with a green exterior. Nearly three years after the redesign (by architects Jakob + Macfarlane) of this industrial building was finished, it will finally start seeing a few visitors this weekend. After seemingly changing project and name every few months, the structure - a concrete hulk originally used as a warehouse - has been launched as the city's largest terrace and nightclub. Events are planned day and night from Wednesday to Sunday, mixing fashion, arts, leisure, food and music. Something for everyone - if the sun shines!

For basic information on upcoming events see: A more complete site should be launched soon.

Paris Jazz Festival 
This Saturday sees the launch of the annual jazz festival at the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes. When the sun shines it's the perfect place in Paris for a picnic. 

For more information see:

A walk under high-voltage power lines  
If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary this weekend, how about a nature walk alongside a strip of electricity pylons? The walk is jointly organised by the electricity network and the museum national d'histoire naturelle, and aims to show the impressive biodiversity that exists in these corridors. The walk, on Sunday at 2.30pm, begins outside of Paris in the small town of Marolles-en-Brie, meaning that a car will be probably required to get there. Nevertheless, for those who do make the effort, snacks and a small gift are promised!

See the blog for more information.

Football - from a different perspective  
The Euro 2012 football tournament begins this Friday, and although you'll be able to follow it in numerous bars around the capital (despite Al Jazeera buying the rights..), perhaps the most interesting experience will be at the 104 arts centre on Sunday. Organised by Tatane, the association of ex-international Vikash Dhorasso, the day will begin with a football tournament in the main hall, continue with film and music in the afternoon, then end with the Italy v Spain match on a giant TV screen. The main difference? Commentary for the match will be given by comedians and journalists - and even by controversial ex-manager Raymond Domenech (who Dhorasso has clearly forgiven now).

Entrance for all events is free, but note that you should reserve your places for the match in advance by sending an e-mail to
See the blog for more information.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Something for the Weekend (June 1st - 3rd)

A new month, warm weather, long evenings - plenty to feel inspired by in Paris this weekend! 

Menil'Fest - a festival in Menilmontant
Running for a week from May 31st, the Menil'Fest event in the Menilmontant district of Paris (20th arrondissement, around the Père Lachaise and Menilmontant M° stations) brings together music, slam and artists in several locations, including an outdoor stage. Saturday and Sunday will be the busiest days with an 'allée des créateurs' and live music on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant.

For full information on the event, see here:

Designer's Days 
This four-day event is the chance for Paris to highlight the leading role it plays in the fields of design and architecture. Dozens of visits and happenings are scheduled across the city, which along with events in shops and galleries will also include the visit to an unfinished new Metro station that is normally strictly off-limits to the public.

One of the most interesting events could be the 'Portraits' exhibition at the Boutique Talents - Ateliers d’Art de France (1, bis rue Scribe - 75009 M° Opéra). Several creations (furniture, sculpture, textiles..) will be placed in a series of interactive scenes for you to investigate and touch. Additionally - and most interestingly - a photographer will be present at each 'scene' ready to take your photo with the object concerned - a photo that you will be able to take home as a souvenir!
For more information see: I'm not sure if it's just my browser or if it's a temporary problem, but the person who designed this site certainly doesn't deserve an award.

Jardins de l'Essone 
If you're looking to get out of Paris for the weekend, the best option could be to escape to one of the dozens of gardens taking part in the annual 'Rendez-vous aux jardins' event in the Essonne department to the south of Paris this weekend. Activities range from simple visits to 'picnic spectacles' with theatrical performances, so there should be something for everyone.

Click here for more information on the gardens and their locations.