Paris in July – what’s on?

Judy Macmahon0 (400x400)We love Paris at all times, don’t get us wrong. Even if we feel a bit miffed at times by the delays on the RER, or the mess made by un petit chien on the street, on l’adore toujours, sans arrêt.

Paris in July is when visitors come in their masses, and maybe we Francophiles struggle just a little to make the most of our dearly loved city amidst all the queues…

But fear not! Again, we’ve made up a fabulous list just for you, to ensure you make the most of this gorgeous city, and steer clear of the tourist traps this sweltering summer season.

Paris always has so much to offer. It’s always a little tricky to both make the most of the fantastic and well-known events, whilst also managing to experience la vraie Paris – minus the queues, fuss and bother. Fortunately for you, we think that this list covers all bases.

Bon juillet tout le monde!

Bien sûr – Bastille Day

Paris July

What is it? Now, we know that this is a rather obvious one to start the list off with, as it’s the French National holiday and we’re sure you know all about it. However, we just thought we’d slip it in – because it’s just too fabulous to miss!

People all over the length and breadth of France will be throwing their efforts into celebrating this historical day, but events really come to a climax in the capital. There will be a military parade on the Champs-Elysées, some slightly impressive fireworks (alright, very impressive), musical events, communal meals, and Firemen’s balls in fire stations (9pm-4am). Of course, if you have French friends in the capital, it would be a great day to celebrate with them. Understandably; it’s a very important day in the French calendar. 

Why should I go? Although it’s not exactly an exclusive event, it’s too important to miss or to snub in any way. The French place a great deal of importance on celebrating this day, and the streets will be a real jungle of activity as families, couples, the elderly, friends, and young people all join together pour fêter.

14 July
Events are all over Paris
More details here.

Final stage of the Tour de France

Paris July

What is it? Ahh… to finish weeks of hard-core cycling, and to roll (or push yourself) into Paris and see the beckoning Eiffel Tower; to feel all the effort finally paying off and the sun beating down on the back of your tired neck and weather-beaten face.

Well, not quite for us – but we can definitely watch the cyclists of the Tour de France make a dazzling finish on the Champs-Elysées on 27 July this year- and we can bask in their success!

The finish will, as always, be spectacular. The official website calls the Champs-Elysées the “theatre for the final act of the Tour de France”, and it’s definitely a great atmosphere to be part of as the cyclists finally cross the finish line at this impressive Parisian spot.

Why should I go? People crowd the sidewalks and talk with excitement about the race. On such a sunny day, it’s really fantastic to behold such excitement.

27 July
Les Champs-Elysées
More details here.

A night at the ballet: ‘Nôtre Dame de Paris

Paris July

What is it? Victor Hugo’s acclaimed and much performed tale ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ has been shortened into something much punchier, more radical (and we think even more memorable), and in the form of a ballet. This dramatic transformation can only be described as intense. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the Parisian cultural scene.

What we love the most about this ballet is not just the incredible dancing, but what comes with it. The music is by Maurice Jarre and costumes by Yves Saint-Laurent – so you’ll be utterly stupefied in more ways than one.

Why should I go? This ballet is sure to be incredible, and make for a fantastic, sophisticated, night out in Paris. We also recommend making a real night out of it – whilst in the quartier de Bastille, why not  take advantage of one of the fantastic restaurants on offer? We’d strongly recommend Bones, so long as you book well in advance.

1-16 July
From 5€ to 110€
L’Opéra Bastille
More details here.

La Belle Epoque de Paris

Judy Macmahon4

What is it? We all know about Paris’ ‘Belle Epoque‘, and how we long to have been there! The Great Depression was over, and la ville des lumières was in high swing, and well living up to its nickname. Debussy and Ravel are busily creating masterpieces, as are Monet, Picasso, Cézanne, and Renoir – and Rodin’s ‘Thinker’ was underway.

This expo, named Paris 1900, will feature 600 objects which attempt to demonstrate the magnitude and wonder of the works produced during this era. This will include anything from paintings to restaurant menus; clothes to sculpture.

Why should I go? The man behind it all, Christophe Leribault, explains:

“Paris was one great party. There was a spirit of confidence, of joie de vivre, with so many things going on at the same time. Even the future king of England came to Paris to enjoy himself. It was the capital of everything. It was one big party with elements of the funfair about it.”

And this is your chance to view this for yourself; to relive Paris’ glory days (not that it isn’t still glorious).

2 April – 17 August 2014
Full price is 11€; concession is 8€; half price is 5.5€
Le Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008
Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau
More details here.

Paris Quartier d’Été

Judy Macmahon6

What is it? Held annually since 1990, this festival of contemporary performing arts brings together theatre, music, circus and dance. The events take place in all kinds of locations – from parks and gardens to churches. The festival runs from Bastille Day to mid-August and there are events every day except Monday (with the exception of Monday 14 July).

Why should I go? While seeing a show at the Palais Garnier is grand, Paris Quartier d’Eté is a great chance to see some truly unique performance art. On top of that, many of the events are held outside, so bring along a picnic blanket, some gourmet nibbles and enjoy the wonderful Parisian sunshine.

14 July – 15 August 2014
Prices range from gratuit up to 32€.
Events are all over Paris.

What are you looking forward to in Paris this July? Have we missed anything off our list? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credits:
1. Parc Montasouris by Stéphane D via Wikipedia
2. Bastille Day by Gonzalo Fuentes via Darkroom
3. Tour de France by William Morice via Wikipedia 
4. L’Opera Bastille by Svein-Magne Tunli via Wikipedia
5. Lautrec Marcelle Lender doing the bolero in ‘chilperic’ via Wikipedia
6. Quartiers d’Été, via DixHuitInfo.

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

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  1. Elise Mellor Jun 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM - Reply

    I would LOVE to see the Belle Epoch exhibition! What a glorious time in Paris… the artists, the dreamers!

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