It’s January, the start of a new year. Everyone at work, though just back from their holiday breaks, has been talking about what trips and vacations everyone has planned for the year. While I don’t have all of my weekend jaunts and 3-week retreats scheduled just yet, it got me thinking about what’s on deck for 2017.
So here it all is! A schedule of all the events and noteworthy Paris things to come this year that I’ve got on my radar. Give or take a few dozen, that is:
Paris Calendar of Events
January 1st – New Year’s Day
Everything’s closed. France is hungover. Everyone starts wishing each other Happy New Year, “meilleurs vœux” for the new year, “plein de bonnes choses,” health and happiness and all that good stuff.
January 6th (ish) – Galette des Rois
The “King Cake” is not like the New Orleans Mardi Gras version. This flaky, buttery, almond-flavored pastry is shared around the 6th of January (Epiphany) between family, among friends, and even very commonly in offices. In the galette is hidden a little “fève“, a tiny figurine, and whoever finds it in their slice is King (or Queen) and gets to wear a crown. There are whole traditions surrounding cutting the galette, the youngest person hides under the table and picks who each slice goes to, etc. Point is, it’s a delicious tradition and everybody loves it.
January 11th-February 21st – Les Soldes
SAAAAAAALES! Twice a year, France retail participates in Les Soldes, the biannual sale-fest that both gets me giddy and frustrates me endlessly (because you only get good sales during Les Soldes). For real, it’s a government-sanctioned sale season. Deals can be pretty good (especially for France) but they go really fast so it’s up to you whether you want to go for the earliest discount or press your luck and wait for the week 2 or week 3 price reductions!
January 21-22nd – Moving!
Obviously not an official holiday. All of Paris is not moving (although I’m sure they’d like to relocate to somewhere with nicer weather). Frenchman and l’Américaine are officially emménager-ing into our new apartment in Saint Germain en Laye. No more temporary furnished apartments full of other people’s gross stuff! On to bigger, emptier apartments without practically any stuff… Baby steps
February 14th – Valentine’s Day
Not just a Hallmark Holiday. France does it too!
February 25 – March 5th – Salon de l’Agriculture
Get ready for cows, cows, and more cows! And all the products that come with (from?) cows! Plus horses, bunnies, cheese, wine, and much, much more. The Salon de l’Agriculture is an exposition of all things French agriculture on a massive scale.
March 16 – 17th – Easter & Easter Monday
Because you need two days to eat all the chocolate that you receive 😃 This is an official day off of work though, the first bank holiday of the year and the French are r-e-a-d-y.
April 4th – Anniversary
A year as Madame Frenchman ❤️
May – The Month with All the Holidays
May is a month in France where nearly every weekend is a long weekend, if the days of the week fall just right. Last year nearly all bank holidays fell on Sundays and the French were le disappointed. Unlike in the US, if bank holidays fall on a weekend, tough luck. You don’t get the Monday off.
May 20th – Nuit des Musées
Night at the Museum(s)! This one night, the museums of Paris are open late – and for free – to explore exhibits, performances, and culture you haven’t gotten a chance to see yet.
June – Return of the Parents
It’s Parents in Paris Part 2! This time, the parents take on Normandy for an uplifting tour of WW2 history. I am SO excited for them to come back to Paris, to show them some more of my favorite places (and food) and get some quality time on the same continent.
June 21st – Fête de la Musique
One night dedicated to the celebration of music! Bands and musicians pop up on every corner and music spills out into the streets everywhere. It’s a fun night to be out and about in any neighborhood.
June-August – Fête des Tuileries (Carnival)
For three whole months, the jardins des Tuileries (you know, the gardens between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde) are suddenly occupied by a carnival. It’s bright, and noisy, and gloriously juxtaposed next to gorgeous, refined Haussmann buildings and, well, the Mona Lisa.
July 14th – Bastille Day
The French Independence Day, sort of. There are fireworks in the heat of summer, that’s all you really need to know.
July 23rd – Tour de France (the finish)
The Tour de France bike race finishes on the Champs Elysées in Paris. The race officially begins July 1st, winds its way through its intense course, and then makes the home stretch through the city. Ahead of the racers, a wacky caravan comes through blaring music, pumping up the crowds, and (historically) tossing tons of goodies.
July & August – Paris Plage
While summer is in full swing, for those who can’t leave Paris to go to the beach, they bring the beach to Paris! For two months, a whole section of the walkway along the Seine is filled with sand, beach chairs, volleyball, and beachy fun.
August – The Month When Everybody Leaves
Paris is empty. Except for all the tourists. France goes on vacation in August, to the extent that some offices even close completely because business is so slow and employees are all away. If you’re questioning how very French the French can be, even Berthillon, the world-famous ice cream maker on Ile Saint-Louis, the epicenter of tourism, closes in August. Yep, the ice cream place closes in summer.
September 17-18th – Journées du Patrimoine
Cool heritage sites like the Elysée Palace (where the President lives), private Chateaux, etc. are open to the public and free to visit.
October 7th – Nuit Blanche
Museums of Paris are open all night! Explore museums from dusk to dawn, for free.
October 11-15th* – Fête des Vendanges
Paris’ wine festival in and around the vineyard in Montmartre. Yes, there’s a vineyard in Paris. No, I don’t know if the wine is any good. Yes, I’ll go with you this year to find out.
October 13-15th – Oktoberfest
Every year, the wine festival and the German beer festival fall on the same weekend. It’s Sophie’s Choice for boozy Parisians. Last year I finally got to check out the Fête des Vendanges, but missed Oktoberfest. Maybe this is the year? Or maybe I’ll just go to Munich…
October 28-November 1st* – Salon du Chocolat
How could I miss this, my favorite chocolate-laden event of all time? I’ve already been twice. I’m going for a third time, just to make sure nothing changed, you know? #NoRegrets
November 17th – Beaujolais Nouveau
Fireworks and funny noise-making cars circle to celebrate this year’s vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau wine! And, of course, it means you have to pick up a bottle to test for yourself.
December – Christmas Markets & Ferris Wheel
Find cute (but very busy) holiday markets both at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and along the Champs Elysées. At the end of the Champs at Place de la Concorde, there’s a big-ass ferris wheel that gives gorgeous views of the city in both day and nighttime.
Enjoy them for me because THIS YEAR I’M GOING HOME! Two years in a row away from home for Christmas was tough. It’s time for some good old holidays the American way.
December 31st – New Year’s Eve
And that’s a wrap!
And these are just the highlights! I can’t wait to see what else Paris has to throw at us this year. I’m sure there a tons of events and festivals and hidden gems just waiting to be stumbled upon.
*Disclaimer: If you’re reading this in like October, do yourself a favor and double-check the dates if you intend to go to any of these things. I cannot be held responsible for dates found in January for events much later in the year!