There’s quite an eclectic choice of cool festivals and fairs that you should attend in Paris if you want a feel for the city beyond just the standard landmarks and museums. They are exciting and original and very distinctly Parisian.

    Wine is obviously in the spotlight at 2 of these events, but from circus to English theatre to chocolate, there’s bound to be something that will make your visit to the French capital extra-special. Just be sure to book your travels at the right time because, while all of the events on our list are annual, they’re spread right across the calendar.



    Experience an Urban Beach on the Shores of the Seine

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    Paris-Plages are a unique attraction and public works project for the people of Paris, offering temporary "pop up" beaches all summer long for the relaxation and enjoyment of locals and visitors. These beaches allow the shores of the Seine to take on the look of a riviera resort complete with palm trees.

    They can be found in two different locations, both in the heart of the city centre, and they offer a wide range of fun activities for both kids and grown-ups from games to refreshments and more. These locations make for a great way to relax and enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun on your Parisian holiday.

    Location: Voie Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

    Open: July–August, daily from 10 am to 8 pm


    Fête de la Musique

    When musicians take the streets

    The Fête de la Musique (Make Music Day) is a festival held every year on the 21st of June. Every musician in the country is encouraged to go and perform in the streets, everywhere in the country. It’s obviously in Paris that the event gathers most people. Besides the amateur bands and musicians who play in the streets, large free concerts featuring professional artists are organised on the main squares of Paris.

    When: Annually, on 21st of June
    Where: In the streets and squares of Paris (and all cities in France)

    photo by Ruth Temple (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Foire du Trône

    Fall back into childhood at this famous funfair

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    The Foire du Trône is a large funfair held every year in April and May on the Pelouse de Reuilly, at the western end of the Vincennes Woods. Hosting all the classic funfair attractions such as rollercoaster, Ferris wheels and ghost trains, the Foire du Trône will carry you straight back to your childhood. In addition to the thrilling rides, the funfair features themed days and festive events, including a carnival.

    When: Annually, in April and May
    Where: On the Pelouse de Reuilly, at the western end of the Vincennes Woods


    photo by Eric Jappini (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Grand Tasting

    Clink glasses at the best French wines festival

    The Grand Tasting is a 2-day event that every wine lover should attend. It’s held in December in Le Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping mall on Rue de Rivoli. Described as the best French wine festival, it gathers over 400 winemakers, producers and oenologists. Featuring wine-tasting courses, degustation of recently produced wines as well as food and wine pairing courses, you’ll learn a lot about wine at this event.

    When: Annually, in December
    Where: In Le Carrousel du Louvre, on Rue de Rivoli


    Paris Fringe Festival

    An international festival of performing arts

    Dedicated to international theatre and performing arts, the Paris Fringe Festival showcases artists and theatre companies from all around the world. Contemporary dance, comedy and theatre performances are on the programme of this festival, with the peculiarity that most of the shows are enacted in English. Another oddity of the Paris Fringe Festival is that the main venue it’s hosted at and the dates it’s held are different from one year to another.

    When: Annually
    Where: In one of the many theatres in Paris


    Salon du Chocolat

    The chocolate-lovers rendezvous

    Every chocolate-lover should head to the Palais des Congrès de Paris at the end of October. It’s the venue for the Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show). This international trade fair showcases artisans, top chefs, chocolate industry companies and cocoa producers from over 60 countries. From the Chocolate Fashion Show to exhibits of chocolate sculptures and many other events, you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the best chocolates in the world.

    When: Annually, end of October
    Where: At the Palais des Congrès de Paris, Place de la Porte Maillot


    Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain

    See impressive circus acts performed by young international artists

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    The Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (The World Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow) showcases young circus performers from all over the world. They perform in front of an international jury and circus enthusiasts. In a similar way to the Olympic Games, the best performers receive gold, silver and bronze medals. The categories in which they perform include acrobatics, tightrope walking, juggling and more. Be prepared to be amazed by the skills of these performers under 25 years of age.

    When: Annually, at the end of January
    Where: On the Pelouse de Reuilly, at the western end of the Vincennes Woods


    Fête des Vendanges

    Sample the last wine produced in Paris

    The Fête des Vendanges (Grape Harvest Festival) is held in mid-October on the west slope of Montmartre Hill. This festive event gives you the opportunity to sample the wine from Clos Montmartre, the last vineyard of Paris. Tastings of artisanal and regional products, concerts and exhibitions are on the programme of the Grape Harvest Festival. The atmosphere of this festival, which involves over 40 bars and restaurants from the 18th Arrondissement of Paris, is very lively.

    When: Annually, mid-October
    Where: On the west flank of Montmartre Hill


    photo by ErasmusOfParis (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Bastille Day

    Celebrate the French National Day Like Real French Do!

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    Clink champagne glasses on a Bastille Day holiday as fireworks erupt over Paris’ Eiffel Tower. A military parade and flypast signal the start of the celebrations. Throughout the capital, fire stations are thrown open for partygoers to dance till they drop. Bastille Day hotels get snapped up quickly so book early to celebrate Paris’ finest hour.

    Open: July 14th

    photo by Yann Caradec (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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