Paris events during July include some of the year's most exciting things to do and see: the Tour de France bicycle race finishes with a flourish down the Champs-Élysées, the huge (and free) Fnac Music Festival at Hotel de Ville, city beaches complete with sand and palm trees pop up next to the Seine River, and Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower lights up the night skies.
You'll also find more Bastille Day celebrations including a huge parade and Firemen's Balls, free outdoor film festivals, concerts, and art shows.
Get ready to have a spectacular time in the City of Lights, and enjoy the long sunny days and fun things to do that makes July one of the best months for visiting Paris.
Top photo: Tour de France
Bastille Day Celebrations & Fireworks - 2021
Bastille Day, the biggest Paris summer holiday and a national celebration throughout France, always takes place on July 14, the anniversary of the storming of the infamous Bastille prison on July 14, 1789 - a turning point in the French Revolution.
The day starts with military ceremonies and a huge military parade down the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde including a flyover of military aircraft that you can see from most points in the city.
The military ceremonies begin at 10am, the flyover takes place at about 10:45am, and the parade kicks off at 11am, and lasts almost an hour. Arrive early if you want to stake out a good viewing location along the Champs Élysées.
A truly spectacular fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower on the Champ de Mars begins at 11pm, and lasts about half an hour. Gather on the Champ de Mars with a blanket and picnic from noon on to relax and enjoy free concerts, including an opera under Tour Eiffel beginning at 9:30pm.
More to Enjoy: Firemen's Balls at the fire station in each Paris district (arrondissement) on July 13th and 14th. (Cancelled for 2021)
Special Bastille Day Fireworks Cruises
Perhaps the best place to see the Bastille Day fireworks is from a cruise boat on the Seine on July 14. Enjoy dinner and fine wine as you float past all the iconic landmarks along the Seine, and then watch the dazzling fireworks overhead.
Normally you can choose from several different options but this year, only one (so far) cruise is on offer: a Bastille Day Dinner Cruise featuring a special 6-course dinner with Champagne and wine plus live music. Capacity will be reduced for safety - so don't wait to book if you want to do this dinner cruise.
Plus, it's always possible that more cruises will be added closer to the event - you can find any updates in our Bastille Day article.
July Concerts in Paris - 2021
- Candlelight Concert (optional wine & tapas or champagne) - Sainte-Chapelle - July 30, 31
- Candlelight Concert: Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky - Saint Ephrem Church - July 30
- Vivaldi's Four Seasons - Madeleine Church - July 31
- Gospel Concert - Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church - July 31
Concerts Scheduled for 2022
- Platée - Palais Garnier - July 1, 5, 7, 10, 15, 2022
- Faust: Paris Opera - Opéra Bastille - July 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 2022
- A Midsummer Night's Dream: Paris Opera Ballet - Opéra Bastille - July 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 2022
- Giselle - Opéra Bastille - July 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 2022
Visiting Giverny in July
Impressionist artist Claude Monet spent the last half of his life in Giverny, a small village in Normandy about 45 miles (about 1 hour and 15-30 minutes) outside of Paris, where his famed water lily ponds burst into bloom during July and August.
Visiting Giverny is a quick and easy day trip from Paris, and if you're a Monet fan, it's an experience you'll want to put at the top of your bucket list. Thanks to a meticulous restoration after Monet's death, you will see his house, gardens, and water lily pond much as they were when he lived here and painted some of his finest masterpieces. The easiest way to visit, especially if you want to maximize your time in Paris, is by joining a tour.
Popular Giverny Tours from Paris
All of these tours include transportation to/from Paris and fast entry into the attractions:
- Half-day trip to Giverny from Paris - Choose a guided tour, audioguide, or independent tour
- Giverny: Monet's Garden Half-Day Tour from Paris - Includes transportation from Paris by minibus
- Monet Impressionism Tour to Giverny from Paris - Explore Monet's famous home and gardens in Giverny, and visit his tomb and church; optional pickup and drop-off at your Paris hotel
Paris Plages ("Paris Beaches") transforms parts of Paris into fun-filled beaches each summer.
You'll find Paris Plages at two main locations this year: the Seine River Banks in central Paris and the Villette Canal Basin in the 19th arrondissement. Relax in deck chairs, visit the many floating theater, restaurants, ice cream stands, and bars along the water, and cool off in the huge Paris Plages swimming pools at Bassin de Villette. Don't miss the many concerts! Water activities such paddle boats, kayaking, canoeing, and games add to the fun. There's even a climbing wall on a barge this year.
Dates: July 10 - Aug 22
Popular Seine River Cruises
Latin America Festival - 2021
Enjoy two days of free DJ sets, activities, and art at this celebration of trend-setting, stereotype-breaking contemporary Latin American culture presented by 50+ Latino artists and actors from across Europe at the new, super-cool Kilomèter25 performance and exhibition venue located by the Canal de l'Ourcq under the Periphèrique across from Parc de la Villette.
When & where: July 10-11, from 12am-8pm, 12/A Rue Ella Fitzgerald in the 19th arrondissement
Metro: Port de la Villette
Summer Sales on Designer Fashions 2021
The famous Paris summer sales, after a delayed start in late June to due to the pandemic, continue through most of July this year, ending on July 27.
For many savvy fashionistas, the July portion of the sales marks the sweet spot when stores proceed to the 2nd and even 3rd reduction, changing the Soldes signs in their store windows to soar as high as 70-80% at toward the end.
Best places to find bargains? Everywhere! Luxury labels such as Chanel, Valentino, and Armani draw huge crowds - ditto for Galeries Lafayette, BHV, Bon Marché, and Au Printemps - but don't ignore smaller boutiques and even global mid-market chains.
Coveted Hermès bags, shoes, clothing, and other goodies usually go on sale for 2-3 days at the beginning of the sales period, so keep an eye on the start date if you want to fill one of their famous orange bags with bargains.
Paris Tours for Fashionistas
Paris Fashion Week 2021
Haute Couture Fashion Week takes place in Paris from July 4 - July 8 for designers to present their latest high fashion collections. (If you're planning ahead, the 2022 dates are July 3-7).
Paris l'Été ("Paris in the Summer") - 2021
Want a fun excuse to explore different Paris neighborhood while celebrating summer in the city?
The annual Paris l'Été Festival (Paris SummerFestival) offers free or inexpensive outdoor music, dance, circus, and performances in all parts of the city, often in unusual places - usually more than 70 events in 30 different locations - and celebrates the city's cultural diversity while mixing avant-garde/off-beat events with more mainstream traditions. The festival runs from July 12 - August 1. Events are free or moderately priced. Don't miss it!
Outdoor Movies at Parc de la Villette - 2021
Free outdoor movies return to Parc de la Villette again this summer for the Cinéma en Plein Air (Open Air Cinema). This year's theme: Queens and Kings (plus a few sportsmen, musicians, and outlaws thrown into the mix for good measure).
On most Wednesday through Sunday evenings during five weeks in July and August, great mix of classic films and recent hits are shown in their original language with French subtitles as soon as the sky is dark enough.
Screenings start time: July 16-18 - 10:30pm; July 21-25 - 10:15pm; July 28-31 - 10pm
Bring a blanket to sit on, a picnic dinner, and a bottle of wine. Food will also be sold at the site.
Cinéma en Plein Air Lineup for July:
July 16 - Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola (English)
July 17 - Dilili in Paris (French; animation)
July 18 - Napoleon Bonaparte (French)
July 21 - Jackie (English)
July 22 - Bright Star( English)
July 23 - Ed Wood (English)
July 24 - The Wind is Rising (Japanese)
July 25 - Coconut: Before Chanel (French)
July 28 - The Queen (English)
July 29 - Augustine (French)
July 30 - Cyrano de Bergerac (French)
July 31 - First Man on the Moon (English)
Paris Exhibits - Must-See Shows
The World of Banksy: The Immersive Experience
@ Espace Lafayette Drouot - June 1 through December 31 - Immerse yourself in reproductions of over 100 works by the famous but mysterious street artist Banksy. Optional: Visit a recreation in Paris of The Walled Off Hotel.
Napoleon: The Exhibition
@ Grande Halle de La Villette - This blockbuster show explores the heroic and tragic life of Napoleon Bonaparte and his role in shaping today's France; uses 150+ original artworks, personal items, huge reconstructions, and digitized displays to immerse visitors in decisive moments in French history.
Dates: Now through December 19, 2021
Paris Museum and Attractions Passes
La Fête Foraine des Tuileries 2021
La Fête Foraine des Tuileries - literally, a "Fun Fair," or carnival - suddenly pops up in Paris's Tuileries Garden in early July for two months of non-stop entertainment. With a giant ferris wheel (hint: bring your camera for great shots of Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower), carousels, bumper cars, "fun houses," gut-wrenching rides for thrill seekers, children's games, and a lot more, the carnival entertains families with kids, teens, and everyone else seeking fun throughout the rest of the summer.
And of course, massive amounts of carvival food will be for sale: cotton candy, waffles (gaufres), crepes, ice cream, fried dough, BBQ, and drinks.
If you're visiting Paris, combine a stroll through Tuileries Garden and the Fête Foraine with a visit to other nearby attractions: the treasure-filled Louvre, Monet's giant Water Lily paintings at Musée de l'Orangerie at the opposite corner of the garden, and the Musée d'Orsay almost directly across the river.
Tour de France Grand Finale in Paris - 2021
The famous Tour de France bicycle race - 23 days and 2,000 miles (3,540 kilometers) long - comes to an exciting close in Paris on Sunday, July 18.
Arrival time in Paris is hard to predict and varies every year, but somewhere between 3:30 and 5:30 is a reasonable guess. The final Paris stretch includes 6-10 laps around the Arc de Triomphe, up and down Champs-Élysées and around the Tuileries Garden - which gives you plenty of chances to see the racers.
You can watch the race anywhere along this route, but viewing areas along Champs-Élysées fill up quickly due to barriers keeping you back from the street and "privitized" areas used for outdoor dining by restaurants and other businesses. Tuileries Garden and areas on the other side of surrounding streets are usually somewhat less crowded, and especially if you get there early, you can usually find a good place.
Festivals du Parc Floral: Paris Jazz Festival, Classic in Green, Pestacles, Nocturnes - 2021
From late June or early July, Parc Floral (the Paris Botanical Garden) in Bois de Vincennes hosts four concurrent musical festivals: Paris Jazz Festival, Classic in Green (classical music), Pestacles (a children's concert series for ages 4 and up), and Nocturnes (night concerts of contemperary, jazz, or classical music).
The outdoor concerts take place every Saturday and Sunday on several stages in the park. Almost all of the concerts are free, although the park charges a small 3€) entrance fee during summer and early fall.
Check the Festival's website to download a brochure with dates, lineups, and concert times. Most take place in the afternoon and early evening, except for the Nocturnes concerts which tend to be late at night. The brochure is in French, but the information is easy to figure out even if you only know a few words. One tip: if you see "gratuit," that means the concert is free.
Bring a blanket and a picnic or buy wine and a sandwich at the park's snack bar, and get ready for a relaxing afternoon and evening enjoying the sunshine, flowers, wandering peacocks, and virtuoso musicians.
Dates: June 30 - September 8
Getting there: Bois de Vincennes, located in 12th Arrondissement on the eastern edge of Paris, is easy to reach - just hop on RER A train or Metro Line 1 to the Chateau de Vincennes Metro Station - the park is about a 3-minute walk from the station.
Bonus activities: Arrive early and stroll through Parc Floral's famous gardens, or explore Bois de Vincennes' other attractions such as its spectacular zoo, Lac Daumesnil (rent a row boat!), the aquarium, and 14th century Château de Vincennes.
Firemen's Balls - Cancelled for 2021
Want to celebrate Bastille Day like a true Parisian? Attend one or more of the Firemen's Balls- Bals des Pompiers - held on July 13th and/or 14th as the main fire house in each Paris arrondissement (district) opens its barracks and courtyards and welcomes the public for an all-night party with music, dancing, and drinking Champagne or beer.
The Bals des Pompiers start at 9pm and end at 4am. Depending on the fire house, they take place on July 13 or July 14 - and in a few cases, on both dates.
Fnac Live Music Festival at Hotel de Ville - Free Concerts - 2022
Returning in 2022 (so not this year): Don't miss three days of free live concerts by 30 artists including Columbine, Stephan Eicher, and Radio Elvis in front of Hôtel de Ville (Paris's City Hall) from 7:40pm-midnight on July 1 and 6pm-midnight on July 2 and 3 by contemporary French musicians as part of the big Paris Plages (beaches) summer event. French electronic retail chain Fnac sponsors the concerts, which usually attract around 100,000 fans.