Paris during March

Mardi Gras, Fairs, a Half Marathon, Sidewalk Cafés

Paris Events for March 2019

March in Paris - Best Things to Do & See

Paris events in March welcome early signs of spring and longer days to the City of Lights as events move outside again.

A popular half-marathon around the city, a fair dating back to 857 (yes, almost 13 centuries ago), and the return of Musical Fountain Shows to Versailles provide great reasons to be outside.

A huge book show brings together publishers, writers, and fans for four event-packed days.

Exciting exhibits open at Musée Picasso and Musée Jacquemart-André, and plenty of concerts give you the chance to hear your favorite type of music, with special Easter concerts at the end of the month. 

On sunny March days, sidewalk tables fill up outside the city's many cafes and brasseries (such as La Turenne Brasserie near Place des Vosges in the Marais, show in top photo), and you'll begin to see hints of green in the trees.

Paris Half Marathon 2019 (Semi Marathon de Paris)

Racers in Paris Marathon

As a warm up of sorts for the Paris Marathon in April, Paris also hosts an annual half-marathon known as Semi de Paris each year in March. 

This year, the Paris Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, March 10, with about 40,000 runners expected to participate.

The Half Marathon course begins in Bois de Vincennes, the giant forest and parkland on the east side of the city.  After winding around the park, the route follows the Right Bank of the Seine River past Notre Dame, and then loops back to Place de la Bastille before turning back to another stretch along the Seine, this time on the Left Bank, and finishing at Parc Floral in Bois de Vincennes about half a kilometer from the starting line.

Start time for the Elite racers is 9am, with staggered start times for everyone else until 10:40am.  Winners cross the Finish Line around 10am, and most runners will finish by early afternoon.

Want to find a good viewing location?  You'll find the course map here.

March Concerts in Paris - 2019

Pat Metheny in concert at l'Olympia in Pari
Pat Metheny in concert at l'Olympia in Paris
Photo courtesy of Cristiano Medeiros Dalbem

Find Paris concerts for other months

Paris Book Fair (LivreParis) - 2019

Paris is a city that takes books seriously, and no where is that more apparent than at the massive 4-day Paris Book Fair held each spring with 150,000+ visitors from more than 50 countries. 

You can buy books, chat with some of the almost 4,000 writers at the presentations and publishers' booths (they'll also sign their books for you), and choose from 2,500 events to attend.  If that's not enough, check out the 1,200 or so exhibits put up by major and indie publishers, bookstores, specialty forums on genres such as detective fiction and young adult, news organizations, book sellers (for example, Amazon), digital and audio producers, and university presses.

When:  March 15-18
Where: Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, 15th arrondissement
Metro:  Porte de Versaille (Line 12) or Balard (Line 8)
Tickets: €8-€10/day
More information:  Livre Paris website

Musical Fountain Shows Begin at Versailles

Versailles Garden statue spraying water

You can be sure that spring has arrived in Paris when the Musical Fountain Shows start for the season in the Gardens at Palace of Versailles, which falls on March 30 this year.  Shows continue through October.

Getting to Versailles from Paris:  Take the RER C from Paris - about a 40-minute ride - and get off at the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station.  The Palace is about a 10-minute walk along a well-marked route.
Hours:   The Palace is open from 9am - 5:30pm, and the Gardens are open from 8am - 6pm.  Both are open daily, except Mondays, Christmas, and New Year Day.  Check the Versailles website for the Musical Fountain Show schedule.

Tickets to Versailles & Musical Fountain Show

You will save time by buying tickets online in advance.  They are available on the Versailles website (Euros), and are also included in some of these Versailles special tours and ticket packages:

Mardi Gras (Carnaval) in Paris:  La Promenade du Boeuf Gras - 2019

Paris Mardi Gras Parade
Costumed participants in Carnaval de Paris: La Promenade du Boeuf celebrating Mardi Gras
Photo courtesy of Maciej Zgadzaj

Paris celebrates Mardi Gras with a huge parade based on ancient traditions called La Promenade du Boeuf Gras (literally, March of the Fat Beef Cow) featuring masks and processions.  Led by Pimprenelle, a lovely French beef Limousin cow wearing a bright red dress, and her escort Pat the Clown, about 5,000 flamboyantly costumed paraders fill the streets of Paris with music and dancing and attract massive crowds of spectators. 

The Paris Mardi Gras parade takes place in the 20th arrondissement, always on the Sunday before the Tuesday when Mardi Gras occurs.

Carnaval de Paris (Mardi Gras) Parade Route:  Starts at Place Gambetta and goes down Avenue Gambetta past Père Lachaise Cemetery, turns right at Boulevard Ménilmontant and continues along Boulevard de Belleville, turns left on to Rue du Faubourg du Temple and ends at Place de la République

When:  March 3, 2019 (always scheduled for the Sunday before Mardi Gras)
Starts:  2pm
Ends:   5pm
Future dates:   February 23, 2020; February 14, 2021; February 27, 2022; February 19, 2023; February 11, 2024

Paris Exhibits - Top Shows during March 

Franz Marc and August Macke exhibit at Musée de l'Orangerie
Franz Marc and August Macke exhibit at Musée de l'Orangerie

Franz Marc and August Macke, 1909-1914

@ Musée de l'Orangerie, March 6 - June, 17, 2019 - This exhibition brings together two major figures from the hedonist, colorful, and seductive side of German Expressionism and explores the influence of French artists such as Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin as well as the Fauvism movement on their work during this pre-World War I period.  Tickets 9€; free admission when you have a Paris Museum Pass 
Location:  Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arr.  Nearest Metro : Concorde

@ Musée Jacquemart-André, March 9 - July 23, 2018 - This Mary Cassatt retrospective brings together works from top American and French museums.  Tickets 13.50€ 
Location:  158 Boulevard Haussmann, 8th arr.  Nearest Metro : Saint Philippe du Roule


@ Musée Picasso, March 27 - July 29, 2018 - A major exhibit about Guernica to mark the 80th anniversary of this major work.   Tickets 12.50€  
Location: 5 Rue de Thorigny, 3rd arr.  Nearest Metro: Chemin Vert 

Caesar, the Retrospective

@ Centre Pompidou (Rue Saint-Martin, 4e), through March 26 - A retrospective exhibit of the work of Parisian sculptor Caesar.  Exhibit included with museum admission of 14€. 
Location: Rue Saint-Martin, 4e.  Nearest Metros:  Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville, Châtelet.  RER: Châtelet les Halles, lines A, B, D

Paris Foire du Trone - Throne Fair

Fun things to do and see at the Paris Throne Fair
Fun things to do and see at the Paris Throne Fair

Visit Paris's huge Foire du Trone, and you'll become part of a tradition stretching back to 857 when 15-year old King Lothair established the first Fun Fair, once a festive market featuring gingerbread as a top seller and acrobats and gambling to entertain the crowds.  Today, carnival rides, stuffed animals, fries, and beer rule as the fair attracts an estimated 5 million visitors during its 2-month spring season.

When:  March 30-May 27, noon to midnight (1pm on Saturdays and the eves of public holidays)
Where: Bois de Vincennes, 12th arrondissement (Look for the fair on your right after you pass through the entrance near the Porte Dorée metro station)
Metro:  Porte Dorée
Admission:   Free - plus reasonable prices for food, drinks, rides, etc

French Open Tickets for Roland Garros Go on Sale

Coveted premier tickets go on sale on March 6 for the French Open Tennis Tournament, second Grand Slam of the season held this year from May 26 - June 9. 

If you want to attend a match, you need to move fast once sales open as the tickets always sell out quickly. 

Find French Open schedule and ticket information on

More Fun Things to Do & See in Paris in March

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