Mardi Gras, Versailles Musical Fountain Shows, Book Show, & More!
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 - (Semi Marathon de Paris)
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 on the Left Bank of the Seine River by the Gare d'Austerlitz metro station near the Jardin des Plantes, crosses to the Right Bank and proceeds along the Seine to Hôtel de Ville before turning back along Rue de Rivoli up to Place de la Bastille, then heading down for another stretch along the Seine before making a large circle through Bois de Vincennes, the giant forest and parkland on the east side of the city. After emerging from the park, the route veers back down to the Right Bank of the Seine and finishes in front of the huge François Mitterrand Library.
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.
Paris Visitor's Tip: Daylight Savings Time in France
Daylight Savings Time in France - Just a reminder: Paris, France, and most other European countries switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST) on the last Sunday of the month - March 31 this year, so at 2am, move your clocks ahead by one hour. You lose an hour of sleep - but an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day is great!
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, 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 Livre Paris website for more iinformation: www.livreparis.com
Musical Fountain Shows Begin at Versailles
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 2020
Paris celebrates Mardi Gras with a huge parade based on ancient cultural 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, attracting 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. The theme for this year is "One for all, and all for sport!" The event is free and free-form. Want to march? Just join in. Want to watch? That's fine too.
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. Like every parade in Paris, unanticipated route changes can occur - so check on the Carnaval website for any last-minute updates.
When: February 23, 2020 (always scheduled for the Sunday before Mardi Gras, which is always on a Tuesday) Starts: 1pm Ends: 5pm Future dates: February 14, 2021; February 27, 2022; February 19, 2023; February 11, 2024
Paris Exhibits - Top Shows during March 2020
@ Musée Jacquemart-André, March 13-July 20, 2020 - Major retrospective of British landscape master Joseph Mallord William Turner with watercolors and oil paintings on loan from Tate Britain in London. Tickets 14.50€ (includes admission to the permanent collections plus this exhibition) Location: 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 8th arr.
Nearest Metro : Saint Philippe du Roule
Monet, Renoir, Chagall - Journeys Around the Mediterranean
@ Atelier des Lumières - February 28 through Dec 31, 2020 - Immersive video/digitized exhibition of Monet's, Renoir's, and Chagalls's masterpieces accompanied by original music. Tickets must be purchased online on the L'Atelier website Open: 7 days/week Where: 38 Rue Saint Maur, 11th arrondissement Metro: Saint-Maur
Body and Soul: Italian Sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo
@ Musée du Louvre, Through August 17, 2020 - Explores main themes and ideas developed in late 14th century Italy, with sculptures by Donatello, Michelangelo, and more Quattrocento masters. Location: Rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement
Closed: Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
Tickets: 17€ (purchased online); includes special and permanent exhibits; free for under 26 Stay nearby:Hotels near the Louvre Nearest Metro: Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre, Pyramides More info: https://www.louvre.fr
@ Palais de Tokyo, February 21-May 17 - Using fire as a sign of danger, this exhibition explores the connections among ecological catastrophes, wars, and explosive international relations in the early 21st century, and their impact on contemporary creation. Tickets 12€; open from noon to midnight every day except Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25 Location: 13, Avenue du Président Wilson, 16 arr
Nearest Metro: Iéna and Alma Marceau More info: https://palaisdetokyo.com
@ Picasso Museum, March 31-July 21, 2020 - An exploration of the links between Picasso's works and the world of comics.
Admission: Adults 14€. Exhibit included with museum admission. Get skip-the-line priority tickets online or with a Paris Museum Pass Location: 5 rue de Thorigny, 3rd arrondissement; closed Mondays
Paris Museum and Attractions Passes
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Paris Foire du Trone - 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, roughly 350 attractions including 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 29-May 26, 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.
Check our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and bargains for Paris hotels. Whether you're looking for cheap accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we'll show you How to Save on Hotels in Paris.