Paris Events in May celebrate Mother's Day, music, and fun as flowers fill the city during this gorgeous late-spring month! 

Planning a Visit to Paris in May?

If you're planning to come to Paris this month, consider booking tours, cruises, and other activities as early as possible to get your top choices.

Top Paris attractions & experiences:

Most popular Paris destinations this month:

Hear top musicians at the Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival in early March and the Le Chatelet Jazz Festival later in the month, sample local brews at the Paris Beer Festival, and attend concerts at Sainte Chapelle and other top venues.

Join Parisians across the city in celebrating art and culture at Night in the Museums on one special Saturday evening in May, and see the latest museum shows throughout the month.  Fans of street art will flock to the Printemps des Rues Festival. 

May starts with a public holiday - Fête du Travail or Labor Day, always on May 1st.  When this national holiday falls during the week, as it does this year, you can expect most museums, stores, and many restaurants to be closed as everyone enjoys a day of leisure.  A huge parade and rallies take place, usually at Place de Bastille, to mark this important ocasion.

Parisians usually celebrate Mother's Day on the last Sunday of May (or occasionally on the first Sunday in June) - the perfect time to do something special to honor your mom, yourself, or another important mom-like person in your life.  This year, the “Fête des Mères” takes place May 26.

If you're visiting Paris in May, get ready to enjoy warm weather and have fun!

Top photo:  Children sailing wooden boats on the pool in Luxembourg Garden, (c) Paris Discovery Guide

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May Concerts in Paris - 2024

Concert at La Madeleine Church
Concert at La Madeleine Church

More Paris classical concerts in historic churches during May

More Paris rock, pop, jazz, etc concerts at concert halls during May 

Find Paris concerts for other months

May 1 Holidays in Paris (and France) 2024

Fun things to do and see at the Paris Throne Fair
Muguets decorate a special nut-crusted praline displayed in the window of famous Parisian chocolatier Foucher on Avenue de l'Opera

If you're visiting Paris during May, be aware of the many official and observed (unofficial) holidays taking place this month.  On official holidays, you should expect many places including stores and restaurants to be closed.  The most significant holiday is May 1.

May 1 - Fête du Travail (International Workers Day - ie, Labor Day) - Except for essential services such as hospitals and public transportation (which will operate on a slower holiday schedule), most places including museums, stores, and restaurants will be closed as this is the one day of the year when employers legally must give all workers a paid day off. 

May 1 is also May Day (totally unrelated to Labor Day), a celebration of spring and love dating to the ancient Celtic people in western Europe.  In Paris, the Renaissance custom of giving Lily of the Valley (called Muguet in French) flowers to friends and loved ones continues to be popular, and you'll see the beautiful sprays of white flowers in all the florist shops and sometimes even decorating candies (see above photo) and cakes.

Jazz Festival at Saint Germain des Prés in Paris

Sunset Sunside Jazz Club - Saint Germain des Pres Jazz Festival Venue
Sunset Sunside Jazz Club - One of the Saint Germain des Pres Jazz Festival Venues

Immerse yourself in jazz during the Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival when talented musicians perform in unique theaters, clubs, and historic spaces in the Paris neighborhoods where jazz first blossomed almost a century ago.  With multiple concerts and venues to choose from each evening, plus conferences and conversations, exhibits and Champagne, you'll get to celebrate the best of Paris jazz.

When:  May 10 - 17
Where:   Odeon Theatre, Cluny Museum Frigidarium, Sunset-Sunside Jazz Club, Sorbonne, plus more clubs and cool venues in the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 14th arrondissements
Admission:   Many performances and other events are free; some concerts require tickets but prices are reasonable
More Information & Complete Schedule:   Saint Germain des Prés Jazz Festival website

More for Jazz Lovers:  Le Châtelet Jazz Festival 2024

The Théâtre du Châtelet, a beautifully renovated Second Empire theater dating back to 1862 in Paris's 1st arrondissement, hosts its second annual Jazz at Le Châtelet Festival from May 22 through 27. 

Look for an eclectic program featuring all styles of jazz, from swing to gypsy jazz and even klezmer music, with some performances design to appeal to young audiences. 

Location:  2 Rue Edouard Colonne, Paris 1
Tickets:  Prices range from an affordable 6€ to 75€ (with most in the 6-20€ range - reserve online

French Bread Festival - Fête du Pain 

Bouquet of roses from Stéphane Chapelle Florist
Baguettes hot from the oven - Photo: Valentina

The Fête du Pain (French Bread Festival) takes place in Paris from Saturday May 13 to Sunday May 21 on the plaza in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. 

You can see traditional bakehouses, ovens, and of course baguettes, and learn about the art, science, and rules of making these favorite treats at this celebration that takes place each year around May 16, the day that honors Saint-Honoré, patron saint of millers, flour merchants, bakers, and pastry chefs.  And in case you're wondering:  yes, you can enjoy tastings and samples. 

The event is free, so stop by, or check the details on the sponsoring organization's website.

Want to learn how to make French baguettes and croissants? Take this class in a Paris bakery!

La Nuit des Musées (Night at the Museums) - 2024

The Louvre and Pyramid at night from the Richelieu Passage
The Louvre and Pyramid at night from the Richelieu Passage

La Nuit des Musées Date:  Saturday, May 18

La Nuit des Musées is a magical evening when most museums in Paris, the rest of France, and 30 or so other European countries open their doors to visitors for free and stay open until very late into the evening.  Look for guided tours, workshops, special screnings, tasting, live shows, and other special events.

Whether you're visiting a new-to-you museum or making a return visit to an old favorite, join Parisians at the Louvre, Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée du Quai Branly, Musée de l'Armée, Centre Pompidou, and about 80 other museums across the city in this celebration of art and culture.  You can find all venues once they're officially announced, usually a few weeks before the event on the Cultural Ministry's website by entering "nuit des musees" in the search block.

Paris Museum Shows - Top Events during May

Inside the Louvre Museum under the glass pyramid
Inside the Louvre Museum under the glass pyramid

Here are just a few of the top exhibitions you can see in Paris this month:

  • Musée Picasso: Chirico, Ernst, Leger, & Picabia in the Apartment of Leonce Rosenberg - A pictoral ensemble by major artists from between World War I and II- Dates:  Through May 19, 2024 
    Tickets:  Book in advance or enter free of charge with a Paris Museum Pass.  For a VIP experience, book a private small-group tour.
    Location: 5 Rue de Thorigny, Paris 3;  Metro: Saint-Paul or Filles du Calvaire
  • Atelier des Lumieres:  Egyptian Pharaohs - Discover ancient Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs in this virtual journey along the Nile River in Upper and Lower Egypt as you see legendary rulers, great battles, famous temples and tombs, and majestic landscapes; purchase online; you can also purchase at the door for 2€ more per ticket but there's no guarantee you'll get in as timeslots are often fully booked
    Dates:  Through January 5, 2025
  • Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism - Art from the Impressionism exhibition in 1874 are contrasted with traditional art from the official Paris Salon held that year to demonstrate the radical modernity of the Impressionists.
    Dates: Through July 14
    Tickets:  Book a reserved-access ticket for skip-the-line access, or use your Paris Museum Pass for free entry

Find more Paris museum exhibitions for May

Interested in a Louvre Museum guided tour?  Find out how to choose the best one to match your interests

Paris Museum and Attractions Passes

Get free admission and skip-the-line access to 60+ museums in and near Paris when you have a Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4, or 6 days.  More info

Musical Fountains & Musical Gardens Shows at Versailles

  • Palace of Versailles:  Musical Fountains & Musical Gardens Shows - Watch the beautiful gardens and fountains at the Palace of Versailles come alive!  Shows (fountains or gardens) vary based on the day of the week when you visit, but both are magical!
    Dates:  Through October 31

These two highly-rated guided tours of Versailles include transportation from Paris and entrance to Musical Gardens or Musical Fountains (on days when they take place):

Prefer to travel to Versailles and explore on your own?  Get a Versailles Palace & Gardens "Passport" Ticket that includes the shows on days when they are available.

Find out about best ways to tour Versailles Palace from Paris

More Ways to See Versailles:

Spring Street Festival (Le Printemps des Rues)

Street Artists creating a giant mural across from Canal Saint Martin
Street artists creating a giant mural across from Canal Saint Martin

The Printemps des Rues Festival celebrates emerging artists and performers each spring with events centered around the Saint-Martin canal and other locations in the 10th, 18th, and 19th arrondissement.  

Look for lots of innovative music, dance, comedy, theater, and art.

The festival takes place on May 27-28.  Check the Festival website for specific events, times, and places.  All performances are free. 

Paris Beer Festival - 2024

Although wine usually overshadows beer as the beverage of choice in Paris, rising stars among 60 local and international craft microbrewers may change your loyalties once you explore what's on offer.  There's no better way to do that than stopping by the Paris Beer Festival and savoring the lineups on tap. 

The first three days of the festival focus on events hosted by local bars, gastro pubs, and breweries located mostly in the Marais, Canal Saint-Martin, and other eastern arrondissement neighborhoods. 

The last two days take place in Ground Control, a former rail depot repurposed as a popular theater, food, music venue, and community space with restaurants, food trucks, outdoor seating, and shops behind Gare de Lyon train station in the 12th arrondissement, where you'll have the chance to do a lot more sampling.  

When:  May 20-26
Where:  Days 1-3, various locations; Days 4 & 5: Ground Control, 81 Rue de Charolais, Paris 12
More information & tickets:  Event website

Want to visit Ground Control at other times?   It's open Wednesday through Sunday (see their website for hours and events)

Mother's Day in Paris 2024

Bouquet of roses from Stéphane Chapelle Florist
Bouquet of roses from Paris florist Stéphane Chapelle (29 Rue de Richelieu, 1st arrondissement)

Mother's Day (La Fête de Mère) in France normally takes place on the last Sunday in May, which falls on May 26 this year.  (Occasionally, the event occurs on the first Sunday in June - but not this year!)

Traditional French celebrations for Mother's Day involve flowers, food, and perhaps an outing - anything from a picnic in a park to a river cruise to a special day trip.

Buying spectacular flowers is easy to do in Paris.  Florists in every neighborhood offer lovely choices ranging from simple pots of blooming bulbs to lavish bouquets.

Mother's Day brunch, lunch, or dinner in a restaurant takes more planning, as they'll be packed.  Make reservations in advance, or if you're visiting and not sure where to go, ask your hotel concierge for help.

Future dates for Mother's Day in France: May 25, 2025; May 31, 2026

More about how to celebrate Mother's Day in Paris

Victory in Europe Day in Paris

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Victory in Europe Day (le Jour de la Victoire en Europe) on May 8 celebrates the surrender of the Nazis in East Berlin on May 8, 1945, a day after their surrender in Reims, France, and almost 9 months after the Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944. 

The event is always celebrated on May 8 and is a public holiday, which means banks, most businesses including stores and restaurants, and all schools will be closed, public transportation will run on a holiday schedule, and most bakeries and supermarkets will close early (if they're open at all).

In Paris, official ceremonies take place at the Arc de Triomphe with the French President and other officials laying wreathes on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  During some years, a parade marches down Champs Elysees, but so far, no announcements about that occurring this year.

Find out more about visiting the Arc de Triomphe and its rooftop terrace

More Fun Things to Do & See in Paris in May

Want to Save on Your Paris Hotel?

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. 

Here are some shortcuts: 

  • Need last minute reservations?  Check out Today Deals on their website
  • Trip Advisor: Use their Best Value Deals & save BIG on your Paris hotel
  • Priceline: Find the lowest prices on Paris hotels with their Express Deals