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

If you're into contemporary art by emerging creators, stop by the Open Studios in the Belleville and Pere Lachaise (Charonne) neighborhoods, chat with the artists, and perhaps purchase an original piece for your home - the perfect "souvenir" from Paris.

Fans of street art will flock to the Printemps des Rues Festival. 

If you're visiting Paris in May, get ready to enjoy warm weather and lots of fun activities and events!

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:

You should be aware that multiple public holidays (meaning a number of places will be closed) practically fill up the May calendar (as well as train stations)

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 occasion.

A second public holiday - Victory in Europe Day, on May 8 - soon follows.  And by chance this year, a third public holiday - Ascension Day, a Catholic religious holiday celebrated 40 days after Easter - happens to fall on May 9, which is a Thursday. 

Naturally, that means that every Parisian who can will also add in an additional holiday on Friday to take a 5-day city break - or even longer because on Monday, May 12, yet another religious/public holiday, Whit Monday (sometimes called Pentecost Monday) takes place.

Finally, 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 on May 26, and while it's not a public holiday (meaning most places will be open), some schedules may change.

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

Paris Discovery Guide is a reader-supported publication.  When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost for you.  Learn more

Jazz Festival at Saint Germain des Prés in Paris 2024

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, churches, and historical 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.

Artists this year include the Remi Panossian Trio, Fred Hersch, Shani Diluka, and others.

When:  May 13 - 20
Where:   Odeon Theatre, the French Alliance, Eglise Saint-Sulpice church, Eglise Saint-Germain church, Town Hall of the 6th Arrondissement, Maison de l'Ocean, plus more clubs and other cool venues, mostly in the 6th arrondissement
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

May Concerts in Paris - 2024

Concert at La Madeleine Church
Concert at La Madeleine Church

Paris concerts during May include classical music at Sainte-Chapelle (now sold out for May, so check June dates for tickets) and other historical churches, ballets and operas at Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille, and jazz in club all over the city.  Get your tickets now:

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-era custom of giving Lily of the Valley (called Muguet in French) flowers to friends and loved ones to ensure good luck for the coming year continues to be popular.  You'll see the beautiful sprays of white flowers in all the florist shops and sometimes even decorating candies (see above photo) and cakes.

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 designed 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 - 2024

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 Tuesday May 7 to Thursday May 16 on the plaza in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.  This celebration takes place each year around May 16, the day that honors Saint-Honoré, patron saint of millers, flour merchants, bakers, and pastry chefs. 

You can see traditional bakehouses, ovens, and of course baguettes, and learn about the art, science, and rules of making these favorite treats.  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.  Some require advance registration, and have limited places.

Find out more about visiting the Musée du Louvre

Paris Museum Shows - Top Events during May 2024

Exterior view of Fondation Louis Vuitton
Fondation Louis Vuitton

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

  • Fondation Louis Vuitton: Ellsworth Kelly: Forms & Colors, 1949-2015 - More than 100 works by the American abstract painter and sculptor in celebration of the centenary of his birth, plus Matisse, The Red Workshop, an exhibit dedicated to the inspiration and history of the artist's 1911 painting, L'Atelier Rouge - Dates for both exhibitions:  May 5 - September 9, 2024 
    Tickets:  Book in advance
    Location: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16;  Metro: Les Sablons, plus about a 10-minute walk (or take the shuttle bus included with the ticket)
  • Musee de Cluny:  Arts in France under Charles VII (1422-1461) - Illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, gold pieces, stained glass, and tapestries from this pivotal period during the Hundred Years War when creative visions shifted from Gothic to the beginnings of the Renaissance. 
    Dates:  Through June 16, 2024
  • Grand Palais Immersif: Urban Art in the Digital Era - A close-up immersive look at urban street art as it unfolds in this digital show set to the music of Roque Rivas.
    Through July 21
    Tickets: 15.50€ for adults; get tickets here
    Where:  110 rue de Lyon  (Opera Bastille complex; entrance is on the side of the building), Paris 12; Metro: Place de la Bastille
  • 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
  • Orsay Museum:  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 2024

Fountain at Versailles spraying water during Musical Fountain Show - Photo credit: Adobe Stock
Fountain at Versailles spraying water during Musical Fountain Show - Photo credit: Adobe Stock

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 "Full Access" Ticket that includes the shows on days when they are available, as well as other special spots such as Marie Antoinette's Hamlet, and the Petit and Grand Trianon palaces.

Find out about best ways to tour Versailles Palace from Paris

More Ways to See Versailles:

Belleville Artists' Open Studios 2024

Open Studio in Paris's Belleville neighborhood
Open Studio in Paris's Belleville neighborhood

Over 150 artists from Paris's vibrant Belleville neighborhood invite the public to their annual Open Studios from 2pm - 10pm on May 23 - 26. 

You will experience a wide panorama of contemporary art in all media - painting, sculpture, photography, installations, ceramics, textiles, and more - on display (and available for purchase) in over 100 studios and exhibition spaces.  

As usual with open studios, if you see something you love, you can buy it directly from its creator.  We always look forward to this special event!

Although Belleville covers a large area encompassing parts of the 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th arrondissements, you'll find many of the artists' studios between the gorgeous Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Parc de Belleville - the perfect excuse to combine studio visits with an excursion to one or both parks and perhaps a meal in one of Belleville's excellent restaurants.

Admission:  Free
Reception point:  AAB Gallery, 1 rue Picabia, Paris 20; Metro: Couronnes/Line 2
More information, including a detailed map showing studio locations:  Belleville Artists' Open Studios website

Where to Stay (Cheaply!) near Belleville's Open Studios

Check out these fun and very affordable places to stay within easy walking distance of Belleville's Open Studios:

  • Novotel Paris 20 Belleville - Recently renovated 4-star hotel popular with business and leisure visitors - cool industrial-chic vibe, onsite bistronomic restaurant plus many other appealing restaurant options nearby, and across from a metro station.  The bargain rates for a 4-star property in Paris are well-known to savvy travelers - so book well in advance of your dates.  Check out other new hotels in Paris
  • Hotel Scarlett - Attractive 3-star boutique hotel very close to Parc de Belleville, with (usually, except during times of peak demand) cheap rates.  Book a couple of months in advance to get the cheapest rates.
  • The People Paris Belleville/Les Piaules - With a game room, theme parties each evening, and lounges for relaxing, this popular hostel offers cheap rates and 2 types of booking options: 1) reserve a bed in a room shared by others, or 2) "privatize" a double, quadruple, 6-bed, or 8-bed room - perfect for just you and one other person, or for friend or family groups up to 8 people.  Cheap rates
  • Generator Paris Hostel - This hostel near Canal Saint-Martin is known for its gorgeous public spaces, including a rooftop bar.  Accommodations include both private rooms and shared rooms, most with ensuite bathrooms but a few with shared facilities.  Cheap rates
  • Hipotel Paris Buttes Chaumont Belleville - Recently renovated guestrooms with simple contemporary furnishings and inexpensive rates close to Parc de Belleville; this 3-star hotel is part of the growing budget-friendly Hipotel chain in Paris.
  • Find more hotels in Paris's 20th arrondissement, including Belleville

Circus Shows at Jardin d'Acclimation 2024

Amusement ride at Jardin d'Acclimatation
Amusement ride at Jardin d'Acclimatation

Looking for a fun family-friendly activity for April? 

Head over to the Jardin d'Acclimatation next to Fondation Louis-Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne where you'll find a big-top circus tent and a troupe of artists and clowns performing acrobatics, juggling, and other entertainment during the school holiday period in April and early May.

You'll find a lot more to enjoy in this hidden gem created by Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie back in 1860:  a small zoo and Normandy-style farm, beautiful gardens and walking paths, food pavilions, and 40+ amusement rides.

Showtimes:  2:30pm and 4:30pm on April 6 - May 12 (but no shows on April 22, 23, 29, 30 or May 6, 7)
Admission:  Entrance to the park costs 7€ for adults and children 80 cm (31.5 inches) and taller; entrance to the circus show requires 2 attraction tickets per person.   Get your entry & attraction tickets in advance to skip the ticket line.  You can also enter free when you visit Fondation Louis Vuitton - get your FLV skip-the-line tickets here.
Where:  Corner of Boulevard des Sablons and Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16
Nearest metro:  Les Sablons - about a 7-8 minute walk, with plenty of signs pointing to the park

Spring Street Festival (Le Printemps des Rues) - 2024

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 25-26 this year.  Check the Festival website for specific events, times, and places.  All performances and events 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

Foire de Paris (Paris Fair) 2024

For 120 years, Foire de Paris has been the show to attend if you want to see a vast array of the latest and greatest products and demonstrations related to home renovations, fashion and personal care products, crafts and decor from around the Francophone world, and fine wines and food. 

What to expect?  A festive environment with more than 1,250 exhibitors, numerous concerts, parades, workshops, children's activities, and lots of delicious food.

When:  May 1 - 12

Where:  Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles, 1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, 15th arrondissement; Metro: Porte de Versailles (Line 12) or Balard (Line 8); Tram: Lines T2 and T3 - Porte de Versailles; Bus - #80 (Porte de Versailles) and #39 (Desnouettes)

More information & tickets:  Foire de Paris website  (you should definitely get your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in the ticket lines)

Biggest Paris Sports Events - May 2024

Don't miss these top Paris sports events taking place during May:

If none of these dates work for you (or even if they do), consider a behind-the-scenes tour of Stade de France, Paris's largest stadium and home to many of France's top championship games such as Fifa World Cup.

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

Open Studios: Pere Lachaise Neighborhood in Paris 2024

Open Studio in Paris's Belleville neighborhood
Open Studio in Paris's Belleville neighborhood

Numerous artists live and work in the leafy 20th arrondissement neighborhoods near Pere Lachaise Cemetery, including Charonne and parts of Menilmontant, which in some ways resemble what Montmartre was like 100 years ago.

In early May, 33+ of these painters, sculptors, engravers, and photographers will invite you into their studios to see their newest works. 

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to browse original art, chat with the artists, and perhaps purchase a favorite piece! 

Visiting the Open Studios also gives you also a great opportunity to explore lesser-known but picturesque part of Paris, discover some of its flower-filled passages, and even stop by Pere Lachaise cemetery to admire the artistic and sometimes quirky memorials.  It's one of our favorite ways to spend a spring afternoon.

Date:  May 4 - 6
More information:  Artists of the APLA website  (APLA = painting, sculpture, engraving, photography, and mixed media)

One of the many hidden garden-lined passages in Paris's Charonne neighborhood in the 20th
One of the many hidden garden-lined passages in Paris's Charonne neighborhood in the 20th

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