Top Paris events for September include la rentrée - the return of Parisians to the city, feeling energized after a month or more of vacation relaxation and excited about all the activities, new shows at theaters, museums and concert halls, and festivals filling the September calendar.
If you're visiting Paris this month, catch the tail-end of summer at Paris Plages along the Seine and the Classique au Vert Music Festival at Parc Floral during the first couple of days in September. More top events include the prestigious and enormous Paris Auto Show, Traversés du Marais (free cultural events as you "travel" across the Marais), European Heritage Days, Paris Fashion Week, and a Jazz Festival.
Will you see any fall foliage in the city's many famous parks? Maybe a few hints of gold toward the end of the month - but otherwise, expect lots of plants still in full bloom and beauty everywhere you look. Days should still be warm - but bring a warm sweater to wear at night.
Tour de France Grand Finale in Paris - Rescheduled from July
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 28. RESCHEDULED - will now happen on September 20.
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 10 laps 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.
Keep in mind that most metro stations along and near the route will be closed for much of the day, and city buses will be re-routed.
European Heritage Days (Journées Européans du Patrimoine)
Over 60 Paris museums, monuments, heritage sites, and public spaces give you free access during fascinating tours and presentations as part of France's European Heritage Days on September 18-20.
What's special? Many of the city's most beautiful, fascinating, and historical institutes give access to private areas normally off-limits to visitors.
Head to venues as Hotel de Ville and Palais Royal where you can explore treasure-filled areas normally closed to the public, take behind-the-scenes tours at the Paris Metro (including current construction sites!), France Télévisions, and the command center at a Saint-Denis Canal lock, or simply get free admission to some of the city's most popular museums and cultural institutions such as Musée de l’Armée and Philharmonie de Paris. Some of the most unusual offers include an agricultural fair complete with a miniature farm at the Ministry of Agriculture and a "hidden" rooftop garden at BHV Marais department store.
Admission, tours, workshops, and other related events are free, but at some venues, you'll need to register in advance. The complete schedule and related registration information (if required) will be listed on European Heritage Days' website a few weeks before the event.
Silhouette Short Film Festival - 2020
Welcome the fall in Paris with the final days of the free outdoor Silhouette Short Film Festival, continuing through September 5 at Parc de la Butte du Chapeau Rouge in Paris's 19th arrondissement.
You'll have the chance to see 100 different French and international short films in a variety of categories: animation, drama, documentary, experimental, and more. Each evening's program kicks off at 6:30pm with a workshop, followed by a concert at 7:30pm. Films begin at 9pm.
Spring Street Festival (Le Printemps des Rues) - 2020 (Rescheduled from May)
The Printemps des Rues Festival celebrates emerging artists and creations each spring with events centered around the Saint-Martin canal in the 11th arrondissement. Look for lots of music, dance, theater, and art.
Originally scheduled for May 30-31, the festival now takes place on September 26-27. All performances are free. More information: Festival website
Les Traversées du Marais (Free Cultural Events across the Marais) -
Les Traversées du Marais, featuring 26 free cultural events, will inspire you to "travel" across the Marais neighborhood (3rd and 4th arrondissements), where you'll encounter a rich diversity venues offering concerts, live performances, film screenings, kids' events including story time, open artists studios, a culinary workshop, exhibitions, and lots of fun on the first full weekend of the month, September 4-6.
Participating venues include Centre Pompidou, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Museum of Art and History of Judaism, Swiss Cultural Center, International City of Arts, National Archives, Archaelogical Crype of the Ile de la Cité. Wallonia-Brussels Center, Carnavalet Museum, Cultural Institute of Mexico, Forney Library, BHVP (BHV Paris) department store, Picasso Museum, Cognacq-Jay Museum, Lafayette Anticipations (Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation), 3rd and 4th Arrondissement's City Halls, and more.
Paris's annual Car Free Day takes place this year on September 20 from 11am to 6pm, planned to coincide with European Heritage Days.
With most private vehicle (ie, cars, motorcycles, trucks) traffic banned from city streets, this is your chance to walk freely in the middle of the streets and enjoy the cleaner air resulting from a variety of green initiatives.
Emergency and city worker vehicles, taxis, city buses, and tour buses are allowed, so be prepared to share the space with them as well as with bicycles, segways, and scooters.
Due to the popularity of this annual event, many neighborhoods now declare car-free days periodically throughout the year. Champs Élysées and many other streets are pedestrianized on the first Sunday of each month from 10am - 5pm, and some neighborhoods close certain streets on a weekly basis.
Paris Fashion Week - September
Paris Fashion Week takes place in multiple locations around the city and features numerous events showcasing French and International designers such as Chanel, Galliano, Dior, Givency, Vuitton, Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Sandro, Comme des Garçons, Courrèges, Maje, Vanessa Bruno, and Isabel Marant as models strut down the runways wearing Women's Ready-To-Wear collections for next spring and summer.
The ticketed shows are generally by invitation only, so unless you're lucky enough to snag one, you can catch a glimpse of the models near the venue locations, typically in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, and 16th arrondissements. The Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower and nearby Champs des Mars, Place des Vosges, Espace Ephémére des Tuileries near the Louvre, Palais Royal Garden, Hotel de Ville, Palais de Tokyo, and Pompidou are usually safe bets, as well as designer ateliers in the Marais neighborhood.
When: September 21-29
Paris Tours for Fashionistas
Paris Exhibits - Must-See Shows for September
Giorgio de Chirico: Metaphysical Painting
@ Musée de l'Orangerie, Sept 16 - December 14, 2020 - This exhibition traces the artistic and philosophical influences on Giorgio de Chirico from Munich to Turin to Paris, and finally to Ferrara. Tickets 9€; free admission when you have a Paris Museum Pass Location: Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arr. Nearest Metro : Concorde
In the Drawing Room
@ Petit Palais, June 16 through October 4, 2020 - Selections from the prestigious Prat collection of French drawings from three centuries - Callot to Seurat - representing significant landmarks in art history. Show tickets 11€. (Free admission to Petit Palais' permanent collection) Location: Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 8th arrondissement Nearest Metro: Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau
The Golden Age of Danish Painting
@ Petit Palais, September 22, 2020 - Jan 3, 2021- More than 200 works by leading Danish artists from the "golden age" between 1800-1864. Show tickets 12€. (Free admission to Petit Palais' permanent collection) Location: Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 8th arrondissement Nearest Metro: Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau
Monet, Renoir, Chagall - Journeys Around the Mediterranean
@ Atelier des Lumières - 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
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. (Access to special shows may require additional ticket.) More info
Grape Harvest at Paris Vineyards
Grape harvest season takes place in September at five Parisian vineyards maintained by the City of Paris - and several let you participate as a volunteer in this exciting event. You get to work for an hour in small groups of 12 led by professionals. Space is very limited, and registration is required.
Dates and vineyards for this year have not been announced yet. For reference, vineyards and dates last year were:
Parc Georges Brassens (15th arr), Tuesday, September 2, 9am
Bercy Park (12th arr), Thursday, Sept 11, 9am
Belleville Park (20th arr), Tuesday, Sept 23: sessions at 9am and 10am