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, celebrate the tail-end of summer at a free jazz festival at Parc Floral and a performing arts festival delayed from May. More top events include the fabulous European Heritage Days, Paris Fashion Week,free cultural events across the Marais neighborhood, and the Tour de France's exciting finish at the Arc de Triomphe with victory laps up and down Champs-Élysées.
Will you see any fall foliage in the city's many famous parks during September? Look for a few hints of gold and crimson toward the end of the month - but otherwise, expect to find lots of flowering plants still in full bloom and beauty everywhere you look. Days should still be warm and mellow - 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, 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 around a loop from the Arc de Triomphe, down Champs-Élysées and the northern side of Tuileries Garden along Rue de Rivoli to the Louvre's glass pyramid - and then back up to the Arc via the southern side of the 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. And of course, you must wear a mask and expect more distancing and limited access to some areas this year as the Covid pandemic continues.
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) 2020
Over 300 Paris museums, historic monument, heritage sites, and public spaces give you free access during fascinating tours and presentations as part of France's European Heritage Days on September 19-20.
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, Élysées Palace, 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 a guided quarry tour and a behind the scenes tour of Drouot, the famous Parisian auction house.
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, usually about 3 weeks before the event.
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 10th arrondissement. Look for lots of innovative music, dance, comedy, theater, and art.
Originally scheduled for May 30-31, the festival now takes place on September 26-27, and performances will take place in a variety of locations in the 10th, 18th, and 19th arrondissements - so check the Festival website for times and places. All performances are free.
Day Trips from Paris: September Picks
September is the perfect month to explore some of the exciting and famous attractions outside of Paris. Here are 4 of the most popular day trips with transportation from Paris included:
Loire Valley Castles Tour - This fabulous all-day tour takes you through the beautiful Loire Valley where you'll visit 3 specular Gothic and Renaissance castles, wander through their gardens, enjoy a French wine tasting - Book now
Versailles Palace & Gardens - During this private guided tour of the famous chateau, you'll see the Hall of Mirrors and other famous rooms in the palace, and explore the lush gardens. Book now
Disneyland Paris - Hop on an express shuttle bus from 4 convenient Paris locations and use your park ticket to speed through the entrance for a magical day at Disney - Book now
Monet's Giverny - Visit Claude Monet's home and the gorgeous garden and water lily pond that inspired his famous Water Lilies paintings in this half-day trip with a guide from Paris - Book now
Jazz à la Villette stages two weekends of superb musical events in Parc de la Villette's major venues: Philharmonie de Paris, Grande Halle de La Villette, and Cité de la Musique. Although some adjustments have been made this year due to the ongoing pandemic, you'll still get the unforgettable experience of hearing some of the best French and international musicians. The festival runs from September 4 - 13. More information: Jazz à la Villette website
Paris Jazz Festival - Rescheduled from July
Jazz concerts take place every Saturday and Sunday for 4 weekends at Parc Floral (the Paris Botanical Garden) in Bois de Vincennes, normally ending in July - but the festival starts late this year and runs through September 20, giving you a wonderful opportunity to enjoy music in a spectacular setting.
Bring a blanket and a picnic or buy wine and a sandwich at the park's snack bar, and get ready for a relaxing afternoon and evening enjoying the sunshine, flowers, wandering peacocks, and virtuoso jazz. Concerts are free, although the park charges a small (2.50€) entrance fee during summer and early fall. Check the Festival's website for concert times and - they vary each weekend - but generally take place in the afternoon and early evening.
Getting there: Bois de Vincennes, located in 12th Arrondissement on the eastern edge of Paris, is easy to reach - just hop on RER A train or Metro Line 1 to the Chateau de Vincennes Metro Station - the park is about a 3-minute walk from the station.
Bonus idea: Arrive early and stroll through Parc Floral's famous gardens, or explore Bois de Vincennes' other attractions such as its spectacular zoo, Lac Daumesnil, the aquarium, and 14th century Château de Vincennes.
Les Traversées du Marais (Free Cultural Events across the Marais) - 2020
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. And as a bonus, you can enjoy the regular "first Sunday" car-free day on September 6.
With most private vehicle traffic (ie, cars, motorcycles, trucks) 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 - 2020
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 28 - October 6
Paris Tours for Fashionistas
Paris Exhibits - Must-See Shows for September
@ Fondation Louis Vuitton, Sept 23 - Jan 3, 2021 - This retrospective exhibition covers Sherman's work from 1975 through 2020 with 170 major works and 300+ images from her films and videos series, with a focus on the past decade including recent and previously unseen works. Tickets 14€, which also gives access to the Jardin d'Acclimatation next door. Location: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi in Bois de Boulogne, 16th arr. Closed on Tuesdays. Nearest Metro: Les Sablons (Line 1); take the Fondation Louis Vuitton exit; walk 10-15 miinutes from the station By Bus: #244, Fondation Louis Vuitton station line; runs only on weekends and on public holidays
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. Please note: Only the Water Lily rooms are accessible until September 14. 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
Picasso & the Comic Strip
@ Picasso Museum, Through January 3, 2021- Picasso loved comics! This fascinating, illuminating, and entertaining exhibition is the first devoted to taking a close look at the influence of graphic arts on his work - and vice-versa.
Admission: 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
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 January 3, 2021 - 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
Christo Wraps the Arc de Triomphe - 2021
The artist Christo has been dreaming about wrapping the Arc de Triomphe up like a giant present since 1962 - and from September 18 - October 3, 2021, you can see the result after he swaths the giant monument in 25,000 square meters of silvery blue polypropylene tied up with 7,000 yards of red rope. This exciting art event will take place in coordination with a new Christo exhibition at Centre Pompidou. Stay tuned for more details!
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