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 plus mostly-free music and film fests.  More top events include the fabulous European Heritage Days, Paris Fashion Week, and free cultural events across the Marais neighborhood.

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.


European Heritage Days (Journées Européans du Patrimoine) 2021

17th century Palais Royal in central Paris
Want to explore the splendid interior of 17th century Palais Royal?  European Heritage Days gives you the opportunity!

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 18-19.

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.


September Concerts in Paris - 2021

Philharmonie de Paris in Parc de la Villette
Red traffic lights reflecting on Philharmonie de Paris in Parc de la Villette on a rainy night

More Paris classical concerts during September

More Paris rock, electronic, pop, jazz, & other performances during September

More concerts throughout the year


Day Trips from Paris:  September Picks

Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley
Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley

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

Find out about other exciting Day Trips from Paris


Les Extatiques Festival at La Défense

Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral - photo credit Sébastien Bertrand
Calder's Red Spider sculpture on the La Défense Esplanade with the Grande Arche in the background

The annual Les Extatiques Festival at La Défense, located in Paris's skyscraper-filled business district just beyond the city limits, features nine mid-size to monumental sculptures by contemporary French and International artists such as Tony Cragg, Johan Creten, Ghyslain Bertholon, and Jean-François Fourtou. 

Look for the sculptures along La Défense's Esplanade, a long park-like paved space that functions as an outdoor art gallery (and also hosts La Défense's enormous Christmas Market).  You'll find them in the stretch between the Grande Arche and the multi-colored Bassin pool and fountains.

Dates:  Through October 3, 2021
Admission:  Free
Metro:  La Défense (about a 5-minute ride from the Charles de Gaulle/Etoile station on Line 1; if you walk down the whole 1 km (.6 m) length of the Esplanade, you'll end up at the Esplanade de La Défense station and can hop on the metro there to go back to Paris - or continue walking for another mile or so to the Arc de Triomphe.
While you're there: Go to the top of the Grande Arche to enjoy skyline views of Paris from the terrace


Jazz à la Villette 2021

Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral - photo credit Sébastien Bertrand
GoGo Penguin playing at Jazz à la Villette - photo credit Gael Varoquaux

The Jazz à la Villette Festival 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.  Don't miss this unforgettable experience of hearing some of the best French and international musicians!  There's also a spcial kids' program.  The festival runs from September 1 - 12. 
Lineup and more information:  Jazz à la Villette website


Les Traversées du Marais (Free Cultural Events in the Marais) - 2021

Les Traversees du Marais in Paris - 3 days of free cultural events

Les Traversées du Marais, featuring 47 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 3-5.   

Participating venues include Centre Pompidou, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Museum of Art and History of Judaism, Swiss Cultural Center, Victor Hugo House, Museum of Hunting & Nature, International City of Arts, National Archives, Wallonia-Brussels Center, Carnavalet Museum, Cultural Institute of Mexico, Forney Library, BHVP (BHV Paris) department store, Picasso Museum, Cognacq-Jay Museum, 3rd and 4th Arrondissement's City Halls, and more.

Admission:   Free
More about the schedule and venue locations:  http://lestraverseesdumarais.com/


Car Free Day - 2021

Champs Elysees on a car-free Sunday
Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe - No cars!

Paris's annual Car Free Day takes place this year on September 19 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.

If you're visiting Paris, Car Free Day can be a wonderful opportunity to explore the heart of the city on a guided bicycle tour or electric bike tour.

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 Exhibits - Must-See Shows for September

Caravaggio's Roman Period - Paris Museum Exhibits in October
Museum of Natural History in Paris's Jardin des Plantes

The Olmecs & Gulf of Mexico Civilizations

@ Musée du Quai Branly - Journey across 3,000 years to explore the Olmec civilization and other little-known pre-Columbian culturs around the Gulf of Mexico.
Dates:  Now through October 3, 2021
Tickets: 12€ adults; includes permanent collections & temporary exhibitions in the Garden Gallery; some special shows may require a separate ticket.  Book online, or get free entry with a Paris Museum Pass
Location: 37 Quai Branly (very close to the Eiffel Tower), 7th arrondissement;  Metro/RER: Pont d'Alma

Chaïm Soutine / Willem de Kooning: Painting Embodied

@ Musée de l'Orangerie - This series of large compositions acts as a deliberate counterpoint to Monet's Water Lilies.
Dates:  Sept 15, 2021 - Jan 10, 2022
Tickets:  12.50€.  Book your Musée de l'Orangerie ticket online (includes permanent collections and special exhibitions), save with a combo ticket to Musée de l'Orangerie and the Orsay Museum, or use your Paris Museum Pass for free entry
Location:  Tuileries Garden (southwest corner), 75001;  Metro:  Concorde, Assemblée Nationale

Find more Paris museum exhibitions for September & future months


Sunday Afternoon Concerts at American Cathedral- 2021

The American Cathedral of Paris (23 Avenue George V, 8th district) will present Sunday afternoon concerts by local musicians of mostly Classical and Baroque music at 3pm throughout the months of September and October.  Here is the schedule for September:

Sept 5:  Selections for piano by Bach, Beethoven, Prokofeev/Schumann
Sept 12: Selections for guitar by Dowland, Scarlatti, Bach, Paganini, Albeniz, & more
Sept 19: Selections for violin and piano by Piazzola, Fauré, Beethoven 
Sept 26: Selections for 2 violins and piano by Glazounov, Liszt, & more 

Admission:  Free but donations are appreciated. 
More information:  American Cathedral website
October schedule


Silhouette Short Film Festival - 2021

Wrap up the summer and welcome early fall in Paris at the free outdoor Silhouette Short Film Festival held from August 27-September 4 at Parc de la Butte du Chapeau Rouge in Paris's 19th arrondissement. 

During the festival's 8 days, you'll have the chance to see numerous different French and international short films in a variety of categories:  animation, drama, documentary, experimental, films for young audiences, 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, and will also be broadcast at the Holiday Inn Express-Paris Canal de la Villette located a few blocks away.

Metro:  Pré St-Gervais or Place des Fête
Admission:   Free
More Information: http://www.association-silhouette.com


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


Watch the Arc de Triomphe Get Wrapped

Arc de Triomphe on a sunny Paris afternoon
Arc de Triomphe on a sunny Paris afternoon

The late artist Christo dreamed about wrapping the Arc de Triomphe up like a giant present ever since 1962 when he made a preliminary set of drawings showing his early vision.  Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, started wrapping famous monuments around the world in the 1960s.  Although Christo died last year (and Jeanne-Claude in 2009), their vision for this monumental ephemeral art will finally be realized, almost six decades later. 

Work to swath the giant monument in 25,000 square meters of silvery blue polypropylene recyclable fabric tied up with over 3,000 yards of red rope with, of course, France's tricolor flag flying under the arch has been underway since July, and the completed work will be unveiled on September 18 and remain on display on October 3.

Although the Arc de Triomph's rooftop terrace will be closed until the exhibition is dismantled, the sight of the wrapped tower shimmering in the sunlight and moving with the wind will be memorable.

Find out about visiting the Arc de Triomphe


Paris Fashion Week: Womens Ready to Wear - 2021

Palais Royal in Paris - fashion photograhy shoot during Paris Fashion Week

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 27 - October 5

Paris Tours for Fashionistas


Festivals du Parc Floral:  Paris Jazz Festival, Classic in Green, Pestacles, Nocturnes - 2021

The Last Shadow Puppets playing at Rock en Seine
Paris Jazz Festival at Parc Floral - Photo courtesy of Sebastien Bertrand

Four popular music festivals continue at Parc Floral (the Paris Botanical Garden) in Bois de Vincennes through September 8:  Paris Jazz Festival, Classic in Green (classical music), Pestacles (a children's concert series for ages 4 and up), and Nocturnes (night concerts of contemperary, jazz, or classical music).

The outdoor concerts take place on Saturdays and Sundays on several stages.  Almost all of the concerts are free (gratuit), although the park charges a small 3€) entrance fee during summer and early fall.  Check the Festival's website to download a brochure with dates, lineups, and concert times.  

Bring a blanket and a picnic or buy wine and a sandwich at the park's snack bar, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon and evening filled with sunshine, flowers, wandering peacocks, and virtuoso musicians.


Paris Beer Festival - 2021

Although wine usually overshadows beer as the beverage of choice in Paris, rising stars among local craft brewers 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 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:  September 1-5
Where:  Days 1-3, various locations; Days 4 & 5: Ground Control, 81 Rue de Charolais, Paris 12
Tickets (Sat & Sun only):  5-7€; e-payment only
More information:
  Event website

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




More Top Paris Things to Do & See in September


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