Special Events in Paris
Paris Baroque Festival
The Paris Baroque Festival brings musicians of the highest caliber from all over the world, to brighten the city during its quiet season. Over the course of two weeks in late November and early December each year, baroque concerts are offered in many venues, including the Latin Quarter's famous Saint-Sulpice Church, which was featured in "The Da Vinci Code."
Tour de France
In late July, Tour de France riders finish the famous 21-day race on the Champs Elysees, cheered on by thousands of citizens, visitors, and journalists. Unlike other world-class sporting events, this race affords spectators the opportunity to be only yards away from the athletes as they speed through those final seconds. A podium is set up and the classic gold and purple trophy is presented to the winner with great ceremony. After that, the most beautiful street in the world turns from a racecourse to a giant summertime street party!
In September, the grand Autumn Festival begins. Honoring contemporary art of all kinds, the festival comprises more than 40 different events, and draws over 100,000 people. It runs each year from mid-September until the end of December, offering every possible form of visual and performing art in numerous venues throughout Paris. Artists and patrons come from all over the world, creating a concentration of culture in one season which is greater than most cities can muster in a full year.
Adjacent to the Latin Quarter is the neighborhood of St. Germain des Pres, host of a swinging springtime jazz festival. For two weeks each May, free concerts and photo exhibitions are offered daily. Evening events are more formal, filling clubs and hotels in the historic district, which Parisians consider to be the true birthplace of jazz.
To experience the full extent of French pride and patriotism, there's no substitute for being in Paris on Bastille Day, July 14. Europe's largest military parade marches down the Champs Elysee to the rousing call of trumpets, passing before the President of France and a gathering of international diplomats. On this day, there is free admission to the Louvre and the opera, and a public picnic shared by thousands on the banks of the Grand Canal. At night, fireworks are set off from the Eiffel Tower. While parades and fireworks may sound familiar, the French add something extra to their national day: Throughout Paris, fire stations throw all-night parties, with music, dancing and free drinks. No other holiday involves the French people so fully, or touches their hearts so deeply.