Summer festivals

Paris's all-singing, all-dancing summer fests of film, music and more



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Le Festival de l'Imaginaire

March 20-June 29 Celebrating dance and music from all over the world, Le Festival de l'Imaginaire covers everything from Balinese dance by Topeng Shakti to lute music from Abbas Righi – the only Parisian event with such a broad outlook. Expect Kyôgen at the Théâtre du Soleil, Iraqi maqâm at the Institut du Monde Arabe and Breton fest noz (night party) at the equestrian theatre Zingaro – and much, much

Paris Jazz Festival

June 8-July 28 The Paris Jazz Festival is one of the favourite summer destinations for overheated Parisians. From mid-June until the end of July, two jazz groups play every Saturday and Sunday in the big open hall of the Parc Floral de Vincennes. The free festival (you only pay entry to the park) makes for a brilliant summer outing: everyone brings picnics and enjoys them in the sunshine amid coloured flowers, woodlands and lakes, while listening to some virtuoso

Festival June events

June 14-19  If you've never visited La Cartoucherie de Vincennes, you're in for a treat – it's one of the most beautiful spaces in the capital, a former munitions warehouse that now hosts five independent theatres. In the middle of the Vincennes forest, Ariane Mnouchkine's Théatre du Soleil shoulders up against Carolyn Carlson's Ateliers de Paris, and the Chaudron and Tempête theatres are just next door. You reach the site via a trip in an old school shuttle

Fête de la Musique

June 21 Free gigs, encompassing all music genres, take place across the country and around the world as part of this festival on the summer solstice. In Paris Fête de la Musique is particularly fun, with concerts taking place in theatres, bars, on street corners, in parks and even on balconies. In the past some musicians have even been known to serenade folks while teetering on the edge of their apartment windows. Join the throngs and let serendipity lead you to

Paris Hip Hop Festival

June 22-July 7 The 8th edition of the Paris Hip Hop festival brings nearly 400 artists to some of Paris's best concert halls, with open air and more traditional gigs. We're especially looking forward to The Pharcyde at Le Glaz'art's summer stage, Akua Naru at the Hangar in Ivry-sur-Seine, Dizzee Rascal at Cabaret Sauvage, and OFWGKTA at the Bataclan. The Paris collective Hip Hop Citoyens, who founded the festival, also offer fans the chance to try out their

Festival Paris Cinema

June 28-July 9 The French film scene is massive and so is this festival, with over 200 French and international films on show – classics, premieres, Cannes winners and more, presented by a raft of hip French auteurs. Parallel events include the hugely popular Brocante Cinéma – a film-themed flea market – outdoor screenings and giant Ciné-Karaoké events...

Solidays Festival

June 28-30 Every year for 15 years, the Solidays festival has attracted more than 50,000 people in support of the HIV & AIDS charity Solidarité Sida – raising €1.7 million in 2011 alone, which is a though to hold on to when you see the ticket prices. This year again attracts some major headline act to the Hippodrome de Longchamp: Metronomy, Birdy Nam Nam, Ben Howard, The Kills, Rover, Kavinsky, Youssoupha, Bernhoft, Blitz the Ambassador, Concrete Knives,

Gay Pride

June 29 2013 has already been a big year for equality in France, with the passing of equal marriage and adoption laws in the face of stiff opposition. So the fun, colourful annual LGBT march will be both a celebration and a promise to continue working towards inclusive laws across the board. Dress up, dress down or dress kinky, and come prepared to march, dance and sing with pride.Beginning at 2pm in Bastille, the march runs until 8pm in Montparnasse on the other

La Défense Jazz Festival

June 29-July 7 The annual two weeks of top notch free jazz gigs on the Esplanade of La Défense: just one more great thing about summer music in Paris. The 2013 edition of the festival will feature Kellylee Evans, Otis Taylor, Ibrahim Maalouf, Salif Keita and many more, as well as a national jazz competiton – previous winners have included Erik Tuffaz and Julien Lourau...

Festival Days Off

July 1-9 For the fourth year running, Days Off curates a fantastic range of pop, rock, folk and electro in two of the city's best acoustic venues, Cité de la Musique and Salle Pleyel. Some major acts taking part this year include Beck, Chilly Gonzales and Band of Horses – worth arranging a trip around...

Les Etés de la Danse

July 4-27 Every year, the sumptuous central concert hall Théâtre du Châtelet brings a major dance company from overseas to Paris. Most theatres in Paris take a break over the summer, so it's one of July's few opportunities to see classical ballet. This year's showcase: the Vienna National Ballet doing Don Quixote, and a special tribute to Rudolf Nureyev.

Peacock Society Festival

July 12-13 This techno, house and electro festival is only two days long, but gathers together an absolutely stonking line-up of more than 30 international DJs. On Friday, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos lead the way, plus there's an unmissable live gig from Hot Natured, a trio formed by Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and Infinity Ink. On Saturday, it's the turn of Gessalfestein, Luciano and Brodinski...

Quartier d'Eté festival

July 14-August 23 Global in outlook, ambitious in scope, citywide and often free, the Quartier d'Eté festival offers a fantastic summer programme of dance, theatre, concerts and circus. Previous years have seen open-air films, gypsy music, ballet by Merce Cunningham, and an opera composed for the occasion by Youssou N'Dour.

City Sounds Festival

July 19-20 The 19th arrondissement's eclectic cultural centre, the Centquatre, launches City Sounds this year to celebrate the psych, garage and punk scene of San Francisco. OK, so a few hail from Oakland and LA, but we're not going to quibble. The programme includes the prince of garage Ty Segall, the elclectic Three Oh Sees and the promising Shannon and the Clams – an exceptionally promising line-up for one short weekend...

Paris Plages

July 20-August 18 Urban beaches, summer sports and party lawns in Paris This is one of Time Out's top 50 things to do in Paris this summer. Click here to see the full list.If there’s one event that sums up Paris in the summer, this is it. Back in 2002, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë began the tradition of lining the banks of the Seine with sand, deckchairs, food stalls and volleyball nets...

Cinema en Plein Air

July 24-August 28 Outdoor movie going at its finest, with international films screened for free at sundown in Parc de la Villette, the cutting edge architectural, music and art hub that's a big part of the recent buzz around north-eastern Paris. Expect everything from 'Ocean's Eleven' to Kaurismaki gems, and an easy-going crowd of happy, summery Parisians and visitors...

Cinéma au Clair de Lune

August 1-11 Organised by the Forum des Images, the Cinéma au Clair de Lune festival, while less well-known than the open air screenings at Parc de la Villette, offers a great range of films shown in locations around Paris, and all for free. Look out for Julien Duvivier's 'Panique' in the Parc de Choisy (13th), Jean Becker's 'Le Trou' on the Place des Vosges or the opening night screening of 'Midnight in Paris' on the Square Louise-Michel in Montmartre...

Rock en Seine

August 23-25 Launched in 2003, the Rock en Seine festival in the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud park west of Paris is the city's premier annual rock festival. The lineup for the 2013 edition (23, 24 and 25 August) was announced on April 25, and features Alt-J, Tame Impala, Laura Mvula, Nine Inch Nails, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and many more...

Jazz à la Villette festival

Sept 3-15 The Jazz à la Villette festival is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the back-to-school season for musically-minded Parisians. Every concert is unique, a meeting between different artists: jazz, funk, hip-hop, blues and world. It's brilliantly orchestrated 21st-century jazz, mixed with rhythms and instruments from around the world.The programme for this year's edition at Parc de la Villette features...

Fête de l’Humanité

September 13-15 One of the most eagerly anticipated events of the rentrée for all Parisians, don't be surprised to hear people referring excitedly to the 'Fête de l'Huma'. Despite its political overtones (it's the signature event of l'Humanité, formerly the daily newspaper of the French Communist Party), the festival attracts a broad church: anyone with an interest in humanitarianism, philanthropy or simply affordable gigs in an easygoing atmosphere...

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