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Cinéma en plein air à la Villette
Photograph; Cinéma en Plein Air à la Villette

Cheap festivals in Paris

Time Out's pick of the best cheap annual festivals in Paris, with events celebrating music, film, beer and national pride

By Huw Oliver

The Paris events calendar is packed with festivals that charge either zilch or very little for entry. From outdoor cinema at the Parc de la Villette and the Parc de la Butte du Chapeau Rouge to free music festivals, gay pride and the most important national holiday, here are some of the best and most notable cheap Paris festivals that every visitor to the city can enjoy.

Cheap Festivals in Paris

Paris Beer Week

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs

Paris, the world capital of culture, fashion and malodorous trains, is set to become the world capital of beer as well. The city's beerocrats will be taking control of venues throughout the city to promote their latest artisanal ales and impart the secrets of their trade. Bars across Paris will be hosting a barrelful of beer-themed events, from tasting sessions to workshops and documentary screenings, before an amateur brewing competition closes out the festival. It's time to soak up the sun and bow down to the amber nectar...

Fête de la Musique Paris 2015
© Fête de la Musique

Fête de la Musique

Music Music festivals

Free gigs, encompassing all music genres, take place across the country and around the world as part of this festival for the summer solstice on 21 June. In Paris the annual 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 a show...

les heures heureuses

Les Heures Heureuses


A sort of gastronomic happy hour, Les Heures Heureuses was created by three friends who wanted to find an accessible way to explore Paris's culinary scene. So for a few days a year, a selection of balades or routes comprising 15 or so venues are established in different arrondissements, where participants pay just €2 to sample cooking – hors d'oeuvres – in restaurants, bistros, food stores, bakeries and bars. The range of cuisines and the calibre of talents involved is something really special...

© Philippe Leroyer

Gay Pride


The fun, colourful annual Gay Pride march – known here as the Marche des Fiertés LGBT – is both a celebration and a promise to continue working towards inclusive laws across the board. In a country where there are still simmering tensions between progressive and conservative movements, the march is as relevant today as it has ever been. Dress up, dress down or dress kinky, and come prepared to march, dance and sing with pride...


Bastille Day in Paris

Things to do

France's famous summer national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The evening before the holiday, Parisians dance at Place de la Bastille. At 10am on the 14th, crowds line up along the Champs-Elysées as the President reviews a full military parade. By night, the Champ de Mars fills for the firework display. If you want to pick a prime spot to enjoy the city-wide Bastille Day fireworks displays, check out our list of recommendations inside – but be sure to book well in advance...


Music Music festivals

Every year, powerhouse music retailer FNAC brings a election of artists to a stage outside the Hôtel de Ville for four nights of great music with the FNAC Live festival. The festival's fifth outing doubles up as a commemoration of the retailer's 60th birthday, and promises a bumper lineup – even bumper-er than previous years, that is – to celebrate. Smaller concerts are held at a more intimate venue at the Salon des Arcades...


Cinéma en Plein Air à La Villette


The fantastic (and fantastically popular) free open-air cinema festival Cinéma en Plein Air returns to Parc de La Villette for its 25th edition this summer. It's just one of the events that brings the buzz to this increasingly hip corner of northeast Paris. The screening schedule mixes classic films from great directors (Kubrick, Hitchcock, Tati, Godard, Cukor, Wilder) and some of the best releases of recent years, including films by Hayao Miyazaki, Michael Haneke and Bertrand Bonello. This is THE Paris summer film festival event...

Cinéma au Clair de Lune


The Cinéma au Claire de Lune, organised by the Forum des Images, is hosts free outdoor film screenings at different locations across Paris. Kicking off at 9.30pm every evening, the schedule is a great complement to the extensive programme put together by the separate Cinéma en Plein air event at the Parc de La Villette...


Festival Silhouette

Film Drama

Festival Silhouette is the biggest short film festival in Paris, and, having been around since 2002, has built up quite a following. For nine days you can expect to see a variety of genres represented: animation, horror, drama, comedy, documentary and experimental, all encased in a short-but-sweet format. More than 100 films will be projected, alongside live music concerts, video installations, exhibitions, visiting artists and ateliers for kids and families...

nuit blanche 2006
Marc Verhille

Nuit Blanche

Art Contemporary art

Forget back-to-school and SAD: autumn in Paris is as much about reinvigorating the community's artistic esprit as it is about falling leaves and the end of summer. Led by the Nuit Blanche festival, held every year from 7pm 'til 7am on the first Saturday in October, the city blossoms into a fantastic harvest of art, music and theatrical events. It's an unmissable time to visit, or for resident expats to shake off their post-summer sloth and get out and enjoy the city like true Parisians...


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