Late-night opening hours at Paris museums and galleries
There’s no doubt that Paris has a world-beating array of galleries and museums, but make your way to any of these on a weekend and you can expect lengthy queues. But even if you’re busy during the week, there’s an easy way around this: many museums and galleries operate late-night openings at least once a week, meaning you can enjoy a post-work cultural visit in relative peace and quiet any day of the week. We’ve rounded up the best late-night openings, day by day, to help you decide where to head next time you want to swap late-night chat shows for something a bit more cultural. RECOMMENDED: The best art galleries in Paris
16 romantic things to do in Paris
A trip to Paris with your special someone is a romantic rite of passage. Everyone comes here en couple at some point, probably multiple times – so the pressure’s on to find some seriously magical things to do while you’re here. If you’re keen to avoid the clichéd tourist traps, we’ve hand-picked a range of the less obvious, more under-the-radar date spots and other romantic things to do in Paris. From a gentle stroll through one of the French capital’s prettiest parks to cocktails à deux at one of many world-class bars, there’s something to impress any date here. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris
Restaurants in the Marais
One of the chicest and unfortunately most expensive areas in Paris, the Marais (sandwiched between Metro stations St-Paul and République) overflows with impressive restaurants in its charming narrow streets, stretching west towards Beaubourg. While the area is known for its bustling falafel strip on the Rue de Rivoli, it has more to offer than just that, from top-notch crêpes at Café Breizh to crispy pizzas at Il Prezzemolo. It’s also prime territory for art lovers, with its heavy concentration of museums and art galleries. So if you’re looking for a post-gallery meal, or simply a pleasant spot to while away an evening, our handy guide to the best restaurants in the Marais is here to help. Recommended: The best bars in the Marais
Fête des Vendanges Montmartre 2017
When? October 11-15, 2017 What? A five-day contemporary arts festival celebrating the Montmartre wine harvest. Where? Various venues around Montmartre A little known treasure in the 18th arrondissement is the minuscule private vineyard of a monastery, perched high on the hill of Montmartre. Every year, the surrounding neighbourhood comes together – markets, restaurants, libraries, bookshops, cinemas, theatres and even schools – to celebrate the rare and distinctive vintage that its grapes produce. This year’s Fête des Vendanges Montmartre will be centred around the theme of ‘freedom’. Across the five-day festival programme, you can expect all manner of wine-themed events, including a fascinating-sounding talk from Laurent Bihl on the vineyard itself. But you can also expect plenty of music, and workshops where kids and teenagers can apparently learn all about street art. The closing night is set to be particularly spectacular, with an impressive firework display planned by the Sacré-Coeur, along with a giant dance party. For more information on tickets and to view the full programme, visit the festival’s website.
Fête à Neu-Neu 2017
When? September 3-October 8 2017What? A vibrant funfair with rides and other attractions for all the family. Where? The Bois de Boulogne Enjoy a fun day out with the kids at this lively fairground in the Bois de Boulogne. Every year, the Fête à Neu-Neu comes to Paris, offering kinds of activities for the kids (and adults, if they’re willing, too). Spin around on rides, bounce on large trampolines, whizz down slides, and enjoy all the traditional funfair food – there’ll be candy floss, toffee apples and crêpes galore. Open from the end of august to the start of October, the funfair is the ultimate way to beat the end-of-summer blues. For more information, check out their website.
The best picnic spots and food in Paris
With a whole host of marvellous green spaces across the capital, it can be hard choosing where to lay down your hamper for a lazy summer picnic. So that’s why we’ve come up with a helpful shortlist of the best spots in Paris to soak up the sunshine while enjoying your food. From the verdant mounds and ponds of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the Parc Monceau, to the buzzing hodgepodge architecture of the Canal Saint-Martin and of course the Seine, you can be sure of a truly Parisian picnicking experience, in one way or another.And if you’re bored with the bog-standard baguette and cheese, why not try our run-down of Paris’s best alternative food shops? From Paris Saint Bière’s unusual craft beers to the scrummy biscuits at La Cure Gourmande, you’ll soon find that a Parisian picnic can quite easily end up a rather gourmet affair.Recommended: The best summer terraces in Paris
Quartier d'Été festival 2017
When? July 17-August 5 2017 What? A four-week festival packed with music, art and theatre performances Where? Various locations around Paris Global in outlook, ambitious in scope, citywide and often free, the Quartier d’Été festival offers a fantastic summer programme of dance, theatre, concerts and circus, this year spread across four weeks from July 17-August 5 2017. So with many theatres across Paris closed for the summer, you can still enjoy the arts in the heart of the city. For more information and tickets, check out the festival’s website.
The best parks in Paris open late
As the days are getting longer and the evenings warmer, it’s the perfect time to kick back and relax in some of Paris’s most prized green spaces. Luckily, this has just got even easier, with the major parks in the capital enjoying extended opening hours April to September 2017. Some open up from 7am (for morning run) to 10pm (loungey picnics) at night.Everything is well organised, with the mayor’s office providing night time security, public toilets and bins to help maintain the peaceful atmosphere of the parks. From the charming waterfalls at the Parc des Buttes Chaumont to the sports haven that is the Parc Kellermann, there’s something for every occasion, whether it’s a romantic midnight stroll or an evening game of pétanque with the kids.
La Douve Blanche 2017
When? July 7-9 2017 What? An electronic music festival in a historic out-of-town setting. Where? The Château d’Egreville An exciting union between Animal Records (providing the music) and Point Ephémère (providing the food), the Douve Blanche festival is set to take over the grounds of the 1000-year-old Château d’Egreville for the second year running, from July 7-9 2017 . The line-up doesn’t offer any massive names, but expect strong leanings toward upbeat house and electro-pop and main stage sets from emerging artists like Polo and Pan Easily accessible from Paris, the Château is just an hour and twenty minutes from the Gare du Lyon. Weekend passes are €35, including free camping. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
Vegan restaurants in Paris
It’s the land of beef bourguignon and buttery patisseries, so for many gourmands in France the thought of a meal without any animal products is perhaps a horrifying one. However, Parisians are slowly coming round to the idea, with a wealth of vegan-friendly restaurants rearing their healthy heads all over the capital. So if you’re craving tofu, or even just an alternative to butter-laden cookies and desserts, look no further than our guide to the very best places to go vegan in Paris. Recommended: The best vegetarian restaurants in Paris, the best Indian restaurants in Paris.
20km de Paris 2016
When? October 9 2016What? A 20km run through central Paris, this year with a ‘cartoon’ theme.Where? The race starts and finishes at the Eiffel Tower While the April marathon may well be the biggest and most talked-about event of the Parisian running calendar, there are plenty of other events pro and amateur joggers can enjoy during the rest of the year. This autumn notably marks the return of the 20km Paris run, now in its 38th year.The 2015 run was a huge success with nearly 26,000 participants, and the 2016 event is set to be an even grander affair. The course will now take in Paris, the Bois de Boulogne and the banks of the Seine, before winding up at the Eiffel Tower. The theme for this year’s race is ‘cartoons’, under the direction of star cartoonist Soledad Bravi, who has been tasked with drawing cartoons to capture the spirit of the event. For more information on how you can register, visit the website.
Paris-Versailles Walk 2016
When? September 25 2016 What? A 5km walk from Chaville to Versailles. Where? Starts from Jean Jaurès Sports Centre and ends at the Domaine Madame Elisabeth If you missed the registration for the annual 16km Paris-Versailles run on September 25 2016, then there’s another way to join in the fun, and as a bonus, you don’t even have to cover the whole stretch. For those who want to take it easier, there’s now also a Paris-Versailles Walk, which confusingly doesn’t actually start in the capital, but in Chaville, just 5km from Versailles. Untimed and uncompetitive, it’s a relaxed, low key event intended for walkers of all ages. The entry fee is just €5 (free for minors) and you can register on the day at the start of the race. For more information on the course, visit the website.
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It’s hard to know where to go in Paris when you’re searching for the perfect pizza, pasta or prosciutto. But if you’re stuck between the three, the ever-reliable Al Caratello will cater for every Italian taste with their three branches located on the same street in Montmartre. There’s Pizza Caratello, Piccolo Caratello (offering quicker service and more informal dining) and, of course, the original Al Caratello, which has become a firm favourite among the inhabitants of Montmartre, thanks to its fresh, indulgent pasta dishes and traditional trattoria menu.There’s a real homey, family-kitchen vibe here, complete with charming waiters who bustle between the packed tables, advising regulars on the impressive selection of Italian wines. We start with a generous antipasti platter (€12.50), filled with an excellent selection of sumptuous smoked meats and olives, plus a refreshing helping of broccoli and carrots. It’s a generous, high quality, incredibly comforting dish, and the main courses thankfully continue in this vein. The moreish chicken and veal scaloppine (€15), for example, is served with perfectly al dente spaghetti and a small but very welcome side salad. The ravioli fellini (€14) is also superb, its decadent truffle sauce providing a decent accompaniment, although a little rich at times. For dessert, the tiramisu (€7) is a slight let down, as its thick cream layers drown out the subtler flavours in the sponge. We know it’s a ram-packed place and it’s hard to keep track
Tucked down a cobbled street between the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Saint-Sulpice church is Mundolingua, a fantastic, interactive museum dedicated to the history of languages and linguistics. But don’t be put off by the technical, academic nature of the topic – a visit here is immensely enjoyable, informative, and accessible to all but the very young. As you go in, each visitor is given a pair of headphones to enjoy videos and play with touch screens around the exhibit. The staff are enormously welcoming, providing an introduction and a brief overview of the museum – in English or French – to every visitor. There’s a lot to take in, but everything is explained in a fun, insightful, layperson’s way. For those who want to test their language skills, you can tour around the museum in any of the six official languages of the United Nations (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or Russian). After three years’ preparation and research, the museum was finally opened to the public in 2013, and it certainly provides an impressively thorough primer in all things language. So while the ground floor zooms in on sound systems and features common to all languages, the basement centres on linguistic diversity around the world, how languages evolve and the interplay between language and technology. Come back once a month for one-off evening lectures on everything from ‘hyperpolygots’, the brainboxes who speak more than ten languages, to the art of translation, or even a talk from worl
Eglise Saint Serge
It may come as a surprise that there are 16 orthodox churches dotted around Paris. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the 8th arrondissement is by far the most imposing, but on a smaller scale, the lesser-known Eglise Saint Serge is equally as charming. Tucked down a narrow passage off the Rue de Crimée, not far from the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, the quaint church with its wooden portico offers a communal space for orthodox Russians, where they can help maintain the beautiful garden full of roses and sweet-smelling mint and sage plants. Respectful visitors are welcome, even though the church isn’t officially open to the public. See the website for more information on events held at the church.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
This grandiose neo-Byzantine Russian Orthodox church was completed in 1861 by tsar Alexander II’s architect Roman Kouzmine, who was also responsible for the Fine Arts Academy in St Petersburg. The cathedral was envisaged as a social hub at a time when Russian emigration towards Paris was on the rise, and it continues to be the nucleus of the city’s Russian community today. The building has welcomed all sorts of high-profile guests in its time, with Picasso’s marriage to Olga Khokhlova and Vassily Kandinsky’s funeral both taking place here. The church is open to visitors on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays from 3pm-5pm.
Librairie du Globe
It may have a grandiose name, but this bookshop is a tad more niche than it suggests – the ‘globe’ is in fact limited to just Russia. For the past 60 years now, Russian books have filled the shelves of this shop, which has switched locations and now operates on the Boulevard Beaumarchais in the Marais. For those who want to read in Pushkin’s own language, the stock of Russian books is impressive. But French translations of classic and contemporary Russian novels are also readily available, as is a whole section dedicated to travel and guidebooks, and another to grammar books and dictionaries (French/Russian). If Russian books (or French translations) don’t appeal, then try rummaging through the vintage Soviet posters or the wide array of Russian CDs and DVDs instead. In the basement (which is given over to second-hand books), beanbags litter the floor and cosy armchairs allow visitors to while away the hours with a book or laptop. Large tables and a flip board allude to the fortnightly Russian discussion classes they host (€15), apparently accompanied by tea and cake, plus other events, talks and film screenings that take place throughout the year. Clearly, the Librairie du Globe styles itself as far more than just a bookshop, and more like a comprehensive cultural centre for Parisian Russophiles, one and all. For real devotees, the staff also produce online podcasts with authors, which you can listen to here.
Conservatoire Russe de Paris Serge Rachmaninoff
Named after its patron, Serge Rachmaninoff, the Conservatoire Russe de Paris offers professional music courses in both French and Russian, but only for those who are virtuoso-level good. For those of us who are less musically gifted, the institute also offers Russian lessons, as well as music and dance classes for children. If you prefer to just sit and listen, there’s also a wide range of events put on at the conservatoire, including concerts from acclaimed visiting musicians and masterclasses with resident pianist Elizabeth Sombart. For more information and to see the upcoming events schedule, visit their website.