“All that can be found anywhere can be found in Paris.” Victor Hugo
Fête de la Musique
An idea from the 1980s minister of culture that has become a national institution. Free concerts of all kinds throughout Paris in late June.
Gay Pride March
Its organizers claim that this march is the world's biggest. Held in late June, parade from Montparnasse to the Bastille.
Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)
Held on July 14, there is dancing on the site of the Bastille, a parade on the Champs-Elysées and fireworks around the Eiffel Tower after dark.
In mid-July to mid-August, Parisian life is transformed by more than a mile of temporary beach along the Seine embankments. There are palm trees, music and parties in the evenings.
Fête des Vendanges
The second weekend of October is the annual Montmartre grape harvest festival. Attend the jolly neighborhood party with music and fireworks.
“Outside of Paris, there is no hope for the cultured.” Molière
Paris Museum Pass
The Paris Museum Pass grants free entry (and no waiting in line!) to over 60 museums and monuments in the city. Passes, which range from 30 to 60 euros, can be purchased for 2, 4, or 6-day periods.
National Geographic Traveler has walking tours of Le Marais, Secrets along the Seine and what they term “downtown.”
Cité de la Musique
Home to the contemporary Ensemble Intercontemporain, founded by Pierre Boulez; also hosts world music, baroque, classical and jazz concerts; one of the best music museums in the world. "Delightful to experience culture through another sense." Terry Wolverton, poet and novelist. 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès; Métro: Porte de Pantin; tel. +33 (0) 1 44 84 45 00.
Created by order of Louis XIV in 1680; classics and new productions in the historic, glittering Salle Richelieu by the Palais Royale. “The French equivalent of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; an innovative contemporary repertoire.” Marie-Céline Nivière,Pariscope theater critic. 2 Rue de Richelieu; Métro: Palais Royale; tel. +33 (0) 1 44 58 14 13.
La Cinémathèque Française
Venerable film society in new (2005) quarters designed by Frank Gehry; four screens dedicated to changing themes, retrospectives, classics and the seldom seen; films in original language with French subtitles. 51 Rue de Bercy; Métro: Bercy; tel. +33 (0) 1 71 19 33 33.
Opéra National de Paris
France's most prestigious opera company; performing in two venues: lavish Palais Garnier at Place de l'Opéra, which recently completed a ten-year renovation, and the ultramodern Opéra Bastille in Place de la Bastille. Tickets from $7; tel. (both) 08 92 89 90 90 (in France), tel. +33 1 72 29 35 35 (from abroad).
Presents top-notch classical concerts (Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Choeur de Radio France) performing in venues around town.
Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
One of the world's most innovative theater companies, directed by Peter Brook and Micheline Rozan; café for light meals before or after performances. "The whole setting has a Peter Brook magic to it." Marie-Céline Nivière. 37 bis Boulevard de la Chapelle; Métro: La Chapelle; tel. +33 (0) 1 46 07 34 50.
“And no wonder Paris, land of novelty and distraction, is the great city of the flâneur — that aimless stroller who loses himself in the crowd, who has no destination and goes wherever caprice or curiosity directs his or her steps.” Edmund White