Best July Events in Paris

2017 Guide

Paris Plages transforms the banks of the Seine into a boardwalk.
••• Paris Plages transforms the banks of the Seine into a boardwalk. Courtney Traub/Licensed to

Sources: Paris Convention and Visitors Office, Paris Mayor's Office

Popular Festivals and Seasonal Events:

  • Bastille Day (La Fête Nationale):
    Bastille Day marks the beginning of the French revolution and the country's long, chaotic road to becoming a republic. Similar in spirit to American Independence Day or Canada Day, La Fête de la Bastille is not to be missed and offers a chance to see top-notch fireworks or organize a picnic in one of the city's beautiful parks and gardens. The traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysées before nightfall gives a glimpse of how French people pay tribute to their nation. On the eve of Bastille Day, an enormous dance party ("Le Bal du 14 juillet") takes over the Place de la Bastille, starting the celebration on a festive note.
  • Paris Plages (Pop-Up Beach Operation on the Seine River)
    From July 20th through September 3rd, 2017, a full-fledged beach with attractions including sandy areas for fun and games, cafes, boating and other water sports will take over the banks of the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette in North Paris. Paris Plages has enjoyed enormous success since its launch in 2003 and attracted millions of visitors last year. On hot nights, sipping a drink at one of the open-air bars installed on the beach or enjoying free live concerts are now summer staples in Paris.
  • Open-Air Cinema Festival at the Parc de la Villette
    Dates: July 20th through August 20th, 2017
    Every year, Parisians and visitors spread out blankets at the ultramodern Parc de la Villette, where some 36 movies are shown on a giant outdoor screen. Starting to see why July is a great month for film aficionados? In 2017, entry is free (but you can rent a chaise-longue for a small fee.)
    See general information about the Parc de la Villette here
    Visit the official website

    Arts and Exhibits Highlights in July 2017:

    Auguste Rodin: The Centennial Exhibition

    He is perhaps France's most gifted and prolific sculptor-- and the Grand Palais is hosting a sweeping retrospective on his life, work and legacy. Not to miss if you're a fan of sculpture, or art history in general. Tickets are scarce so book well ahead of your visit.


    Portraits by Cézanne : Musée d'Orsay

    The impressionist painter Paul Cézanne is perhaps best known for his quietly sublime landscape portraits and still lives, but he was also a gifted portraitist. His portraits are the subject of a special temporary exhibit at the Musee d'Orsay all summer long and through late September. 

    Tokyo-Paris: Masterpieces from the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Collection Ishibashi Foundation

    This much-awaited traveling exhibit from Tokyo's Bridgestone Museum of Art includes masterpieces from Monet, Pollock, Matisse, Caillebotte, and many others. Book tickets early as it's proving to be a very popular show. 

    Dates: Through August 21st, 2017

    ​Karel Appel: Art as Celebration!

    The contemporary Dutch painter and sculptor Karel Appel may not be a household name, but his vision marked an entire generation of experimental painting. The Musee d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris) is paying homage to the co-founder of the radical CoBrA arts group, ten years following his death.

    From the museum curators: "the artist places himself far from the norms in a spontaneous and experimental exhibition, full of vitality, which focuses on the naïve and primitive forms of art." 

    More on Paris in July: Weather and Packing Guide

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