Best May Events in Paris

2018 Exhibits, Festivals, and More

Women's singles champion 2015 Serena Williams (USA) with tennis legend Martina Navratilova at Roland Garros in Paris.
Dan Istitene/Getty Images Sport

If you're planning to visit Paris in May, read on for what we consider to be the most compelling and interest events in 2018-- from  exhibits, shows and performances to trade fairs and annual festivals. If you need even more inspiration, you can check out these photos of Paris in the springtime.

Festivals and Seasonal Events

  • May 19th: Museum Night-- As part of the global Museum Night event, Paris museums will open their doors free of charge to visitors until 1 am. Special events and illuminations await in many of Paris' major museums.
  • May 27th-June 10th: The 2018 French Open at Roland Garros-- Tennis fans should not miss one of France's most exciting and important tournaments. Tennis greats like Steffi Graf made their debuts at Roland Garros, and the French Open continues to host some of the world's unforgettable matches. Procuring tickets, however, can be a tall order, so try to snag much-coveted spots at the matches several months ahead.
  • Through May: Foire du Trone (Annual Fair)
    Parents and kids can look forward to the annual Paris fair (Foire du Trône), which runs through the end of the month and delivers all the traditional fun of a county fair, with Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and cotton candy included.
  • May 24th-June 8th: Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival
    The city's most famous annual jazz festival will take the St. Germain neighborhood by storm for the 11th year running this month. Enthusiasts of the genre should reserve a day or two for this popular event.
    Metro: St. Germain des Prés
  • May 25th-28th: Artists' Open House in Belleville Galleries-- This annual event provides an exceptional opportunity to get to know some of Paris' contemporary artists and their work, as well as getting a glimpse of Parisian life from the inside. Over 200 artists living and working in the edgy, urbanite Belleville neighborhood open their doors to show off their work and spaces every day from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

    ​Arts and Exhibits Highlights

    Dutch Painters in Paris, 1789-1914: Van Gogh, Van Dogen, Mondrian

    This temporary show at the Petit Palais is one that fans of Dutch painting should beeline to. Spanning more than a century of innovation among painters from the Netherlands, it brings together masterpieces from three very different artists, allowing visitors to consider unexpected common points and to witness the evolution of the medium from the neoclassical period into avant-garde modernity. 

    Dates: Through May 13th, 2018 

    From Calder to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler 

    Jewelry is, perhaps wrongly so, considered by most to be a "craft" rather than "high art". This show challenges those highbrow-lowbrow distinctions with a look at remarkable jewellery designed by major artists, from Pablo Picasso to Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons. To paraphrase the elusive street artist Bansky, you may find it difficult to find your exit from the gift shop, after visiting this show...

    Venice in the Time of Vivaldi and Tieplo 

    Seen by many as the great city that might disappear underwater in the coming decades due to rising sea levels, Venice is a city that has inspired artistic imaginations for centuries.

    In tribute to that rich artistic legacy, the Grand Palais is running a monumental exposition exploring the "floating city" and the art that has been made in and around it. A true multidisciplinary show bringing together media from painting to sculpture and music, the exhibit highlights work from painters such as  Piazzetta and Giambattista Tiepolo; sculptors including Brustolon and Corroding; and music from Italian composers such as Vivaldi. Live performances will be held for several weeks of the exhibition, making it a genuine draw card for lovers of the arts.  

    For a more comprehensive list of exhibits and shows worth seeing in May, including listings at smaller galleries around town, you might want to visit this page at Time Out Paris.