May is one of the most appealing times of year to visit the French capital. Spring is at full tilt; the city is buzzing with activity, warmth and yes, crowds. On warm, sunny days, outdoor activities are especially pleasant, and this month affords plenty of opportunities for keeping entertained in the open air. Meanwhile, arts and culture fans will not be disappointed during a late spring visit: open galleries and free museum openings are one of the month's many highlights. Here are our picks of some of the best annual events on in Paris each May, from jazz and food festivals to tennis championships.
Paris Museum Night
Every third Saturday in May, dozens of Parisian museums open their doors to visitors late into the evening, free of charge for all. See the world-famous permanent collections at the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Centre Pompidou and countless others. Special exhibits, lectures, performances and illuminations are generally on the program at many participating museums, too.
When: In 2019, Paris Museum Night falls on the evening of Saturday, May 18th. Museums stay open until around 1 a.m. See more information at this page.
The French Open at Roland Garros
Tennis fans should not miss one of the globe's most exciting and important annual tournaments, which kicks off every year in late May. Tennis greats like Steffi Graf made their debuts at Roland Garros, and the French Open continues to host unforgettable and pulse-raising matches on the outdoor courts filled with red clay or sand. Thousands of people fill the stadium to watch champions — both women and men — in the singles and doubles' tournaments.
Procuring tickets, however, can be a tall order, so try to snag much-coveted spots at the matches several months ahead. See full information on this year's tournament and information on purchasing tickets.
When: In 2019, the French Open kicks off on Sunday, May 26th and runs through Sunday, June 9th.
Open House at Belleville Artists' Studios
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 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can find more information on this year's open house event here.
When: In 2019, the Belleville Ateliers Ouverts event runs over the long weekend from Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 29th.
The St-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival
Jazz fans shouldn't miss this annual street festival that takes over the St-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood every year in late spring. Concerts and performances run day and night for a full 10 days in 2019, many with a special focus on different forms of talent, from women in jazz to young ingenues. This is a fantastic way to enjoy some live music and get to know a historic Parisian neighborhood at the same time. On a sunny day, there's little better than basking in the music and the balmy conditions.
When: In 2019, the festival runs from May 16th to 27th. See full details on this year's program and buy tickets online at the official website.
Taste of Paris
Curious gourmets unite every year in May for this palate-stimulating event at the Grand Palais in Paris. Beeline to Taste of Paris for four full days of culinary events: live demonstrations and pop-up restaurants from award-winning chefs, food and drink samples and even free cooking classes. Live performances add to a festive vibe. French cuisine is obviously a focus, but so are culinary traditions from elsewhere, making for an eclectic afternoon that's sure to expand your foodie muscles.
When: In 2019, Taste of Paris runs from March 9th-12th. See more information at this page.
Foire du Trone Funfair
Parents and kids can look forward to the annual Paris fair (Foire du Trône), which runs through the end of May and delivers all the traditional fun of a county fair. Enjoy everything from Ferris wheels, roller coasters, log rides and cotton candy to live performances, fireworks and games.
When: Through June 2nd, 2019
Everyone to the Opera!
For anyone curious to see what the great operahouses of Paris look like behind the scenes, this free event is a must. Every May, operahouses around France open their doors to the general public for a single day for guided tours. See backstage areas, elaborate costumes and learn more about the craftsmanship that goes into opera set design, wigmaking and other key areas. Whether you're an opera lover or simply curious to expand your knowledge, here's your chance to learn more about the phenomenal artistry behind performances at the Opera Bastille and the Palais Garnier.
When: Saturday May 4th, 2019. See more information on this year's events at this page (in English).