Fête de la Musique: Paris Street Music Festival 2017

Free Music and Early Summer Cheer Spill into the Streets

Fete de la Musique
••• A classical music performance during June's annual Fete de la Musique in Paris. François Pugnet/Sygma via Getty Images

La Fête de la Musique is a lively street music festival held every June 21st in Paris, and is one of the year's most popular events in the city of light. Hundreds of musicians gather in the streets, bars, and cafes of Paris, giving free performances of everything from jazz and rock to hip-hop and electronic music.

To get a taste of authentic Paris culture, don't miss the Fête de la Musique on a June trip to Paris.

The mood is light and the opportunity to get to know the city's neighborhoods, bars and cafes like a local is rarely better than during this convivial event. This is a must for any early summer sojourn in the French capital-- but to really make the most of it, scroll down for our tips on how to navigate the program like the locals do. 

Read related: Paris for Music Lovers (Best Venues, Events, Performances)

Fête de la Musique 2017 Practical Details:

The Fête de la Musique is held every June 21st (the day of the summer solstice) and generally starts at sundown.

To find out what performances are scheduled around your hotel or in a specific Paris arrondissement (district) for the 2017 event, see the official website. Generally, there are hundreds of shows going on around town-- everything from sidewalk-site quartets and garage bands to outdoor stadium events--  so there's always an abundance of choice.

 

How To Get the Most Out of this Event?

Everyone has their own strategy for making a night of it: Some prefer to sift through the official program and elect a few carefully selected concerts; others like to wander the streets and stumble on great(or mediocre) concerts. Personally, I prefer the second approach.

The year I discovered the Fête de la Musique, a friend and I snaked aimlessly from the Beaubourg Neighborhood, up to République and Belleville in East Paris, getting a taste of everything from thrash metal to Yiddish folk music. By letting yourself happen upon performances, you'll get to dabble in different styles and most likely get more out of the event.

Riding the Metro During the Fête 

As you might expect, the Paris metro is often full to the hilt for the occasion of the Fête de la Musique. Paris buses will have problems circulating, too, as many streets are blocked off to install stages. Think about walking to get back to your hotel-- you'll likely save time and may just get a peek at a few more memorable concerts on your way back. Make sure to bring a good Paris city street map out with you.

Luckily, in 2017, most Paris metro and RER (commuter train) lines will be open all night long-- meaning you don't have to worry about getting stranded somewhere! Between June 21-22, the following metro and RER lines will remain in service throughout the night: 

  • Metro: Lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 14
  • RER: Lines A, B, C, D, H, J,  and L

In addition, the night bus ("Noctilien") service can get you anyplace that the above metro and RER lines can't (but you won't likely need them).