The Best September Events in Paris

2017 Guide

Paul Cezanne, "Self-Portrait in a Bowler Hat", 1883-1887. Oil on canvas,
••• Paul Cezanne, "Self-Portrait in a Bowler Hat", 1883-1887. Oil on canvas,. By Daderot (Daderot) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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

Festivals and Seasonal Events:

"Nocturnal Waters" at the Chateau de Versailles

Experience the relaxing mingling of light, water, and classical music in the gardens of the celebrated chateau outside Paris. Perfect for a relaxed half-day getaway from the city bustle, and a memorable evening in an iconic setting.
When: Every weekend evening through mid-September
Where: Chateau de Versailles
Visit the event website for dates and times

The Autumn Festival:

Since 1972, the Paris Autumn Festival or "Festival de l'Automne" has brought in the post-summer season with a bang by highlighting some of the most compelling works in contemporary visual art, music, cinema, theater, and other forms. Consult the official website for program details (in English, coming soon).
When: From September 13th through December 31st, 2017.

European Heritage Days (Journees du Patrimoine)

For one day each year in the fall, as part of the continental event known as European Heritage Days, Paris monuments, government buildings, city halls and others open their doors to the public for a behind-the-scenes look at some of Paris' most fascinating places. Don't miss out on this rare chance to see the "back end" of some of the city's most iconic buildings.
When: September 16th-17th, 2017
Where: Various locations around Paris-- see here for more information.


Arts and Exhibits Highlights in September:

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. 


The Art of Pastel, from Degas to Redon  

Compared to oils and acrylics, pastels tend to be seen as a less "noble" material for painting, but this exhibit proves that all wrong.

The Petit Palais' look at magnificent pastels from nineteenth century and early twentieth-century masters including Edgar Degas. Odilon Redon, Mary Cassatt and Paul Gaugin will make you see the world in a softer-- and quietly sublime-- light. 

David Hockney at the Centre Pompidou  

The Centre Pompidou's ambitious, and much-awaited, retrospective on the British artist David Hockney is a joint collaboration with the Tate Modern in London, and promises to be the most complete look at the artist's oeuvre. Over 60 paintings, photos, engravings, video installations, drawings and mixed-media works await, and the exhibit-- celebrating Hockney's 80th birthday-- includes his most celebrated works as well as newer ones. For modern art fans, this is a must-see this season. 

Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: An Artistic Friendship

The Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris is hosting an arresting look at three major twentieth-century painters who shared important friendships as well as mutual artistic influence and inspiration: Derain, Balthus and Giacometti.

Their bold, singular work has never before been placed in conversation so closely, so this exhibit promises to be an exciting one for those interested in how modern artists work together toward new styles and techniques. 

More on Visiting Paris in September: September Weather and Packing Guide


Paris Design Week 

Are you a fan of design in all its myriad forms? If so, don't miss out on Paris Design Week, which has some 180 spots around the French capital open their doors for free to spotlight recent innovation and fresh new talent in the realm of design. What's more? Entry is free in most cases!

When: September 8th through September 16th, 2017
Where: More than 150 locations around the city: see this page for more info in English  

Open Air Shakespeare Theatre at the Bois de Boulogne

Nestled in the verdant Bois de Boulogne is the Shakespeare garden, featuring thematic gardens inspired by the bard's plays. An open-air theatre hosts a series of musical and theatrical events this year, including Scottish folk dancing and performances of plays by Shakespeare, Molière, Marivaux, and other dramatic luminaries. Most of the plays are performed in French, but some years performances are scheduled in English-- check ahead by clicking here. Early-and-midsummer dreaming guaranteed.

When: Through the end of September 2017
Where: Jardin du Pré Catelan - Shakespeare Garden

More on Visiting Paris in September: September Weather and Packing Guide