May Events in Paris: Our Top Picks

by Erin Dahl

May is the month to be in Paris, it seems, with events like the Saint Germain des Prés Jazz festival, Le Fooding’s Veillées Foodstock, Artist studios in Belleville and the highly anticipated Puces du Design vintage antique fair….enjoy! -Geneviève

Street art Paris – Annewil Stroo

La Bouffe

May 4 & 12: Veillées Foodstock 2012 includes two nights of all things we love: art, poetry, music, whiskey and ice cream. It may be a bit of a trip (held at the Contemporary Art Museum in Vitry-sur-Seine) but with those offerings plus the backing of Le Fooding, how could you say no? 

Now Open: Yannick Alleno of Le Meurice has opened Terroir Parisien, which boasts dishes made from ingredients from Ile de France.  An additional perk? It’s open every day, so feel free to pop in for Sunday dinner. Terroir Parisien, 24, rue rue St-Victor, 5e,

Now Open: Restaurateurs Juan Sanchez and Drew Harré continue to expand with their new resto Semilla, offering fresh and contemporary French dishes from an open kitchen. Note: these are the guys behind Cosi, Fish and La Dernière Goutte. Semilla, 54 rue de Seine, 6e,

© Antanas Sutkus


May 19: The 8th annual Nuit Européenne des Musées – or European Museums Night – boasts more than 160 events in museums big and small, and many have free entry. You can view a list of all participating museums and their offerings here.

Through May 19: The current exhibition at the Russian Tea Room Gallery is Amours Libres, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier/Antanas Sutkus. Sutkus is a Lithuanian photographer who shot moving black and white images of the impoverished people of his country, while Charbonnier focused on everyday moments of Parisian life. 

Through June 15: On view at Fondation Dina-Vierny – Musée Maillol: Artemisia – Pouvoir, Gloire et Passions d’une femme peintre. A feminist rule-breaker in 17th century Italy, this daughter of famed painter Orazio Gentileschi harnessed her creative drive and has since been considered one of the best painters of her time.

Robert Crumb

Through August: If you’ll be in Paris with your little ones, be sure to see the Babar exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs. The show details the multiple creators of the world’s favorite pachyderm and includes games, drawings and a series of 3D animations sure to entertain.

Through June 23: The Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris celebrates its 15th anniversary with the exhibition Humour, parodie et vidéos: Créations vidéo du Japon contemporain. Images and video all centered around the theme of “laughter,” this show can’t help but put you in a good mood. 

Through August 19: The Musée d’Art Moderne is currently showing Crumb: De l’Underground à la Genèse. This show is the first French retrospective of famed American cartoonist Robert Crumb.  R. Crumb is known for his satirical portrayal of American life, but this exhibition spans his work from early underground drawings to the publication of his graphic novel The Book of Genesis.

Foster the People

La Musique

May 4: Paris Classik, a classical orchestra, will be performing at the Eglise Saint Germain des Prés, the oldest church in Paris. The combination of the popular instrumentals and the historical significance of the location make this an event not to miss.

May 4-5: Indie darlings Foster the People perform at Le Bataclan this weekend. The trio’s feel-good indie pop-rock is sure to put a smile on any sour Parisian face.

May 9: Coeur de Pirate, led by Québécoise singer-songwriter Béatrice Martin, will perform at at Zénith de Paris. The group has had great success beyond Canada, getting recognition on Good Morning America and being nominated for Juno Award’s Francophone Album of the Year.

Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nederlands UITburo)

May 12-13: Radio France’s Des week-ends de musique presents Paris-Japon, a representation of the Eastern music that has long influenced that of the west. The weekend is comprised of five concerts covering works from ten Japanese composers.

May 20-June 3: The Saint Germain-des-Pres Jazz Festival is a dream for any syncopation-loving listener. It brings jazz musicians from around the globe together for numerous concerts at Paris’s best venues.  And what better appropriate neighborhood to host it?

May 21: French sweetheart and singer-actress Charlotte Gainsbourg will perform at La Cigalle. Though Charlotte comes from a musically-endowed family, her albums certainly have their own merit – a winning combo.

May 29: British award winner Elvis Costello will perform with The Imposters at L’Olympia. Costello has won a Grammy, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is a veteran on the music scene.

Les Puces du Design (Zemoko)


May 10: For a vintage focused shopping event, head to the 26th Puces du Design at Bercy Village. Over 100 antique dealers specializing in fashion and art from the 1950s-80s will be present for your browsing pleasure.

May 11-14: Les Portes Ouvertes: The artists of Belleville open the doors to their ateliers and give the curious a unique opportunity to explore their creative spaces. There is also official programming throughout the weekend including concerts, performances and more.  

May 13: Entry to the Children’s Festival at the Jacquemart-Andre Museum is free  to anyone under 17 years old, making this the perfect time to explore the museum’s permanent collections, take in the Pharaoh exhibition and participate in creative workshops throughout the day. Don’t miss the chocolate fountain and a collective balloon release in the evening!

May 27-June 10: If you’ll be in Paris at the end of the month, hurry and get your tickets to the French Open, the mythical tennis event that is over a century old.

Written by Erin Dahl for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Erin Dahl

Erin's had a whimsical affair with Paris since her first trip as a wide-eyed teenager. She finally made the big move and is former Editor for HiP Paris as well as Co-founder of Content Coopérative, Paris's first English-native content agency. View Website

4 comments on “May Events in Paris: Our Top Picks

Carla – yes! This month is particularly packed with fabulous goings on.

Thanks for those fabulous dates..Loving the photos you posted too.. So much to do, so little time.. Carla

A great month to be in Paris… xv

I can’t wait for Les Portes Ouvertes de Belleville. It is one of my favorite events in Paris. Cool art and cool spaces. And the neighborhood is cool as well.

I wlil miss Charlotte which stinks as I would have loved to see her in concert. La prochaine fois j’espere!

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