Parisian Living

What to do in Paris in May 2019

by Emily Dilling

As springtime hits full swing, the season’s rays make this month perfect for spending time outdoors to sample some of these great events in Paris in May. As the French say “en mai, fais ce qu’il te plaît (“in May, do what makes you happy”), and the city’s line-up of expos, sporting events, and other fun outings make it easy to do just that. 

The Mondial de la Bière event in Paris in May at the Grand Palais.
Top: Mondial de la Bière – Caspar Miskin / Above: Taste of Paris – Vincent Nageotte

The much-anticipated European Museums Night (May 18) is a yearly event that sees cities opening up a variety of museums and collections, offering free entry and extended nighttime hours. This year, participating Paris museums include the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée des Arts et Métiers, and the Palais de la Découverte. 

A poster for the Nuit Européenne des Musées event in Paris in May (left). A poster for a prehistory event in Paris this May (right).
Nuit Européenne des Musées / Préhistoire: une énigme moderne

Throughout May in Paris, museums will be opening new exhibitions during regular hours as well. Head to the Louvre for the Forgotten Kingdoms: From the Hittite Empire to the Arameans  exhibition, an archeology-driven examination of the Hittite empire and its influence on history, open May 2 to August 12.

The Paris coffee show takes place every May (left), as does the Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers de Belleville, when artists open the doors to their studios in Belleville (right).
Paris Coffee Show / Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville

Starting May 8 (until September 16), the Centre Pompidou presents Préhistoire: une énigme moderne, a curation of artifacts and modern works to create a link between prehistoric and contemporary art. From May 14 to September 2, American painter Alex Katz’s spin on Monet’s water lilies will be displayed at the Orangerie. And from May 24-27th, local artists of Paris’ 20th arrondissement give the public a glimpse into their studios and work with Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville.

May in Paris also marks the 30th anniversary of Musicora, a three-day music event at La Villette (left). A cocktails festival in Paris in May (right).
Musicora / Cocktails Spirits

May in Paris is also all about music. From May 3-5, La Grande Halle de La Villette hosts the 30th edition of Musicora, which brings together music lovers of all types as well as the country’s largest display of musical instruments. The three-day event includes free activities, such as concerts and workshops, as well as conferences and opportunities to meet with musicians. 

The Crazy Pass allows you to see some of the best concerts in Paris.
Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Music lovers also won’t want to miss out on this year’s Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival, which takes place May 16-27. Top acts include jazz manouche star Biréli Lagrène, the Erik Truffaz quartet, as well as local young talent. 

The Elements concert at the Madeleine Church is taking place this May in Paris.
Singing Earth Divine – Illustration by Jesse Kanelos Weiner (right)

On May 24, head to L’Église de la Madeleine for a performance by the Singing Earth Divine choir. The fifty-member chorus will sing gospel, spirituals, and original compositions in a stunning church setting. 

In Paris in May, natural wine tasting event, Sous les Pavés la Vigne takes place at La Bellevilloise (left). A hand holding a 'Mondial de la Bière' beer glass at the Paris Beer Festival this month (right).
Sous les Pavés la Vigne / Mondial de la Bière – Caspar Miskin

May is also a great month for food events in Paris. Kick off with a natural wine tasting at Sous les Pavés la Vigne (May 4-6). The event, which hosts over 50 winemakers, will include tastings, debates, book signings, and more. 

The annual food festival Taste of Paris takes place each May in Paris where people come to explore the different stalls (left) and there are also kids' workshops (right).
Taste of Paris – Vincent Nageotte

The Grand Palais will also welcome the 2019 edition of Taste of Paris (May 9-12), which promises “four days of dining, drinking, and live entertainment for food enthusiasts.” This year’s event features local stars including chefs Éric Frechon and Pierre Sang Boyer, as well as pastry chefs Pierre Hermé and Sadaharu Aoki. 

The Paris Beer Festival takes place in May, and allows you to taste lots of different craft beers like this tattooed man holding a glass of beer.
Mondial de la Bière – Caspar Miskin

From May 17-19, beer geeks will flock to the 3rd annual Mondial de la Bière, which takes place at the Parc Floral de Paris. Touting itself as more than just a craft beer festival, the event also brings together street food, chefs, and live music for the three-day event. 

A poster for the Paris coffee show this May (left). A staff member of Taste of Paris carrying a tray of dishes to sample (right).
Paris Coffee Show / Taste of Paris – Vincent Nageotte

The following weekend is another busy one for epicureans, with the first ever Paris Coffee Show (May 25-27) and Paris cocktail festival Cocktails Spirits (May 26-27) bringing great discussions and drinks to fans of both coffee and cocktails. 

May in Paris is also about Rolland Garros, one the annual sports highlights in the city.
Roland Garros – Cédric Lecocq

As always, Roland Garros hits Paris in May as well. The highly anticipated tennis tournament brings the best competitors in the sport together for intense matches taking place from May 20 to June 9. 

Related Links

  • You can also check out the recently opened Eataly Paris.
  • Get your French beauty products at discount pharmacy Citypharma.
  • For why you should visit Paris in spring, head to The Telegraph.

Written by Emily Dilling for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation, or long term, rental in Paris, Italy, France or elsewhere in Europe.

Written By

Emily Dilling

Emily Dilling is a France based writer and author of My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes. In 2005 Emily moved to Paris from her native California and began exploring the cities markets, restaurants, and cafés. In 2010 she founded the blog Paris Paysanne, where she writes about her favorite addresses and artisans in the city. Emily currently lives in the Loir-et-Cher region of France, where she writes and works in the grapevines. View Emily Dilling's Website

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