What to do in Paris in May

by Ali Postma
Left: A picture of the famous Parisian bistrot, Le Nemours, with its line of terrace ensemble -- black tables, metal ashtrays, blue woven chairs, and white and gray parasols with heaters. Right: A picture of a Parisian florist with its outdoor set of flowers in different shades of red, orange, white, and beige.
Top: Simón García
Above left: @theparisbarista / Above right: @pamelaloutfi

If things go according to plan, France will begin re-opening mid-May. And we can’t wait! Oh, how we’ve missed restaurants, museums, and live events. If all goes well, there’s a lot on this May in Paris. From markets and art, music to tennis. It’s as if life is returning to normal…almost. Here’s hoping we can attend some of the below events:

Left: The logo of La Cité Fertile with a big letter C decorated with leaves and flowers. Right: One of Hopare's paintings in Bretagne -- a building wall painted with a portrait of a woman looking sideways, in colors of blue, red, and white.
Left: La Cité Fertile / Right: Hopare

The Gros Marché – May 8 & 9 & Utile, Marché de l’Objet Céramique – May 23 – La Cité Fertile

The first edition of the “big” market features 30 second-hand and vintage stalls, with clothing, lingerie, furniture, decoration, vinyls, bikes, and more. The market will promote new, more ethical and eco-responsible modes of consumption.

The compound of La Cité Fertile taken by a drone shot from above. You can see the buildings with outdoor sitting areas with parasols and pétanque squares.
La Cité Fertile, Adrien Roux

The Market of Ceramic Objects showcases utilitarian ceramics created by visual artists, illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, and others. This market brings together a myriad of approaches via unique ceramic objects, from both small and larger productions.

La Samaritaine Reopening – May 28

2 pictures of La Samaritaine Paris. Left: This photo is taken on the other side of La Seine, featuring Pont Neuf on the right side. Right: An architect's sketch of the fully renovated La Samaritaine.
Left: @yannickfromparis / Right:

The iconic 150-year old department store, La Samaritaine, is due to reopen after a 20 year closure. Now owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), this Art Deco and Art Nouveau central Paris gem has undergone five years of renovations. After several postponements, we hope its doors finally open on the 28th.

Portes Ouverts des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville – May 28-31

Left: A black and white painting on a slate black board of a pensive woman with her chin resting in her hand while she looks sideways. Right: 3 female artists are sculpting head clay pieces in what appears as a sculpting course.
Les Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville

For four days, the artists of Belleville invite you behind the scenes. All aspects of contemporary creation will be accessible. Meet the artists, enter their workshops, and maybe even discover their secrets. The event features an impressive 200 participating artists and collectives, 115 studios to visit throughout Belleville, and around 30 artistic disciplines. The program includes screenings, music, dance, performances, conferences, special evenings, a photo competition, and more.

Villette Sonique – Parc de la Villette – May 29 & 30

Left: The logo of Villette Sonique in black and white. Right: A female DJ is performing in the midst of a crowd. A yellow fog gives ambience to this photo.
Villette Sonique

The lush green lawns and futuristic architecture of the Parc de la Villette are the perfect setting for this music festival. During the evening, the Grande Halle and partner venues such as Cabaret Sauvage and Trabendo will host pop, rock, hip-hop, and electro concerts.

The French Open 2021 – Roland Garros – May 30

This year’s French Open is postponed one week in the hopes that recent Covid-19 restrictions in France will be lifted, enabling the public to attend. The 2020 edition was delayed until autumn. We hope this year’s tournament does not suffer the same fate. Spectators can take advantage of the newly transformed stadium, now covering over 30 acres.

Left: Hopare's outdoor exhibition of a bronze sculpture is pictured in front of L'Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois in Place du Louvre. This said sculpture is a female head piece. Right: The artist, Hopare, is sitting in his studio with numerous paintings surrounding him, in different colors of red, blue, white, and gray.

Hopare – L’Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, Place du Louvre – until May 30

With public museums currently closed, open-air/outdoor exhibitions are the new thing. French street artist and sculptor Alexandre Monteiro, AKA Hopare, installed five bronze sculptures, one of which is three meters tall, in the square facing the Louvre Colonnade.

Le Chat Déambule de Geluck – Avenue des Champs Elysées – until June 9

Philippe Geluck is an illustrator, writer, actor, comic, TV and radio host. He is one the French-speaking world’s most popular cartoonists. Geluck created the character Le Chat, who been transformed into 20 bronze sculptures measuring two meters tall and weighing one tonne. They are exhibited along the Champs-Elysées.

Left: A female tennis player is captured in a game during the French Open. She is in an all blue ensemble -- hat, armbands, top, skirt, tennis shoes. Right: A sample comics strip of Le Chat by Philippe Geluck. In here, the gray cat is wearing a blue suit with orange tie wna dis holding two gray mice.
Left: Roland Garros / Right: Le Chat de Geluck

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A picture of one of the galleries of Les Ateliers d'Artistes de Belleville. Showcased in this photo are numerous paintings and artworks posted on white walls.
Les Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville
Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

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