Things To Do in Paris in May

This post lists the best things you can do in Paris in May, updated for 2020. We include free events, cultural festivals, concerts, evening entertainment, family-friendly activities, and popular tours.

 

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

TOP 12 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN PARIS IN MAY

This list will include a variety of different family-friendly, nighttime and free activities for audiences of all ages. 

If you’re looking for even more ideas, check the following posts:

Don’t forget to check our top activities in Paris post for additional attractions available year-round.


1) See a Concert

Paris always attracts an interesting mix of performers from arena rock to indie bands.

You can check StubHub’s calendar for more Paris concerts this month.

 

 

Find all of the Paris concerts on StubHub.


2) Attend a Sports Event

May has several major sports events to attend this month from tennis championships, a famous horse race, and a WWE wrestling event!

The Roland Garros Tennis Championship, which attracts the world’s top tennis players, is from May 18 – June 7, 2020.

 

 

On May 16 you can see wrestling and the WWE Live at the AccorHotels Arena.

On May 16 & 17 the annual Grand Steeple-chase de Paris takes place at the Auteuil racecourse. This race is has a distance of 6,000 meters, has 23 obstacles, and has been held at the Auteuil racecourse for nearly 150 years! 

Check out Stubhub for other sporting events in Paris this month.


3) Enjoy the Theatre

Experience iconic Paris by seeing a show at the Moulin Rouge. The cabaret has exotic costumes, entertaining performers, and live music.

We recommend getting your tickets early, as performances tend to sell out a month or more in advance. 

The Paradis Latin Cabaret offers dinner and champagne before the main event starts, which includes dancers, singers, and comedians. 

 

 

For a more classical performance, Opera Garnier usually has a ballet or opera production running. If you have the Explorer Pass, you can get a guided tour of the opera house!

Check out more nighttime activities from our full post.


4) La Nuit des musées (Night of the Museums)

Like many European cities in mid-May, Paris holds an annual Night of the Museums when many museums stay open later than usual and offer free entry.

In 2020, the event is on May 16. The event is more than just seeing art. There are also special events planned like music and dancing.

 

 

If you arent in Paris on May 16 and can’t take advantage of the free museum entry, there are other ways to save on museum tickets.

Some museums do not charge admission while others have free hours. Also, most of the top museums are included in tourist attraction discount passes


5) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

On your visit to Paris, you might want to consider purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass. These passes offer discounts on the cost of admission and can save you up to

Even better, most of these passes offer skip-the-line access saving you valuable time. 

 

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Here are a few of the more popular attractions included with various Paris tourist passes:

Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you could save anywhere from 15% – 50% off general admission prices.

For more details, please read our post covering Paris tourist passes.


6) Taste of Paris Festival

This annual culinary festival will take place in 2020 on May 14-17 at the Grand Palais. The festival features an upscale farmers market with over a hundred artisan producers.

Top Parisian chefs will also give cooking demonstrations. You’ll be able to taste some of their signature dishes. There will also be free cooking classes!

 

 

An excellent selection of wines, beer, cocktails, and champagne will be available to purchase. Read more about the Taste of Paris.

Foodies and others who want to try some of Paris’s best foods, consider taking a food tour. Read more just below.


7) Take a Food Tour

Besides the Taste of Paris festival, you can discover the best of Parisien food and learn about the city’s history through a Paris Secret Food Tour.

This 3.5-hour tour visits the historic Montmartre district and features six food stops. You can upgrade the food tour to include a wine tasting. 

 

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Your guide will tell you about this history of this spectacular neighborhood and take you to the best places to try Parisian cuisine.

Learn more about the Paris Secret Food Tour here.


8) Free Open Art Studios

This month you can go to two ‘Portes Ouvertes’ (Open Doors) when artists welcome the public for free into their studios. 

From May 1-4, 2020, the artists of the Père Lachaise district open their studios.

This neighborhood is best known for the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery. Combine your exploration of the art studios with a tour of the Pere Lachaise cemetery

 

 

Another Open Doors event is the annual Belleville Open Studios. From May 15-18, 2020, more than 200 artists in the Bellville district open their studio doors to the public.

Some galleries may even have free wine and cheese you can snack on!


9) Take a Sightseeing Tour

Since May marks the beginning of spring weather, it’s a perfect time to take a pay-what-you-like walking tour.

If you’re to see more quickly, consider a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Tours make stops at Paris’s most popular landmarks and has recorded commentary in multiple languages.

 

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To see the lights in the City of Lights, take a night bus tour. These tours do not allow you to hop off in the middle, but you’ll get a great overview of Paris.

If you’re looking for a tour with a topical focus, Street Art Tours have become quite popular in the last few years.


10) Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés Festival

This annual prestigious jazz festival started in 2001 and is one of the best musical events in Paris during May.

In 2020, the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival runs from May 9-20. 

 

 

Held in famous venues in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, there will be dozens of concerts day and night. 

Also, there are workshops, jazz chats and masterclasses. You can buy passes for the whole festival or individual concerts. 

This is a great way to spend an evening in the City of Lights. You can find other ideas from our post on things to do in Paris at night.


11) Onze Bouge Festival

From May 21-25, 2020, you can see lots of free music, dance, street art and theatrical performances at this annual festival. 

The festival takes place on the streets and in theaters in the 11th arrondissement. 

 

 

All the performances at the Onze Bouge Festival are free but we recommend you reserve in advance.

For more activities that won’t cost you anything, see our free things to do in Paris.


12) Printemps des Rues

The annual Printemps des Rues (Streets of Spring) will be held on May 30-31, 2020.

This free festival features street performers of all kinds – clowns, circus acts, magicians, puppet shows, music, theatre and more!

 

Printemps des rues

 

You can see free performances in multiple districts of Paris, in the 18th, 19th and 10th arrondissements (especially near the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin).

This festival is well suited for kids of all ages. For more family-friendly activities see our post on things to do with kids in Paris.

 


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About the author

Christina studied art history and French literature at the Sorbonne for a year in Paris as an undergrad. Now based in Washington, DC, she visits Paris as often as possible and loves introducing family and friends to her favorite places there. She has worked as a travel writer, museum professional, English tutor, and editor, and her favorite French cheese is Pont l'Eveque.