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Things to Do in Paris in May

Updated: March 25, 2023
 By Christina

This post lists the best things you can do in Paris in May, updated for 2023.

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.


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.

We also have a post covering the weather in Paris in May.

1. See a Concert

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

If you like jazz music, you might like a walking tour that takes you through the history of Jazz Age Paris and ends with a jazz performance.

And just on the edge of Paris, in Boulonge Billancort you can see Schumann's La Nuit Des Rois over May 12th or 15th.

Find all of the Paris concerts here.

2. Attend a Sports Event

May is a quiet month when it comes to sports in Paris. Luckily, there's a football game and a major tennis tournament taking place.

Events in May:

Check out 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!

And if you're up for some comedy, you might enjoy the very popular How to Become a Parisian in 1 Hour show.

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 2023, the event is on May 13th. The event is more than just seeing art. There are also special events planned like music and dancing.

If you aren't in Paris on May 13th 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. Go to Disneyland Paris

May is a great time to visit the Disneyland Paris amusement park. The weather is warming and the sun is usually out.

Although it might be getting busier than usual in May, you can always use the Disney Premier Access app to schedule your day out and ensure you get on all the rides you want!

There are a lot of great attractions to enjoy including Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.

Purchase Disneyland Paris tickets or learn more.

NOTE: The Go City Paris Explorer Pass includes admission to Disneyland Paris!

6. 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 have recorded commentary in multiple languages.

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.

7. Attend the Throne Fair

Paris' Foire du Trone, which takes place in Bois de Vincennes park, dates back to the 17th century.

This is one of the biggest funfairs in Europe and it draws large crowds.

Here you'll find carnival rides, games, food and drink stalls, live entertainment such as clowns and fire eaters, and so much more.

In fact, there are some traditional French treats on tap such as crepes and roasted almonds, in addition to other treats.

This is a great place to take kids for a fun day in the city.

Events run from March 31st through May 29th, 2023. For more information, visit the website.

8. 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. 

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.

9. Taste of Paris Festival

This annual culinary festival will take place in 2023 on May 11th - 14th at the Grand Palais.

The festival features 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.

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 2023, the Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés festival runs from May 10th - 17th.

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 master classes. 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.

Bonus: 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. 

Your guide will tell you about the 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.

Bonus: Holi Festival of Colors

The Holi festival is back on May 22nd, 2023! The famous, colorful Indian festival celebrates the arrival of spring with colored powder everywhere.

There will also be plenty of live music, dancing, henna, and a parade.

This festival is great for the whole family to attend! Everywhere you turn, there will be something entertaining.

It's also a great way to learn about Indian culture and enjoy Indian food.

Find more information on the website.

Bonus: Onze Bouge Festival

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.

Dates haven't been released for 2023 yet, but the 2022 event took place near the end of May. We believe it will return again.

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

Bonus: Printemps des Rues

The annual Printemps des Rues (Streets of Spring) usually takes place near the end of May

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

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.


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.
Updated: March 25th, 2023
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