10 Things to Do in Paris this July

Photo credit: Jenny Hughes for Frenchly

Happy July! This month, parades, parties, festivals, and special events are about as common as a French woman wearing all black (re: very). We couldn’t list them all here, but you can keep up with the action-packed calendar on SortiraParis, QueFaireaParis, the Official Paris Website, and here on Frenchly. Our best advice: don’t sleep in and lose the day, take breaks from tourists in less crowded areas like parks close to the Périphique, and always wear sunscreen. Amusez-vous bien!

1. Carnaval Tropical de Paris (July 2)

Depart from Franklin D. Roosevelt, U-turn at George V

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The Carnaval Tropical de Paris is a joyous celebration of Franco-Caribbean culture. On July 2nd at 1pm, around 4000 performers and some 30 groups will begin the parade route up the Champs-Elysées. Organized by the Mairie de Paris and the Fédération du Carnaval Tropical de Paris, the parade highlights the traditional music, dance, and costumes of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, Guyana, and other DOM’s, as well as Brazil, Vietnam, Holland, and more. This 16th parade features an “Olympiades de la Culture” theme in honor of Paris’ bid for the 2024 summer Olympics.

2. Les Heures Heureuses 2017 (July 5-7)

Various locations throughout Paris

To the French, l’apéro is sacred. This July, Paris will be honoring their favorite time of day with Les Heures Heureuses (Happy Hours), a weekend of 6pm-9pm happy hours with 2€ apéro dishes with purchase of a drink. Pick of a “passport” map of the 400+ participating locations at the Hôtel de Ville. The passport will also be your voucher for apéros at each location.

3. La Sylphide (July 1-16)

Palais Garnier – Place de l’Opéra, 75009

In possibly the most beautiful venue in Paris, the Opéra de Paris presents La Sylphide, a ballet by Pierre Lacotte. A sylph (a mythical spirit) visits a hesitant groom the day before his wedding, seduces him, and further confuses him—should he choose his fiancée or la sylph? It’s one of the oldest romantic ballets, and a stunning performance en pointe (up on your toes) to emphasize the etherealness of the sylph and her friends. Good news about a ballet, you only have to be able to speak the body language of ballet to understand what’s going on! View a clip from a New York performance here.

4. Paris Plages (July 8-September 3)

Parc Rives de Seine, Port de Solférino, Hôtel de Ville, Bassin de la Villette

Every summer, this landlocked city goes coastal with the Paris Plages. For its 16th year, they’re expanding the beach fun into the Parc Rives de Seine open 24/7, where you can kick back in deckchairs with books from the free on-location library, ice cream in hand, or sweat in a dance or tai-chi workshop before hitting up a food stall. At Port de Solférino similar activities will be offered, and the space in front of the Hôtel de Ville will become a running track and concert venue for Festival Fnac Live. Most exciting, you’ll find three pools installed in the Bassin de la Villette on the Quai de la Loire, open from July 15-August 15.

5. Le 14 Julliet (July 14)

Le Champs-Elysées

Keep your eyes peeled for Emmanuel Macron and his special guest Donald Trump at the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysées. La Patrouille de France (France’s version of the Blue Angels) will do a fly-by, leaving trails of French flag-colored smoke behind them. In the evening on the 13th and 14, the Bals des Pompiers (Fireman’s Ball) turn the Paris fire stations into party-central, for either an admission fee or donation. Starting at 11pm, fireworks light up the sky behind the Eiffel Tower. Any classic monuments or vantage points you visit to view the fireworks from will be swamped with people (and very festive).

6. Get ice cream!

29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004; 15 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004

The average temperatures in Paris for July and August are the same, so give up on your summer diet now and get some ice cream already! Try the Paris classic Berthillon on the Île Saint Louis. A staple since 1954, they offer ice cream, sorbet, and vegan alternatives. (Prepare to wait in line, they’re always busy.) For a modern spot, visit le Marais’ Une Glace à Paris. Opened in 2015 by 2000’s Meilleur Ouvrier de France Glacier and a pro-restauranteur, they offer ice cream, sorbet, and sweet treats.

7. Cinéma en plein air (July 20-August 12)

Parc de la Villette – 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019

Like most big cities, Paris has a summer outdoor film series, Cinéma en plein air. At Parc de la Villette, the projector goes up when the sun goes down, and deckchairs and picnic blankets cover the lawn. Twenty-four films will screen in their original languages (with French subtitles) on 20 different nights. Deckchairs are available for rent from 7:30pm (€7 each, five for €20), and cafés, restaurants, and toilets are all within walking distance in the park. The theme of this year, “In the kitchen,” is an homage to France’s love of food. See the schedule of films here.

8. Dernier Bar avant la Fin du Monde

19 Avenue Victoria, 75001

In essence, the Last Bar Before the End of World is a bar for pop culture nerds. The mood is a bit Lost-Boys-of-Neverland—have fun and stay young forever. Le Dernier Bar has theme nights like dress like a pirate, celebrations for occasions like the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter, board game tournaments, a new cocktail every Monday, themed cocktails (like “Mother of Dragons,” for the GoT fanatics), and more. In a city that is very much about its history and traditions, Le Dernier Bar offers a special refuge for contemporary culture junkies located (contrastingly) in the same building as the Theatre du Châtelet, built in 1862.

9. Christian Dior, couturier du rêve (July 5-January 7, 2018)

107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Honoring the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior, the Musée des arts décoratifs has organized an exhibit on founder Christian Dior and the couture geniuses that succeeded him, including Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano. This is the first Parisian retrospective about Dior since 1987, and they’re pulling out all the stops. Over 300 haute couture gowns are on display, plus sketches, designer notes, accessories, and a selection of paintings and furniture to accent the creations. Dior revolutionized women’s wear, playing up femininity and decreasing the masculine traits.

10. Tour de France (July 23)

Le Champs-Elysées

The Tour de France will have already been rolling through France July 1-22, but July 23 is the date to remember. On that day, the cyclists arrive in Paris to take on the last stage of the 2,199.65-mile race. The final sprint is a circuit, up and down the Champs-Elysées, around the Tuileries, then back up the Champs, repeated eight times. Spectators line the streets, cheering on the cyclists, encouraging the fallen, and enjoying the thrill of this French tradition.