The low 50s. Wouldn’t that be nice? None of this yay-I-don’t-have-to-wear-a-coat weather one day and I-can’t-believe-I-left-my-coat-at-home weather the next. Just the low 50s. Ah, c’est genial.
Paris is emerging from its winter events slumber. The days of lightly filled calendars are over—it’s March! Break out the light jackets, dust off the walking shoes, and pull out your planner, it’s going to get busy. Before the jam-packed summers of fun begin, Paris needs a few warm-up months, and March is the kick-off. Here are 10 things to do in Paris this March.
1. “From Zurbarán to Rothko. Alicia Koplowitz Collection” (March 3-July 10)
158 Boulevard Haussman, 75008 – see map here
At the Musée Jacquemart-André, a 19th century townhouse, all the masterpieces are on display. Spanish business woman Alicia Koplowitz has shared 53 pieces from her private collection for the exhibit, “From Zurbarán to Rothko. Alicia Koplowitz Collection.” Works on display include masterpieces by Goya, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, and more. With works ranging in style and medium, there’s sure to be something to please everyone. One thing you’re certain to see—portraits of women! Consider going to the exhibit on March 8th in honor of International Women’s Day.
2. Get Outside!
Fashion week (rue Saint-Honoré and Le Marais); La Promenade Plantée map here.
We were all lazy during the winter months, so we’ve got two events to get you moving in March. Ready to Wear fashion week hits Paris February 28th-March 8th, and rue Saint-Honoré and Le Marais are the hot spots for star-spotting. For greener time outdoors, head to the Promenade Plantée (or Coulée Verte). Built 32 ft. up on the 19th century Vincennes railway’s viaducts, this 2.9-mile fauna-lined pathway goes through the 12ème arrondissement of the city, cutting through modern apartment buildings, going over parks, and winding across city streets.
3. Le Printemps des Poètes Festival (March 4-19)
At various locations throughout the city
Every spring, the National Center of Poetry hosts Printemps des Poètes (Spring of Poets) celebrating poetry and poets. Events across France focus on this year’s theme Afrique(s) (roughly meaning, Multiple Africas). On the 16th, head to a reading and conversation with two poets from the Ivory Coast, Tanella Boni and Ismaël Savadogo. Get out of the library with a 17th century poetry-themed tour of Ile Saint-Louis on the 18th, or a theatrical performance of poetry by women from the Beat Generation, on the 9th-11th. See the list of events in Paris here.
4. Juste Debout International Hip-Hop Contest (March 5)
8 Boulevard de Bercy, 75012 – see map here
Rap battles are so early 2000s. At the final night of the Juste Debout International Hip-Hop Contest, you can join 16,000 fans at the AccorHotels Arena cheering on the finalists. Juste Debout began in 2002; the founder Bruce Ykanji wanted to make Paris the global center of “standing” dance forms. At this year’s finals, eight categories will be represented: Locking, Popping, New Style Hip Hop, House, Experimental, Dancehall, Junior Dance Tour, and the new category, Fastest Dancing. Watch the event teaser here, and buy tickets here.
5. Suddenly Last Summer by Tennesse Williams (March 10-April 14)
Place de l’Odéon, 75006 – see map here
A play by an American, performed in French, directed by a German, staged in the stunning Theatre Odéon (built in 1819)… Suddenly Last Summer is not to be missed. One act long with a runtime of 95 minutes, Suddenly Last Summer is the high-drama play perfect for improving your French listening skills, and easing into the French performing arts scene. The beauty of seeing a play originally written in English is that you can read it before hand! (Bonus: attending foreign language plays makes you seem cultured.) Buy tickets here.
6. Saut Hermès (March 17-19)
Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 – see map here
Spring has sprung—and so have the horses! Into the air, over hurdles, and onto the ground. At the 8th annual Saut Hermès, horses and riders converge on the Grand Palais for a showjumping competition. Why does Hermès sponsor this event? Besides silk scarves, they make harnesses and saddles! To experience your own chic-er and French My Fair Lady moment, view the schedule here and buy tickets here.
7. St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Connolly’s, 23 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75009 (map); Freedom, 8 rue de Berri, 75008 (map); Corcoran’s, 12 rue de Mirbel, 75005 (map)
With St. Patty’s falling on a Friday, work is no excuse not to go out. For the most authentic Irish experience complete with Guinness and some real Irish people, try Connolly’s Corner. If you’d prefer more of a bar/club with an international crowd, playing mostly mid-2000s American music, The Freedom Pub is the place to be. Finally, find your commercialized celebration, with shamrock tattoos, fake beards, and everyone claiming they’re ¼ Irish over at the chain bar, Corcoran’s Irish Pub Grand Boulevard. (Don’t forget, most places close around 4am or 5am, so have a place in mind to kill the hour before the Métro opens.)
8. National French Bread Day (March 21)
Pichard, 88 rue Cambronne, 75015 (map); Grenier à Pain, 38 rue des Abbessess, 75018 (map) and other locations; Blé Sucré, 7 rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 (map)
It won’t be National French Bread Day in France, but it will be in the US! The simplest way to celebrate? Buy a baguette! A special day really should have a special baguette though. Boulangerie Pichard may look simple, but their baguettes are exquisite. Inside Grenier à Pain, the brick walls and natural wood set a homey mood for buying one of their crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside baguettes. Finally, Blé Sucré has good baguettes—but they pale in comparison to their pain au chocolat. (It’s still French bread, just not baguette!) For more information on French bread and bakeries, check out our handy guide to French bakeries.
9. Paul Taylor Stand-Up Show (March 3-May 20)
50 rue d’Abouki, 75002 – see map here
Bilingual British comedian Paul Taylor, first famous for his stand-up and now his show on Canal+ “WTF France?!” (NSFW), is back at stand-up again at Sentier des Halles with his show, #Franglais. Billed as “50% in French et 50% en Anglais”, this ex-Apple employee will be lovingly roasting the French (specifically Parisians). Perfect for getting out some of that I’ve-been-here-a-while-and-I-still-don’t-understand-this-city frustration. Buy tickets here.
10. Livre Paris (March 24-27)
1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 – see map here
From March 24th-27th, the Paris Expo Port de Versailles becomes a book lover’s paradise. The Livre Paris book fair hosts over 800 events and activities, more than 3,000 authors, publishers from over 50 countries, and all the books you’ve ever dreamed of. The fair is open to the public from 1:00pm on. In pursuit of knowledge, entrance is free for under 18s and teachers. Buy tickets here. (Note: you must print your ticket. No digital tickets accepted.)