11 Things to Do in Paris This May

Photo: Jenny Hughes for Frenchly

1. Nuit des Musées (May 18)

In an effort to make culture available to all people, Europe holds the annual Nuit des Musées, an evening of free admission to cultural institutions until midnight. One thousand eight hundred museums in France participated in 2018. This year in Paris, the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, l’hôtel de Soubise, the Musée des arts décoratifs and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, to name just a few of the participating museums, will be offering free visits and tours. Note that not every museum stays open until midnight, so plan according to the hours listed by each location on the website. See all the events happening in Paris here.

2. Taste of Paris (May 9 – 12)

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In the Grand Palaisgourmand(e)s will find their paradise at the Taste of Paris expo. One hundred stalls in the Gourmet Market offer products for sampling and buying, classes teach you how to become a master cook, and chefs host cooking demonstrations. The basic adult ticket is 20€ (buy here). — Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 

3. Roland Garros (May 20 – June 9)

Kicking off the Grand Slam tournament season is France’s Roland Garros, also known as the French Open. From May 20 to June 9, the world’s most elite tennis players will face each other on the stadium’s notoriously difficult clay courts. The seeding hasn’t yet been announced (it’ll be posted here), but Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and last year’s winner Simona Halep are all almost certain to be there. Tickets are already available for purchase here. — Stade Roland Garros, 2 Avenue Gordon Bennett, 75016

4. Love Run Festival (May 12)

You don’t have to be a serious runner to enjoy Love Run Festival on May 12, all you need is a partner. In this easy 6k (3.7 miles), you and your partner are attached at the wrist. It’s all done in good fun: there’s a DJ set playing during the race, a yoga class, group warm-ups, a salsa class, prizes for the best couple costumes, a shorter race for kids (also done in pairs), and a concert. Sign up here— Bois de Boulogne, Pelouse de Saint Cloud, 75016

5. Tous à l’opéra (May 3 – 5)

Tous à l’opéra aims to open up the world of opera to everyone. Twenty-six operas will be participating in France, hosting free tours, exhibitions and performances, from May 3 to 5. L’Opera national de Paris will be offering free visits to its costume atelier at the Palais Garnier and to the backstage area at Opera Bastille (learn more here). The Opéra Comique is offering handicap-friendly visits along with a smattering of other ateliers and tours (learn more here). Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s Richelieu site will host an exhibit about costumes, drawings, and photographs of opera over the years (learn more here).

6. Dominique Ansel x Yann Couvreur Pop-up (May 17 – 19) 

French chef Dominique Ansel, best known for creating the Cronut, will be bringing his iconic pastries to Paris for the very first time at a pop-up with Yann Couvreur in Le Marais. From May 17 to 19, Ansel’s famous creations, including the Cookie Shot and Frozen S’mores, will be on sale in Yann Couvreur Patisserie. He’ll be debuting a new pastry, the Pretzel, a cake inspired by New York’s soft pretzels, with pretzel, peanut butter, and caramel flavors.  — Yann Couvreur Pâtisserie, 23 bis rue des Rosiers, Paris

7. “Romantic Paris, 1815-1845” Exhibit (May 22 – September 15)

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👀🗓‪À partir du 22 mai prochain, plongez dans le bouillonnement artistique, culturel et politique de la période romantique ! Et découvrez notre exposition-événement « Paris romantique, 1815-1848 » évoquant l’une des grandes périodes fondatrices de l’identité de Paris, de la chute de Napoléon I à la révolution de 1848 !‬ Immersif, le parcours vous invitera à une promenade dans la capitale à la redécouverte de quartiers emblématiques de l’époque : Tuileries, Palais Royal,  Grands boulevards, Nouvelle Athènes… ‪L’exposition est organisée avec le concours exceptionnel du @museedelavieromantique du @museecarnavalet et du @madparis ‪#Parisromantique #petitpalais #exposition #exhibition #musée #museum #beauxarts #paris

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Love is the only romantic thing Paris has. At Le Petit Palais, from May 22 to September 15, the “Romantic Paris, 1815 to 1845” exhibit will present Paris during “the Romantic years” between the fall of Napoleon and the Revolution. Six hundred works will be on display, including paintings, sculptures, costumes, and objects, set up so visitors move through the mythical parts of Paris like the Palais-Royale, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Tuileries gardens like on a tour. Full-price tickets (buy here) are 13€. As always, it is recommended to buy tickets in advance to skip the line. — Le Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France

8. Mondial de la bière (May 17 – 19)

Craft beer enthusiasts are in luck. At the Mondial de la bière, from May 17 to 19, over 500 craft beers by 80 brewers will be available for sampling through tastings and masterclasses. There will be awards for the best beers, demonstrations, meet and greets with brewers, and live music every night. Because you can’t (re: shouldn’t) drink on an empty stomach, Paris’s best street food will be for sale. Tickets are 12€, which includes a beer tasting glass and entry to demonstrations (get tickets here). — Parc floral de Paris, Route de la Pyramide, 75012

9. Festival Jazz in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (May 16 – 27)

Saint-Germain-des-Prés will pay homage to its long relationship with jazz at the annual Festival Jazz, from May 16 to 27. The festival kicks off with a free jazz performance by Jeff Loiselet on May 17, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., on Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The 11-day festival will feature concerts, talks, and classes for students in performance venues, cafés, and public squares. See the full program here and buy tickets here.

10. L’Avocatier (opens May 20)

With great anticipation, bobo Parisians have been awaiting the opening L’avocatier, the avocado toast themed restaurant. We already know the concept works well: the two founders, whose creations were inspired by a trip to California, biked all over Paris last year selling their avocado toasts to great fanfare. Besides the avocado base (made with one whole avocado), the toppings are creative: tomatoes, spices, balls of mozzerella, salmon, cream cheese, and truffle oil with balsamic vinegar, to name a few. — 31 rue de Châteaudun, 75009

11. New Ikea Paris La Madeleine (opens May 6)

Honestly, who doesn’t love Ikea? Across from La Madeleline, Paris’s first Ikea inside the city will open on May 6 and Parisians cannot wait to get their hands on some Swedish meatballs. In 5,000 m2, this Ikea is smaller than the usual 20,000 m2 store. Thus, only 4,100 products will be on site, 1,500 of which can be bought immediately (all items can be ordered and delivered to your apartment). Head to the store to get your hands on an exclusive collection for Ikea Paris by Sarah Andelman, cofounder of Colette, and Craig Redman, Australian illustrator, and attend workshops on repairing furniture, yoga, cooking, and eco-responsibility. — 23 boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001