Top Festivals in Paris
Besides being home to major attractions like the Iron Lady and the Louvre, Paris hosts some incredible annual festivals which draw eager crowds by the millions. Whether you prefer dancing all night to the world’s coolest DJ’s or learning about the history of French wine making, there is a Parisian festival out there for you! Here’s my guide to the top festivals in Paris.
Solidays Music Festival in Paris
First up on my guide to the top festivals in Paris is Solidays! Held at the Longchamp Racecourse on the outskirts of Paris, Solidays is a three-day music festival. And one of the city’s biggest annual events.
The name Solidays refers to the festivals biggest motive, which is solidarity and raising money for AIDS research. Since it started out in 1999, Solidays has been one of the top festivals in Paris, drawing an more than 200,000 people every year!
There are artists performing from nearly every musical genre, from big names to up-and-coming garage bands. Past headliners include M83, Macklemore, Flume, Nekfeu, Cypress Hill and even David Guetta. In recent years, organizers have also added workshops, talks and expositions to the program! And if you want a real festival experience, try camping there for the weekend (available only to weekend pass holders).
solidays – 2 Route des Tribunes, 75016 Paris
metro station: porte d’auteuil
dates: June 19th – 21st 2020
ticket prices: €39 – €89
Montmartre Wine Festival in Paris
My guide to the top festivals in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a classic French festival. This one is full of history and culture, not to mention some delicious local wine and cuisine. Plus, it only seems fitting that Paris would host its own wine festival, or as locals say, the fête des vendanges.
This festival takes place over four days during late Autumn in the Montmartre neighborhood, where local vineyards still produce their own wine. The fête des vendanges started out in 1934 as a neighborhood get together for the residents of Montmartre, to celebrate the annual wine harvest. Nowadays, production is much smaller, but the vineyards sill produce around 1,000 bottles annually.
Over the years, the festival has evolved beyond food and wine merchants to include various organized events and performances all over the 18th district. Attendees can participate in unique activities like a fluorescent night run, or a community picnic. Overall, the festival is quite low key, but does draw large crowds (over 500,000 people attend each year) from all over the country. And despite originally being centered around wine, the festival is very family friendly, with plenty of activities especially for children!
The 2020 rendition is even going to have a music festival, the Decibels Vendanges with four days of various pop, rock, blues, folk, and classical music shows all over Montmartre! And the best part? It’s completely free to attend!
fête des vendanges – butte montmartre, 75018 paris
metro station: abbesses, lamarck-cualaincourt or anvers
dates: 9th – 12th October 2020
Techno Parade Festival in Paris
If you’re into electronic music, attending the Techno Parade festival is a rite of passage in the Paris music scene. This is one of the more unique festivals in my guide to the top festivals in Paris, and is actually an enormous one-day parade in the center of Paris.
Imagine a parade of floats, but instead of city officials and organizations, each float has a DJ booth blasting music. Add a lively crowd of 350,000 people dancing their way across Paris to the rhythm of underground electro, and you’ve got Techno Parade.
The parade snakes its way through Paris city center, passing by riverbanks and monuments like the Louvre, Hôtel de Ville and Bastille. As you can imagine, the energy here is pretty incredible, and it’s completely free to participate. The parade takes place during the last week of September, so the weather is usually mild, perfect for an outdoor music festival!
techno parade – paris 75, france (precise route can be found online closer to the date)
date: late september 2020
free to participate
Rock en Seine Music Festival Paris
Held annually in the beautiful and expansive Parc de Saint-Cloud, Rock en Seine is easily one of the top festivals in Paris. And one of the city’s most famous! The raucous music festival has been around since 2003 and encompasses a true festival environment on the edge of Paris. Concerts, comedians, performances, vendors and immense campsites are all part of the weekend program which draws around 50,000 festival-goers daily.
Rock en Seine is usually held in late August, when the Parisian weather is at its hottest. There are several different stages, focusing on various genres of music, so there’s a little something for everyone. Though this year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, the festival usually attracts big names. In previous years, artists like Lana del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, Paul Kalkbrenner, The Cure, and The XX have all headlined.
rock en seine – parc de saint-cloud, domaine de saint-cloud, france
metro station: porte de saint-cloud
dates: friday august 21st – sunday august 23rd, 2020
ticket prices: daily from €49 weekend passes starting at €149
Paris Photo Art Festival
Any photographers out there? This one is for you! Last but not least in my guide to the top festivals in Paris is Paris Photo. Held under the enormous glass dome of the Grand Palais, Paris Photo is the largest international art fair in the world! The focus is on photography in all of its forms, and the setting is pretty impressive as well. The light filters through the glass ceiling, perfectly highlighting the artworks displayed below.
Paris Photo has been around since 1997, and continues to gain momentum every year. During a weekend in mid-November, the 72,000 – meter Grand Palais is transformed into the world’s biggest photo exposition. There are over 200 exhibitors from all over the world, photographers, galleries, publicists. From new-age to ancient selenium prints; from escapist surrealism to some of the rawest street photography, there’s quite the array. Wandering through the immense space is like visiting several museums in one, and takes days to see everything.
paris photo – 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
metro station: champs-élysées clemenceau
dates: 7th november – 9th november 2020
ticket prices: full day €30
full weekend €32
reduced fare €15
Well, that just about rounds up my guide to the top festivals in Paris, I hope you will enjoy these Parisian festivals.
And hope to see you soon in Paris!