Who has never listened to the song written by Cole Porter back in 1953, and performed by the greatest artists? Ella Fitzgerald of course, but also Franck Sinatra & Maurice Chevalier in the film Can-Can (1960) All about the Four Seasons in Paris …
So let me tell you why …
I Love Paris …
… in the Spring Time
If Paris is the city of romance, Spring is it’s season, and, as soon as the month of March is over, it’s the flowers which evoke this marvelous season of rebirth and regeneration. What could be prettier than the tree branches, covered with pink blossoms. But one of the grandest sign of Spring’s return is the opening, on April 1st of Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny
Then comes the Paris Marathon, with tens of thousands of participants traversing the city, with throngs of enthusiastic spectators looking on.
Spring is also the time of some of the most beautiful expositions, from the Grand Palais to the Musée d’Orsay, or at the Luxembourg Gardens. Paris is always a little chilly, but a tender green covers the tree branches of the avenue George V.
May 1st, Labor Day, symbolizes the return of sunny days, and the symbolic giving of flowers (Lilly of the Valley) on this day reinforces this tradition. This day is also an excellent excuse to leave the city, as, it being a national holiday, most commerce are closed!
As Paris brightens up, Mai sees the action move towards the Cote d’Azur for the Grand Prix of Monaco, and especially for the Cannes Film Festival, but the stars never miss an opportunity to spend a little time in
the City of Lights, and especially at the George V.
May is also the the time of the Night of the Museums , when in all of France and especially Paris, one may see the great houses of culture in a new light.
The end of May sees the coming of the Roland Garros tennis championship, where the best of the best challenge each other in matches watched over by eager fans of all stripes.
The month of June sees the great horse race championships at Chantilly, the Prix de Diane and the Prix de
Jockey Club, and every two years Paris catches aeronautic fever for the Air and Space Show at Le Bourget, probably the most important trade show of the year. Le Mans, the legendary car race takes place three hours away from Paris.
Flowers are omnipresent again, as at the extraordinary Bagatelle rose garden, the new rose of the year, surrounded by “Pierre de Ronsard”, “Cuisse de Nymphe Emue” or “Parfum de l’Haÿ”, is chosen.
Spring will soon yield to Summer and the Fête de La Musique on June 21st marks the
time when we say farewell to Spring and greet Summer.
… in the Fall
Autumn starts on September 21 but often, the Summer lasts a few more weeks and on the third week-end of September comes the “Heritage Days” (called “Journées du Patrimoine”), when Paris opens its finest monuments, public and private buildings, when you can visit the city hall, the senate or even the presidential palace.
The calm and the warmth of the summer has faded and Paris is full of amber light. The leaves begin to fall as the Spring/Summer fashion for the next year arrives. The evening of the “Nuit Blanche” on the first week-end of October enables you to visit contemporary art installations and musical events cover the capital. One of the most important contemporary art events, the FIAC presents some of the most innovative and well-known creative talent in the world.
For the foodies, Autumn is one of the most important seasons, with mushrooms, games and other specialties, as well as the wine harvest of Paris’ only vineyard in Montmartre. In the first weekend of October, the “Commanderie de la Clos Montmartre” puts up for auction its previous years’ crops, and on the third Thursday of November , the Beaujolais Nouveau arrives, and is tasted in a number of festive events in the capital.
In the first week of October is the “Mondial de l’Automobile” one of the most important car shows of the year, as well as the “Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe”, the biggest horse race in the world, which names the best thoroughbred of the year at the Longchamp racecourse.
Soon, one may stroll the streets of Paris, see Christmas lights and illuminations, and from mid-November, see the illuminations of the avenue des Champs-Elysées, which is lit for two months. And at the end of November, beginning of December is Paris’ most exciting gastronomic event, La Semaine du Fooding, where a number of events take place featuring some of the world’s most interesting chefs, offering their cuisine to the general public.
… in the Winter when it drizzles
Paris has a festive soul for Christmas and the New Year, with lights adorning the main areas of town, and the display cases of the Grands Magasins, and restaurants preparing special traditional holiday menus, with seasonal produce. Be sure and book early for the better establishments!
After the New Year, normally during the first week of January, start the official sales, where some of the best luxury clothing in the world comes with a discount of up to 70% ! The sales last about six weeks while, at the end of January is the Spring/Summer haute couture collection (www.modeaparis.com).
For sports fans, one of the greatest races of the years, the Prix d’Amerique takes place on the last Sunday of January.
Then comes February and Valentine’s Day … and we shall be more than happy to help you plan this very special moment. In Paris, Valentine is all around, isn’t it?
In the months of February and March Paris will vibrate with the rugby vibe with the Six Nations Tournament, and matches taking place in six countries (England, Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The last week of February will also feature the Salon de l’Agriculture, the largest and most important agricultural show in France, with more than one thousand stands. During the second week of February there is also the Retromobile car show, for lovers of unique and vintage vehicles of all types.
March gets really busy and the major event is with no doubt the presentation of the Prêt-à-porter collections with its lot of defiles which are unfortunately strictly reserved to professionals.
… in the Summer when it sizzles
The Fete de la Musique (Paris Music Festival) welcomes Summer and the longest day of the year, because, in Paris, it’s still light after 10h00 pm and the evenings are enjoyable as can be. The café terraces and restaurants are full, there is animation in the streets and parks. In the first days of Summer, the Gay Pride parade crosses the capital.
While the summer sales run, Haute Couture is also the event of the the season, beginning in early July, presenting the Autumn/Winter season to come. The beginning of July is also the start of the legendary Tour de France, the greatest and grandest bicycle race in the world.
Already the Parisian life is troubled by the trial runs for the national holiday, which comes with the sound of marching feet, and starts with the popular public balls in the streets on July 13th, followed by a superb military parade on the Champs Elysees on July 14th and a spectacular fireworks display, normally from near the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadéro or the Champ de Mars.
July 14th also sees the end of the national opera season, as well as performances in a number of theatres and concert halls, but the music still plays on elsewhere, especially the Sainte-Chapelle and Saint-Julien le Pauvre churches.
After July 15th , it’s time for Paris Plage and the quays of the Seine, normally highway underpasses, transform into a beach for one month , and from the Tuileries gardens to the Pont de Sully an enormous sandy playground, complete with volley ball pitches and other games , invites Parisians to forget city life.
Since 1975, the last stage of the Tour de France takes place on the Champs-Elysées, on the last Sunday of July.
August is relatively calm, under the hot summer sun, untroubled by two holidays, on the fifteenth, Assumption, and on the 25th, the anniversary of the liberation of Paris in 1944.
At the end of August, quite a lot of movie stars come to town, on their way to the American Film
Festival in Deauville. But Summer is always too short, and September announces the return to normal life, the end of vacation, and the return of the Opera season.
The Paris Antiques Show, “Biennale des Antiquaires”, as its name indicated, happens once every two years (even years) in the magnificent Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, and as it finishes, Fall makes its way to the City of Light.