The crowds are smaller, the days are shorter and the weather’s chillier – it’s time to get out your umbrella and enjoy Paris in the fall. Here are five events you may want to check out in the next few months.
1. Nuit Blanche. October 3
Taking place at the beginning of October every year, the “White Night” keeps much of the city open all night. It’s a chance to explore the city in an entirely unique way. Location-specific art installations, as well as musical performances, feature in various parts of the city, and pop-up restaurants, bars and food trucks help you get through the night.
While this is the perfect night to wander around Paris aimlessly (though keep in mind that most of the night’s entertainment takes place north of the river), doing a bit of planning ahead of time may prove useful as it will allow you to avoid covering great distances without seeing much of anything. Some of the installations are tucked away in dark corners, which the uninformed eye may well overlook. Check out the event’s website to get an idea of what you’d like to see.
2. Vendanges de Montmartre. October 7 through 10
Paris isn’t exactly known as one of the great wine regions of France anymore, though it certainly produced a large amount of wine a long time ago, but it does still benefit from a few vine-covered slopes within the city limits. One of these can be found in Montmartre, where every year a harvest festival is held, which can be a lot of fun, perhaps less because of the quality of the wine (though it’s certainly not terrible!), but more because of the fun atmosphere and entertainment. Fireworks, food stands, and plenty of wine make for a good time. The details can be found on the festival’s website.
3. International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) – October 22 through 25
Even if you’re not loaded and can’t afford to buy any of the art on show here, the sheer scale and energy of this event should be enough to draw your interest. While the actual fair in the magnificent Grand Palais is pricey (40 Euro; half price if you’re under 26), there is plenty of free stuff to see all around town, including in the Tuileries, Place Vendôme and the Jardin des Plantes. Especially interesting if you’re a fan of contemporary art, but also worth checking out if you happen to be in town and want to see the new clash with the old in the center of Paris. See the website for more information.
4. Pitchfork. October 29 through 31
In recent years, Paris has transformed into a town of music festivals. The summer is when most of these take place, offering something for everyone, but there are still a couple of very good ones to be found in the colder months. Pitchfork is perhaps the best of these. An offshoot of the online magazine’s Chicago festival, it features some brilliant indie acts in the middle of the Parc de la Villette (Porte de Pantin on Metro Line 5), where a large music venue (Grande Halle de la Villette) allows one to enjoy all the artists no matter what the weather. Admittedly, at 120 Euro for the whole three days, it’s not cheap, though no more expensive than your usual festival, and the 54 Euro day tickets offer the possibility to enjoy the day of your choice, without having to spring for the whole festival. This year’s acts include Thom Yorke, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Hinds, Ariel Pink and Spiritualized among many others. For a full list of this year’s artists, check out the website.
5. Salon du chocolat – October 28 through November 1
If you’ve got a bit of sweet tooth or if you’re simply looking for an excursion of the more unusual kind, head over to the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles (Metro Line 12), which hosts a yearly fair dedicated to all things chocolate (14 Euro or 6.50 Euro for under-12s). Over 200 chocolatiers present their best products here and you’ll be able to taste some of the best chocolate in the world. This year also features a chocolate art competition, where you can view some incredible chocolate sculptures. For more information, check out the event’s website.