Paris Attractions: What to See and Do in Spring

photo by Thorn

by The Daily Telegraph, February 18, 2016

Parks and Gardens

Gardens and Park of the Château at Versailles
About 30 minutes from Paris by train, the gardens of the renowned chateau are as much reason to visit as the palace itself, stretching from formal designs by André Le Nôtre to the rustic “Hameau de la Reine” – Marie Antoinette’s retreat. Time your visit to see the “Eaux Musicales” fountain displays on Saturdays and Sundays from March 28 to November 1;

The Hameau de la Reine was Marie-Antoinette's retreat at Versailles. Photo: AP

Events and Festivals

Le Salon du Livre/ Paris Book Fair – March 20- 23
This event sees over 35,000 professionals, 1,200 publishers and 2,000 authors from 50 countries offering meetings and book signings.

Read more: Paris city break guide

Paris Marathon – April 12
2015 is the 39th time the Paris Marathon has been held. It’s known as one of the world’s most scenic city runs: the route starts on the Champs Elysées, before passing the Louvre and following the river Seine;

Hotel pick: Le Meurice is a grand, yet not stuffy hotel offering huge suites, excellent service and good food.

Runners in the Paris Marathon pass alongside the Seine. Photo: Getty

La Nuit Européenne des Musées – May 16
Over 1,200 museums take part in this event, which sees them extend their opening hours for special activities and to allow the public to see the collections after dark. Many are free to the public. At the Musee Carnavalet – the museum of the history of Paris – visitors will be greeted by “Napoleon”.

Roland- Garros tournament – May 19-June 7
One of the world’s Grand Slam championships returns. Will Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova maintain their titles on clay?

Read more: the best hotels in Paris

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival – May 21-June 1
Each year, dozens of performers from around the world flock to the streets of the chi-chi 6th arrondissement for a series of concerts. This year’s festival will take place across 18 different venues, with acts including Lisa Simone, Agathe Iracema and Kyle Eastwood.

Hotel pick: The Relais Christine offers an upmarket location in the 6th, good service and a spa.

Read more: the best hotels in Paris

The air is crisp and the streets not overcrowded in Paris in spring.


The Tudors at Musée du Luxembourg – until July 19
This side of the Channel, Wolf Hall has reignited fascination with the Tudors. France has never exhibited painting of those who ruled England between 1485 and 1603, so this is a first at the Musée du Luxembourg. Run in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery. Admission: €12;

Hotel pick: The Hôtel Michelet Odéon has a beautiful location, tasteful surroundings and excellent value.

Bruce Nauman at the Fondation Cartier until June 21
A major show of the cult contemporary artist including several never-seen-before pieces, with installations, videos and sound works in the glass gallery, underground spaces and gardens of the Fondation Cartier;

Velazquez at the Grand Palais, March 25-July 13
A rare gathering of works by the 17th-century Spanish master is set to be this year's blockbuster exhibition. Portraits of the monarchy, the pope, mythological paintings and less-known landscapes and tavern scenes shown alongside other masters from the Golden Age of Spain. Admission: €13

PAD Paris, March 26-29
The international decorative arts fair, in a marquee in the Tuileries Gardens, puts the emphasis on classic 20th-century modern design of Prouvé, Perriand, Mategot et al, and contemporary creations;

Jean-Paul Gaultier at the Grand Palais, April 1-August 3
Multimedia retrospective and new items by of one of France's most radical fashion creators. His designs often touch the boundaries of art (Pierre et Gilles) and music (Madonna). Admission: €13

Keys to a Passion at the Fondation Vuitton, April 1-July 6
The Fondation Vuitton's first major exhibition gathers key works — including Matisse's The Danse, Munch's The Cry, Monet's Waterlilies and paintings by Rothko, Mondrian and Malevich – that mark key turning points in the foundation of modern art. Admission: €14

Read more: the best Paris attractions

The Grand Palais is host to some high profile exhibitions this spring. Photo: AP

Grand Marché d'Art Contemporain 2015 at Place de la Bastille – April 30-May 4
Browse and purchase paintings, ceramics and sculptures as 500 exhibitors from all over France gather on Place de La Bastille Square for La Bastille Modern Art Fair. Admission: €10;

Les Cahiers dessinés: l'art du dessin at Halle Saint-Pierre – until August 14
To mark its 10th anniversary, the publishing house Les Cahiers dessinés is holding an exhibition showcasing 500 works of 67 artists. The works have the theme of drawing in all its forms, and included are works from numerous regions of the world and periods of history. Admission: €8;

American Icons: Masterworks from SFMOMA and the Fisher Collection at the Grand Palais – April 8-June 22
This exhibition presents 60 works from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, including pieces by well known artists such as Roy Lichtenstein. Andy Warhol’s Liz #6 also makes an appearance. Admission: €12;

Jeff Koons at the Centre Pompidou – until April 27
This exhibition showcases 35 years of Koons’s controversial work, including pieces such as Balloon Dog, and Michael Jackson and Bubbles, allowing visitors to form their own opinions on his oeuvre. Admission: €13

Read more: the best Paris restaurants

Hervé Télémaque at the Centre Pompidou – until May 18
An exhibition of the work of Hervé Télémaque, an artist with Haitian origins whose work developed from abstract expressionism to showing surrealist influences. Admission: €13;

Hotel pick: The Seven Hôtel has themed suites, a cocktail bar and a fun atmosphere.

See Jeff Koons's work at the Centre Pompidou. Photo: AP

Georges Noël, La traversée des signes at the Musée d’Art Moderne – until May 3
This exhibition acts as a tribute to a French artist whose work did not receive the exposure it deserved. Linked to the avant-gardists, he worked with a variety of media including sand and paint, reworking the concept of the palimpsest. Admission: free.

Hotel pick: The Shangri-La is a hotel offering Michelin starred restaurants, a health club and classical suites.

La Passion Selon Carol Rama at the Musée d’Art Moderne – April 3 – July 12.
A display of work by the Italian artist Carol Rama, the Italian artist whose work explores a range of themes, from madness to pleasure . Admission: €7;

Explore our wide range of a luxury city breaks and escorted tours in Paris and the rest of France with the Telegraph Travel Collection.

Additional research by Alexandra Love. This article was originally published on April 15 2013 and was updated in full on March 19, 2015

The Best Hotels In Paris View All

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  • Mandarin Oriental, Paris Paris, FranceTelegraph expert rating8

    Flanked by designer boutiques on rue Saint-Honoré is Paris' Mandarin Oriental, a bastion of elegance. Plush rooms are designed for lingering; the white-wash restaurant, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, designed for special occasions. It holds three Michelin stars. Read expert review

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