By Liz Webber–
The start of 2010 is just around the corner, and for Cheapos lucky enough to be in Paris for New Year’s Eve, that means an all-night party on the Champs Elysées and fireworks galore. But the festivities won’t stop there! Paris hosts festivals and events all year long that combine culture and merriment.
Here are a few of Paris’ annual events that are not to be missed:
La Nuit des Musées – May 15, 2010
One Sunday each spring, the museums of Paris (and the rest of the EU) stay open until 1 AM – and entrance is free! Marvel at Mona at night, ride up the escalators at the Pompidou Center for views of the city, or take the opportunity to discover a museum you’ve never visited before.
Fête de la Musique – June 21, 2010
Always a Cheapo favorite, this yearly festival showcases musicians of all genres, ages, and abilities with free performances in every corner of the city. Just in the Marais, you might find a street-thumping DJ dance party, a gay mens’ choir, and a band of thirteen-year-old rockers. Check out the program in advance to find where the big names will be, or just wander the streets until you find a beat you like!
Bastille Day – July 14, 2010
The French don’t actually call their national holiday “Bastille Day”; to them it is simply “Quatorze Juillet” (Fourteenth of July). Each year, the day is commemorated with a military parade down the Champs Elysées in the morning (arrive super early for a good viewing spot) and fireworks over the Eiffel Tower in the evening.
Any Metro stop anywhere remotely near the Champs de Mars or Trocadero will be closed prior to, during, and after the fireworks display for crowd control purposes, so either be prepared for a long walk home or stay clear of the pandemonium.
Journées Européenes du Patriomoine – September 2010
During “European Heritage Days”- celebrated around the country and across the continent – buildings normally closed to the public throw open their doors and cultural institutions hold special programs to promote France’s history and culture. Worth a visit is the Elysée Palace (France’s equivalent of the White House), but get there early to avoid hours-long lines.
Nuit Blanche – October 2010
This all-night event brings contemporary art to the streets with exhibits, videos, and performances all around the city. The mayor’s office puts together suggested routes for different neighborhoods if you need a bit of guidance. On this night especially, watch out for drunken teenagers looking to cause some trouble.
Keep in mind
Just because an event lasts all night doesn’t mean the Metros will be running all night! Some lines will be open into the wee hours, but make sure you know which lines those are, so you don’t end up walking back to your hotel from across the city at 4 AM.