Newsletter Archives

March 2000 - Summer Sizzles in Paris

For those who love street festivals, summer is a grand time to visit the French capital. Three events occurring annually between mid-June and mid-July come highly recommended, and make a trip to Paris worth considering.

La Fête de la Musique (the Music Festival) is held on June 21st every year, and celebrates the official beginning of summer. Created in 1982, it became a major French cultural event in only a few years. All genres of music are represented throughout the city, from chamber music to zouk to rap. Amateurs as well as professionals can be found on street corners, in city gardens and on church porticos. The Fête will have a special feature this year– the beltway surrounding Paris will be transformed into a giant stage, with floats animated by performers from all walks of life. The festival is free, and is the party of the year for Paris residents and their suburban neighbors.

Paris also hosts a Gay Pride parade, held on a Saturday in June. This has been a tradition since 1977. The week prior to the parade, several events celebrating gay and lesbian pride are held throughout the city. Concerts, art exhibitions, film festivals and receptions are sponsored by various organizations supporting the community. On Saturday, thousands of people dressed in colorful costumes fill the streets, and floats with musical groups and political activists make their way through the crowds, spreading their messages with passion and enthusiasm. This year’s parade is to be held on June 24th. For merrymaking at its best, it is an event not to be missed!

Finally, the balls preceding Bastille Day (July 14th - the equivalent of July 4th in America) are yet another excuse for reveling in the streets and along the Seine. These are held on the evening of July 13th. Many feature traditional French music, with accordions conjuring up memories of the café-concerts and guinguettes of old. But other kinds of music are played or performed as well. Perhaps the most popular of the dances held on this evening is the one on the quai de la Tournelle next to the river. It lasts until dawn, and is free to all. Balls are held at place de la Bastille, at firehouses and other various venues throughout the city.

Paris Panorama Newsletters for 2000