Take a Spring Leap into Paris
Blue skies, vivid colours, blossoming trees and general joie de vivre!. There are so many good reasons why songs and movies have been made about how glorious Paris is in the Springtime. MLP brings you over 40 ways to enjoy this beautiful season in Paris with the family. We’ll start with ongoing events that you should make a priority, then we’ve added some of the highlights for each month from March until May. Enjoy and have a wonderful Spring in Paris.
Remember that game that was all the rage back in the eighties? Well, an artist became inspired by it and devised mosaic style creations, based on the computer game that engaged youth culture way back when. Now his artwork is being displayed at the Musée en Herbe until September 3rd. It’s called Hello my game is…
Musée en Herbe, 23 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001 Paris, 10 am – 7 pm every day, Thursday open until 9 pm
It’s quite a drive outta the city but MLP is obliged to inform you that the zoo at Thiory Park has reopened November 11. They’ve launched a new season with nouveau species to discover; including Spotted Hyenas, Vicunas (have to Wiki that one!) The Scimitar Oryx and The Asiatic Dog.
Park Thiory, Château de Thoiry, Rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, 78770 Thoiry
Get up close and personal with chaos theory, the law of probabilities, statistics and chance with this interactive installation at the Palais Decouverte. Challenge yourself and the kids with different options provided in the form of games and random experiments, designed to focus the mind and unravel the intuitive tools used by mathematicians. Until August 2017!
Palais Decouverte, 2 Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, From 9:30 am until 6 pm Tuesday to Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 7 pm
Free Cooking classes in Paris
Twice a month, from March 24 to December 10, chefs will reveal all the tricks to make a success of your dishes. Learn how to choose the ingredients and recreate some fabulous French dishes at home. The Mayors office had devised a recipe of cooking creativity for the citizens and /or visitors to the city over 18 dates between now and the end of the year. Taking place at markets throughout the city these are the dates and themes that matter throughout the Spring in Paris.
- 24, 25 March: My grandmother’s kitchen
- 26 March: Anti-waste
- 7, 9 April: Easter
- 26, 27, 28 May: OJ 2024
To take part in any of the cooking courses you have to register online. There will be 8 people in each session which lasting 45 minutes. If you are interested sign up now and if you want to know the dates later in the year – here they are.
- 2, 3 June: World Cuisine
- 1, 3 September: Tapas
- 13, 14, 15 October: Week of the taste
- 8, 9, 10 December: Christmas
Middle Ages at the Cité des Sciences
Castles under siege, knights and princesses, plagues and famines. That’s what usually comes to mind when we think about the Middle Ages. The Cite des Sciences, one of our favourite family destinations, will let youngsters find out for themselves and this looks like a fantastic exhibition. As you would expect from this venue, there are also some great workshops planned. Until August 6.
Take your budding artists to the Petite Galerie at the Louvre. The arts and culture education section of the Louvre is celebrating its second season by inviting young visitors and their parents to look at representations of moving bodies in 70 artworks at an exhibition titled Corps en Mouvement (until July 3).
Kids movies at the Cinematheque Francaise
There is a terrific season of films for kids at the Cinematheque Francaise on rue de Bercy in the 12th district. ET, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wallace and Gromit and many more classics. From March 29 until July 31st.
Disney’s 25th Anniversary
Disneyland Paris is getting sparkly for their 25th anniversary! Celebrations start March 26 and include a fabulous new illuminations show. The kids love Disney and it has to be done once in a while. But as always, we caution you to pick up the fast passes to avoid queues and consider taking some of your own food in, as the choices inside the park are fairly dreadful and overpriced.
International Women’s Day
To celebrate International Women’s Day there are many events happening around Paris. Most notable is the Carnival of Women taking place on Sunday, March 26th, parading throughout the Marais district from 1pm until 6pm. Le Carnaval des Femmes plays host to 5,000 people.
Alternatively, If you want to get more ‘actively’ involved, in the overall event then, you could participate in the Run for Equality initiative. A 4km run starting at 10:15 at Parc de la Villette. The run is in support of women’s rights and anti-violence towards women. Registration opens at 9:15 on Sunday, March 6th
Under the Palaver Tree
An African rhythmic journey to Burkina Faso, thanks to an astounding griot-musician called Amadou Sanfo
“Under the Palaver tree purports that everything is said, everything knows and everything can be heard. People make choices, achieve happiness and suffer misfortune. This is the wisdom that will make us grow. Experience the beating heart of the village …”
Signing sessions at the end of each show. Sundays, Marc 19 at 3pm. An hour long for children aged 6 and over.
Museum Dapper, 35 bis, rue Paul Valery, 75016 PARIS
Mega Fun Fair
Foire du Throne returns to Paris from March 31 until May 28. 60 days of fun and games which draws in 3 million annual visitors a year! It’s a real cultural event in the city and appeals to all ages. Brilliant family fun with every ride you can imagine, at Pelouse de Reuilly Paris 12.
Alicia Koplowitz collection at Musee Jacquemart-Andre
After the stunning success of the Modern Icons exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, there is a chance to see the cream of another private collection, this time that of Spanish businesswoman Alicia Koplowitz. Piccasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Rothko to name just a few of the artists that feature. It starts 3 March at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre and runs until 10 July. Build in time to stroll around the other rooms of this stunning museum and don’t forget you are quite close to the lovely Parc Monceau for carousel rides, swings and a walk afterwards.
Jardins exhibition at the Grand Palais
This exhibition just screams Spring as the Grand Palais hosts garden-inspired art from Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, and Magritte. It looks as though they have some great family tours combined with a workshop activity that could be worth booking. From March 15 until July 24th.
Printemps du Cinema
For the 17th year and for three consecutive days we can all see movies for just €4 across Paris. Look out for the selected cinemas and make sure you and your family benefit for this once a year cinema discount opportunity. March 19 til March 21
The tickets go on sale March 22. Get an alert onto your phones now. This is such a great event and there is a real opportunity to get tickets to this glorious French Open, so don’t miss out. Children’s day is fabulous but try to get to see some major games on Centre Court too.
Saut Hermes – March horse event at Grand Palais
The Grand Palais is hosting the annual horse extravaganza March 17-19. The Saut Hermes sees international show-jumping right in the heart of the city. It’s a great event for the pony-mad little people in your life and even if you just happen to be near Champs Elysées, just wander over for a peek at the horses in their boxes waiting to compete.
The Paris Art Fair
Showcasing some of the world’s greatest talents including emerging young artists, The Grand Palais will be exhibiting hundreds of beautiful works of art, with many works of Art inspired by Africa this year. More than 80 artists will display their etchings, to the 50,000 plus people expected to attend this annual Paris Art event. Commencing March 30th and lasting for 3 days. Free for under 10’s.
Holi at the Jardin d’Acclimatation
Holi is one of the most celebrated events in the Indian calendar and this year Jardin d’Acclimataion is celebrating India by paying homage to it on Sunday 19 March. The Holi is a colourful festival celebrating the end of Winter and is attended by millions of people in Asia. Here in Paris, there is a show called Colours of Time which will bring Holi to life whilst providing plenty of entertainment in the meantime. Celebration takes place on March 19th
Bears – Photographic Exhibition
Jardin du Plante is a must when it comes to enjoying Spring in Paris! The gardens are beautiful and it really is a joy for the whole family especially with so much to explore from the zoo to the Naturel History Museum. Over the next few months, you can also visit their free Bears exhibition. They describe it as follows:
“A forest without bear is not a real forest,” said the Swiss naturalist Robert Hainard. And today everyone agrees that a bear-free ice is not a real pack ice either. This exhibition is an invitation to discover the world of bears, brown as polar, through the singular look of the photographer Vincent Munier. Several years were necessary to collect these images, sometimes on the ice of the Canadian Arctic and Spitzbergen, sometimes in the wild forests of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, or even in the shadow of the volcanoes of the Distant Kamchatka …
Jamaica, Jamaica! at the Philharmonie
“I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love” this top track from Bob Marley is playing through MLP’s headphones right now, to set the scene for the next big music expo at the Philharmonie de Paris. The history of music inspired by this island in the sun is finally being celebrated with a full-on bells and whistles exhibition at the famed music hall. Hot on the heels of the sell out David Bowie expo and the Velvet Underground show comes Jamaica Jamaica. A curated tale of reggae music and contemporary sounds that have radiated around the world. Using film, archive materials and imagery get ready for a lesson in the unique and universal music created by this beautiful island! From April 4 until August 13.
Philharmonie de Paris, City of Music, 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris
Disney on Ice at the Zenith – Frozen
From 4 – 9 April 2017, the Disney favourite Frozen will be the theme of this year’s Disney on Ice at Le Zenith venue at the Parc de la Villette. Snap up some tickets as this one is sure to be popular with many a young Anna or Elsa in Paris! Just be aware the hit songs will most likely be in French so it’s “Libereeez, delivereeeeez’ instead of ‘Let it Go’! But the Disney magic is still there and younger children usually love seeing their favourite characters on the ice.
Shop window puppet shows
Keep your eyes open as you stroll around town April 20 – 22 as shop windows will be hosting free puppet shows throughout the city. MLP will post a picture of the first one we spot and let you know where it is.
Music extravaganza at Versailles
Can you believe it’s been 351 years since the Royal Gardens at Versailles were first created: and as you would expect, this birthday is going to be celebrated in style! Get ready for an orchestrated musical session with the 55 fountains in the grounds. Check out the Palace of Versaille website for all the details – you can be sure to see the fountains in full swing from the weekend of March 31st.
India at the Grand Palais
Jewels from the Al Thani collection will be on show at the Grand Palais and visitors can see treasures from the Great Mughals to the Maharajahs. The exhibition opens March 29 and should set young imaginations alight.
Horse Riding Sundays
Okay horse lovers, another perfect event for you. Les Dimanches au Galop. Packed with riding, racing, games and Easter egg hunts for kids. Sunday March 12, 26, April 2 & 17 and May 1st
Easter Egg Hunting on the Champs de Mars
Brilliant fun can be had by all on the grounds of the Eiffel Tower. Bag your hunting license for a mere €5, then let the kids run wild as they feverishly search for eggs across the lawns. All this plus lots of entertainment. Two egg hunts are currently planned – one at 10am Sunday 16 April and a second at 10am Monday 17 April, but stay tuned to MLP to get news closer to the Easter weekend.
Easter egg hunt at the Jardin d’Acclimatation
Are fifteen thousand eggs enough for your kids? The Jardin d’Acclimatation does Easter in style and on Sunday 16 April there are two egg-hunting sessions planned – 10am till 12.15pm for the early birds and an afternoon session 2pm till 5pm. They wisely separate the very young from the charging older kids. The 2-4 year-olds should head to the Potager and the 4-8 year-olds to the Farm area. Participation in the egg hunt is free but you will still need to pay the €3. 50 cents entry to the Jardin d’Acclimatation. Keep checking the Jardin d’Acclimatation website for more information nearer the time. MLp will be putting together an Easter Special too.
Note: Easter Special coming soon on MLP!
Poetry in Motion
MLP loves this opportunity to become part of this creative exhibition! Write your favourite lines of poetry on a post-it note, get the kids to do it too! Then, take them to the Claude Levi-Strauss Library and have them displayed for and shared with all the visitors attending this event throughout April. Find it at 41, Avenue de Flandre from April 4 until April 29. 11am – 6pm and its free!
The Color Run
Run through the city with the kids and get sprayed with a veritable feast of colours in the annual Paris Colour Run. Register the family for a 5k run for a memorable moment in the City of Light! reserve your places now at www.thecolorrun.fr Pourquoi pas! April 16
The City Hall Library
Hotel de Ville is flinging open its doors and giving you the chance to go and check out and uncover their library.
It’s part of a current city focus on government bodies nad institutions around Paris. The prestigious reading room here has a collection of printed, manuscript and iconographic artefacts, with some of the many documents relating to the government of the Parisians that it preserves.
The Paris Marathon
This is both a warning and an announcement. The Paris Marathon will take place on 9 April. For those who want to cheer on the participants then find out details of the route here and for those who want to avoid it beware… the city is going to be pretty busy that day! You can expect quite a few road closures and changes to public transport routes. The Paris Half Marathon takes place a few weeks earlier, on March 5, and is also worth being aware of due to similar road closures.
Lily of the Valley Day
On May 1st, the ‘Fête du Travail’, in Paris, in fact, throughout France, you will see people standing on every rue selling flowers. Specifically Lily of the Valley. The flower symbolises luck and the hope for future happiness and it’s a long-standing French tradition. The Fête du Travail is a national holiday, so either stay and make some fun plans in the city or treat yourself to a long weekend out-of-town.
Free Sports for Women – update
For quite a few years now, Paris has dedicated a day to encouraging women to participate in Sport. It’s an initiative, that involves the city offering free sporting activities to women on one day of the year. So May 7 is the day ladies! There are over 30 activities offered in over 10 different sporting genres from martial arts to yoga. Find out what’s going on near you.
Night at the Museum – update
Free nights at the Museums in Paris Yay! Once a year the cultural institutions of the city, fling open their doors and welcome the public in droves! Take advantage and discover some of the beautiful art and culture in this town, for no money whatsoever! Obviously, you’ll have to think strategically about which art houses to go to – will it be the Louvre or Palais du Tokyo maybe? Either way, make your decision, stick to it and get there early. It’s a wild night and definitely not to be missed. Eventually, the full listings of all the museums taking part in the event will be available. If you want to know more about it check out this archive MLP Post . It’s on Saturday, May 20th.
The strangest but also possibly the most brilliant idea, especially for expats takes place this May in Paris. Once a year, Paris encourages neighbours to break bread and drink wine together. Tenants sharing the same apartment block, gather in a communal space bringing food and good cheer and basically get to know each other. It’s a cool concept although it can understandably be a bit nerve-wracking if you don’t know anyone – but it can also be fun. save the date Friday, May 19 – and be a part of what’s going on in your community.
MLP needn’t go on about the urban culture scene here! However, MLP is absolutely loving the idea of the prospect of the second Parisian urban art festival along the waterfront! The date is not confirmed yet but as last year it will flow between Canal d’Ourcq and Canal St-Denis. It’s totally free and you and your family can watch and discover the work of over 30 artists. It will no doubt be an experience. Keep checking the Festiwall website to get the dates. It’ll be towards the end of May.
There are so many events and atelier activities going on at La Villette over the Spring that’s it’s worthy of an entire post all to itself. Check out the la Villette and Little Villette (for kids) website to discover dozens of theatre shows, workshops and music sessions that you and your family can enjoy. It’s always so much fun you will not be disappointed. It’s in the 19th district and there are events happening throughout the Spring!
The Big Wheel
Always a winning opportunity to wander to the end of the Champs Elysèe and get the most amazing views of the city. If you haven’t done it yet, this could be the perfect time. Especially as it’s just battled efforts to close it down. It’s a slow wheel so be prepared for being up there a while.
Put a Spring in your step and enjoy the great outdoors
MLP must also urge you to just get outdoors and enjoy this gorgeous season. Here are some of our favourite things to do in these beautiful months that don’t require much planning – just an urge to be outside, absorbing the city and surrounding area as it comes to life after winter.
Parks and gardens
Whether it’s the classic, elegant Tuileries or Luxembourg, or the dramatic waterfalls of the Buttes-Chaumont, the vast expanses of the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne, MLP can point you in the right direction for our very favourite green spaces of Paris. The parks and gardens of this city are so varied, you’ll find something to fit your mood. Oh! and don’t forget to explore the highest park in the city, Promenade Plant!
Get out of town!
Much as we love to talk to you about the thrill of discovering Paris, there are also some amazing places to visit a short distance from the city. The April school holidays and all those May bank holidays are ideal times to get out-of-town to Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Parc Asterix and Giverny, to name just a few. Check out our top ten day trips from Paris for inspiration.
If you are eager to find out what is likely to be happening, in terms of Easter Egg hunts. Here is our Easter in Paris post from last year, but we will be updating it very soon.
There is so much happening throughout the Spring in Paris. MLP is currently working on a special workshops post and will be highlighting great events in more depth that you should absolutely not miss. The MLP site is full of great ideas, take a moment to look through the content to find even more ideas.
Thank you to Jennifer Hamerman for contributing to this post! Merci Mama!
Enjoy Spring in Paris