Paris: What to do in May

As the weather gets warmer, Paris becomes a centre of activity and excitement. The tourist season has not yet reached its summertime peak but there is a noticable increase in the number of visitors around and about. Make the most of the good weather, longer evenings and new exhibitions and be aware of bank holiday closures.

Practical Information

At the hight of spring, temperatures are generally mild in May, with lows of 11°C and highs of 20°C and the evenings are much lighter, leading to longer opening hours at many galleries and attractions. There is a more favourable ratio of sunny to rainy days but sudden showers are not uncommon in May.

Bank holidays

There are four bank holidays in May to be aware of. May day on the 1st is the only holiday on which almost everything will close, including shops and most tourist attractions. Armistice or Victory in Europe day is commemorated a week later on the 8th May. Ascension, on the 14th and the Pentecost, on the 7th Monday after Easter, are also celebrated in France. Apart from May Day, most tourist attractions will stay open on these public hoildays but independant shops will generally remain closed or operate on reduced opening hours. Make sure to check opening times on these days.

Museum night

In the second weekend in may Paris hosts an evening for its mueums and galleries to open late and generally free of charge. By May most galleries will have launched their main summer exhibitions. Participating museums and monuments, including the Musée D'Orsay, Musée du Louvre and the Centre Georges Pompidou open around noon and stay open until midnight so art lovers can stroll around Paris' exhibitions well into the night. Some museums will run special exhibitions, activities and even live music, exclusively for museum night so don't miss an oportunity to see something new in your favourite gallery. For more information and the full list of participating establishments, click here.

French Open

The French Open at Roland Garros stadium is one of the most anticipated sporting events in the French calendar. The grand slam tournament takes place over two weeks towards the end of May and thousands flock to the clay courts of Roland Garros to see standing champions and up and coming players compete. Tickets are highly coveted and can be difficult to come by. Even if you can't get tickets to a match, the stadium offers tours throughout the whole summer. For more information about the tournament and tours of the stadium, click here.

Jazz Festival

Music lovers, head to Saint Germain des Prés for the spring jazz festival, held at the end of the month. Started in 2001, the festival has grown and now showcases the talents of well established jazz musicians and younger artists from all over the world. Concerts are held in a variety of locations including the Sorbonne university and the St Germain des Prés church. For more information and a full list of concerts, click here.

Outdoor food markets

The number of markets to be found in the streets of Paris is considerable. Visiting the open air variety is a great way to soak up the spring sunshine while capitalising on a great variety of fresh, local produce, from seafood to fruit and veg. Browsing the stalls is an excellent way to practice your French and interact with local people while getting your hands on some delicious picnic food. Click here for a guide to the best food markets in Paris, by arrondissement.










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