Paris Happenings: Au Revoir Summer Fun, Bonjour Autumn Action

Paris Happenings: Au Revoir Summer Fun, Bonjour Autumn Action

Centre Pompidou Paris
Centre Georges Pompidou. Photo: siraanamwong/123RF

Au revoir country house and vacation club. Fini drinks on the terrace and apéro on the beach. But the fun isn’t over – it’s time to shake things up and stimulate the senses! September brings a new hot season of culture to Paris and the excitement that comes with it. It would be impossible for me to list all of 2015’s concerts, exhibits and special events, but here’s a sampling of what’s coming up in the next couple of months to boost your spirits and make your head spin:

The Eye-openers

September 22-November 22, 2015wearefamily
Located along the wharf opposite Musée Quai Branly, 37, quai Branly, 75007 Paris.

Enjoy the last of the summer sunshine with a visit to the 5th edition of this biennial festival of world photography, set in the gardens of the Quai Branly museum on the banks of the Seine. This year’s theme, “We are Family,” offers the chance to explore the meaning of community through the works of 40 contemporary photographers from all over the world, most of whom are unknown in Europe. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the museum’s exotic gardens, which offers one of the most striking views of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris.

Festival d’automne
September through December 2015
Throughout Paris and Ile de France.

A truly international mix of music, theater, cinema, dance, visual and performance art spread over 4 months and across 40 different venues. This year includes a special Korean program (think Korean Cool) and a spotlight on Italian theater director Romeo Castellucci. A great way to broaden your cultural horizons and add some sparkle to your cocktail conversation.

The Events

European Heritage Days/Journées Européennes du Patrimoine
September 19 & 20, 2015
Throughout Paris and in every city in France.

Art lovers, history buffs, admirers of architecture and the simply curious get a rare opportunity once a year to peek behind the scenes of some of France’s most spectacular heritage sites. It’s a weekend celebration dedicated to the nation’s rich historical patrimony; an open house in select museums, monuments and manors, many of which are normally closed to the public. Tour the sumptuous Presidential Elysée Palace or walk the hallowed halls of the National Assembly. To avoid the crowds, go early or choose some of the lesser-known sites, such as the Soufflerie Eiffel, a wooden wind tunnel designed by the famous architect, or The Relief-Map Museum, a museum entirely devoted to – you guessed it – relief maps and scale models.

Nuit Blanche
October 3, 2015
Throughout the city of Paris and its surrounding suburbs.nuit-blanche

This year’s all-night art crawl is centered around an environmental theme, with two planned itineraries on the left bank and north Paris. For one night, Paris is an entire city that never sleeps. Museums, galleries, stores and public space remain open throughout the night and special outdoor events stretch across the city to keep night crawlers enthralled. Public transportation is available and free! Take a break from the exhibits and performance art in the middle of the night to test out one of the city’s new gourmet food trucks (a gastronomic craze finally coming to our shores). Finish off the following morning with a special family brunch at the Cité de la Mode et du Design, Quai Austerlitz. Gotta love a city that celebrates art with an all-night party!

The Discoveries

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brunaffiche-elvb_pageexpo
September 23-January 11, 2016
Grand Palais Museum, 21, Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt 75008 Paris.

The Grand Palais gives this little known (at least to me) female artist her due with her first French retrospective. The opportunity to learn more about one of the greatest portraitists of the late 18th century and Marie-Antoinette’s official court painter. If only those paintings could talk…

Villa Flora
September 10-February 7, 2016
Marmottan Monet Museum, 2 rue Louis Boilly 75016 Paris.

The Marmottan Monet Museum presents for the first time in France over 80 works from the private collection of Swiss couple Hedy and Arthur Hanloser. Don’t miss the opportunity to see these works by Bonnard, Cézanne, Manet, Matisse, Renoir, Van Gogh and more. Imagine them on the walls of your own villa. (First imagine you own a villa).

The Modern Masters

Picasso Maniaaffiche_picasso_page_expo_1
October 7-February 29, 2016
Grand Palais Museum, 21, Avenue Franklin d Roosevelt 75008 Paris.

Just when you think you’ve got the guy pegged, along comes a new way to view his art and legacy. Rediscover the works of Picasso through the eyes of the critics of the time as well as the artists he influenced, including Hockney, Warhol, Basquiat and Koons.

Warhol Unlimited
October 2-February 7, 2016
Museum of Modern Art de la Ville, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson 
75116 Paris.

Although often overshadowed by the Pompidou Center, the Museum of Modern Art de la Ville has an amazing collection of 20th and 21st century art and an impressive program of temporary exhibits. Case in point: this survey which brings together over 200 works of the renowned pop artist, Andy Warhol, including the first European presentation of “Shadows,” a series of 102 silk-screens in 17 different colors over 130 meters long.

Histories and Mysteries

Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries
Orsis exhibit at Institut du Monde ArabSeptember 8-January 3, 2016
Institut du Monde Arabe, 1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed-V 75005 Paris.

At the Institut du Monde Arabe, a never-before seen look at the extraordinary discoveries made by the European Institute for Underwater Archeology in the western part of the Nile delta. Over 300 artifacts offer a rare look at the celebration and mystery of Osiris, god of the dead. Sure to tickle the inner Indiana Jones in all of us.


A Brief History of the Future
September 24-January 4, 2016
Musée du Louvre, rue de Rivoli 75008 Paris.

Based on the controversial book by economist and writer, Jacques Attali, this much awaited pluri-disciplinary show at the Louvre brings together contemporary artists and noteworthy historical works in an effort to “anticipate the future through a subjective reading of the past.” (I have no idea what this means, but they’ve got my attention.)

A Walk in the Park

fragonard-expoFragonard in Love
September 16-January 24, 2016
Musée du Luxembourg 19 rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris.

After a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, make your way to the Luxembourg Museum for a look at this 18th century French painter and illustrator’s most sensual works. Jean-Honoré Fragonard, “suitor and libertine”, captured the sensuality, sensitivity and sexuality of his generation during the Age of Enlightenment. Vive l’amour !


Anish Kapoor
June 9-November 1, 2016
Chateau de Versailles, Place d’Armes Versailles.

In June, the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles became the playground for English artist Kapoor’s architectural sculptures. Recently, it also became the site of a hate-crime when his monumental sculptural piece, “Dirty Corner” was painted with anti-Semitic slogans. At the artist’s insistence the graffiti will remain as a way to bear witness to prejudice. A thought-provoking exhibit that underscores the healing power of art.

Don’t forget to check back in for more round-ups and recommendations, or share yours in the comments!

Elizabeth Brahy
Elizabeth Brahy is a native of Los Angeles, where she worked for many years in film development. After moving to Paris 20 years ago, Elizabeth worked in the film and television industries before becoming a freelance writer and editor. An admitted pop culture nerd, she loves comedy podcasts, YA books and American television (as well as art museums and the ballet). Elizabeth is a board member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators France, and co-hosts the podcast "Alex & Mom vs The World." You can follow her on twitter at @expat_eliz



Please prove that you are human * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Comments may be moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. It may be posted soon. Do not post your comment a second time. Thank you.