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jun 03 2009

Paris attractions: Top 5 free events in June

Fête de la Musique (Courtesy dalbera/Flickr)

The only thing better than visiting Paris is being able to enjoy free events in Paris. Here's a round-up of activities for the lovely month of June.

La Foire Saint-Germain (May 22–July 5) This six-week neighborhood fair includes an antiques sale from June 4–15, a night of contemporary photography on June 22, and a book sale on June 26–28. Details, here. Almost all events take place in the postcard-charming place Saint Sulpice (6th arrondissement).

Paris Jazz Festival (June 6–July 26) This annual Jazz Festival provides a great excuse to laze about in the Parc Floral, part of the sprawling Bois de Vincennes. During two summer months, free concerts are held on the grand scène (big stage) every Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 and 4:30 p.m. Highlights in June include Robin Verheyen this Saturday, Cheick Tidiane Seck on June 14, Rita Marcotulli on June 20, and Joe Louis Walker on June 27 (check the full program here). Food and drinks are on sale inside the park, but most people bring their own stock of nibbles and wine. Entry to the Parc Floral is €2.50, but the concerts are all free. Take the Metro line 1 to Château de Vincennes and follow the crowds (Parc Floral, Esplanade de Chateau de Vincennes, 12th arrondissement).

Entrez dans la Danse (June 7) The sixth annual "come into the dance" festival will be putting on more than 75 free performances across the city, plus participatory dance workshops. Check out the online program here, or just stumble into any of the following locations from 11am to midnight and see what's shaking: le Centre d'Animation des Halles du Marais (6–8 place Carrée, Forum des Halles, 1st arrondissement), le Centre de Danse du Marais (41 rue du Temple, 4th arrondissement), Bercy Village (28 rue François Truffaut, 12th arrondissement), la Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir (bridge over the Seine in the 13th arrondissement), le Parc des Buttes Chaumont (19th arrondissement), Le Centquatre (104 rue d'Aubervilliers, 19th arrondissement) and the Parc de Belleville (20th arrondissement).

Fête de la Musique (June 21) Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for culture, this festival now takes place in more than 110 countries each year on the day of the summer solstice. In Paris, you'll find free concerts in parks, bars, restaurants, hospitals, and street corners… just about any sort of place you can imagine. Performances range in quality from pro to super-amateur—last year I was charmed by a group of 14 year-old French boys playing Pixies covers outside my local subway stop. There's a constantly-changing program online here, but my preferred strategy is just to wander and follow the noise.

La Defense Jazz Festival (June 12–28) Suburbanites will be flocking to these free concerts at la Defense, the futuristic commercial center just west of Paris (a few stops on the RER A). Luminaries include Eric Truffaz (electro jazz) on June 12, Beat Assailant (hip hop jazz) on the 24th, and Goran Bregovic (Balkan music) on the 28th. Most concerts take place outdoors on the Esplanade de la Defense, but consult the program online here.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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