May unmissable events

Published on 26.04.2017
From exhibitions to music and theatre, read on for our selection of finest cultural events in Paris and its surrounding region this May.


Art in the spotlight at Révélations – 4-8 May

© Salon Révélations

Original crafts and manufacturing are given centre stage at this cosmopolitan and bold event, to be held in the main space at the Grand Palais. The South American nation of Chile will be the guest of honour at the 3rd edition of Révélations, with eight Chilean jewellers, fashion designers, engravers and sculptors exhibiting resolutely contemporary creations that are produced using ancestral techniques. More information here

Design takes centre stage at the D’Days! – 2-14 May

© Joran Briand
Tabouret Toul de Joran Briand (2013) Saint Luc Editions

The 17th edition of the D’Days Festival of Design will see Paris become a vast playground for all things design. For 12 days the public will be invited to join the festivities, with a series of exhibitions, smart installations, masterclasses and workshops and one simple motto: “Let’s play”! Contemporary design will take over the capital city, from the main space at the Fine Arts Museum to the Grande Braderie du Design, endorsed by Philippe Starck and taking place at the renovated canal-side warehouses in Pantin. More information here

A journey through Austrasia, the forgotten Merovingian kingdom! - 3 May to 2 October 


This exhibition is dedicated to Austrasia, the homeland of the Merovingians, a dynasty that came to prominence between 511 and 717. At a time when public debates are saturated by questions of identity, this exhibition invites the visitor to reconsider identity as a construct of cultural diversity. At the National Archeology Museum in Saint-Germain-en Laye. More information here

Night of the Museums – 20 May

© Centre Pompidou

For one special night, the museums of France will open their doors to new and diverse forms of artistic expression. Last year, two million people took part in a vast array of cultural events that included screenings, torch-lit visits, treasure hunts, shows and concerts. More information here

Week-end Galleries Paris - 19-21 May

© ChoicesParis

Around 40 art galleries in Paris are taking part in the “Choices Collectors Weekend”. Gaston Chaissac at Louis Carré & Co, David Hockney, Kiki Smith and Jaume Plensa at the Lelong Gallery, Jean Dubuffet and Fabrice Hyber at the Nathalie Obadia Gallery, and Céline Cléron at the Papillon Gallery… Wherever you are in Paris, take advantage of the extended opening hours to enjoy the work of some of the biggest names in art. More information here

Walker Evans at the Centre Pompidou – Until 14 August

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

America is captured on its knees on the eve of the New Deal by Walker Evans (1903-1975), an American photographer known for his work documenting the Great Depression between 1935 and 1937. Evans’ attention to everyday details and urban landscapes did much to define the visual image of 20th-century American culture. More information here

brLive shows

The Testament of Mary at the Théâtre Odéon – 5 May to 3 June

© Deborah Warner
Testament de Marie au Théâtre Odéon

Her name is Mary. She has seen her son tortured on the cross. We think we know her story. But do we? "Every now and then," writes director Deborah Warner, "there comes a story that needs to be told”. Having launched on Broadway in 2013 starring Fiona Shaw, and subsequently enjoyed a successful run at the Barbican Centre in London, the Testament of Mary finally arrives in Paris. “A bold and subversive dramatic tour de force” (Los Angeles Times). More information here

Claude Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélissande at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées – 9-17 May

© Patrick Messina
Patricia Petitbon et Jean-Sébastien Bou en répétition

The most intimate love story in French opera, the art of pure feeling, as revisited by the Comédie Française’s Eric Ruf. This masterpiece offers a dismal view of humanity, utterly devoid of hope or mercy. Even the lovers' innocence, despite its purity, finds no grace here. Yet what beauty and magnificence! The work’s power and modernity mean that it has "paved the way for others to follow", just as its author foretold. More information here

The Villette Sonic festival – 25-31 May

© Villette Sonique
Affiche de l'édition 2017

The international underground scene gathers in La Villette for a series of gigs and creative workshops exploring sound creation. Highlights include concerts and demos of the pocket acousmonium by Térence Meunier and François Couderc, and workshops by Playtronica on the interaction of everyday objects with music. More information here

Hip-hop – 27 May to 3 June

© Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication

Eight days dedicated to the artistic disciplines associated with hip-hop culture, including performances by dancers, graffiti artists, rappers, DJs and human beatboxes. This is a nationwide event coordinated by Hip Hop Citoyens (Paris) in partnership with Pick Up Production (Nantes), L’Original (Lyon), L’Affranchi (Marseille) and Le Flow (Lille), five of France’s most important hip-hop institutions, with support from the Ministry of Culture and Communications and the Ministry of City, Youth and Sports. More information here

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