In the depths of winter, as the mercury drops sharply in the French capital, lovers’ hearts are ablaze on 14 February, Valentine’s Day.
Throughout the month, Paris has any number of things for couples to do: exhibitions, concerts, shows, fairs and more. Take your pick!
More info on Romantic Paris
Fall under the spell of Paris’s classical music programme starting with ‘Debussy liberated’ at the auditorium of the Musée d’Orsay on 1 February. These nine concerts enable you to (re) discover his Impressionist repertoire, with its elements of freedom and nonconformity.
For a romantic evening, an outing to the Palais Garnier is one of life’s must-dos. The setting is impressive with magnificent Napoleonic-style decor, crystal chandeliers, majestic stairs … On 14 February, love is in the air at the Philharmonie de Paris with a recital by Diana Damrau and Jonas Kaufmann, inspired by Tuscan and Venetian popular poetry.
February is the perfect month to get a culture fix while staying nice and warm indoors. Several of the exhibitions in town are well worth a visit this month.
For the 2018 cultural season, the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is staging the exhibition Peinture des Lointains (Paintings from Afar). It is the first exhibition devoted to the Museum’s private collection. Some 200 hitherto unseen paintings and graphic works will be revealed to the public (until 28 October).
Holland comes to the Petit Palais with the exhibition Dutch artists in Paris, Van Gogh – Van Dongen – Mondrian. The show highlights more than a century of influences and artistic exchanges (until 13 May).
The Centre Pompidou opens the year with colourful and monumental installations by the American artist Sheila Hicks, a pioneer of textile art (until 30 April).
The Centre Pompidou is staging the first French retrospective of the work of South-African photographer David Goldblatt, a leading documentary photographer (until 7 May).
Back to the art of the 19th century, at the Musée Marmottan Monet which presents the exhibition Corot, Peindre La Figure Humaine focussing on the painter and his models, another aspect of this pioneer of landscapepainting (from 8 February).
The Musée de Montmartre reveals the beginnings of Cubism and Fauvism, with a not-to-miss retrospective on Van Dongen and the Bâteau-lavoir (from 16 February to 28 August).
Finally, it is ‘direction Mali’ at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, an essential stop to get into the rhythm of Malick Sidibé, Mali Twist (until 25 February).
Last chance to see
In February there’s still time to catch up with some of the top 2017 exhibitions, after which it will be too late.
Picasso 1932, année érotique – Musée Picasso (until 11 February)
Dada Africa – Musée de l’Orangerie (until 19 February)
Degas Danse Dessin. A tribute to Degas with Paul Valéry – Musée d’Orsay (until 25 February)
Being Modern: MoMA in Paris – Fondation Louis-Vuitton (until 5 March)
Fairs, festivities and festivals
The Chinese New Year falls on 16 February, and 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog. The programme will include the spectacular dragon parade as well as many shows and events.
February is also carnival month. Head for Place Gambetta on 11 February to enjoy the Carnaval de Paris. This colourful costume parade complete with floats provides a welcome touch of gaiety and warmth to those cold, grey winter days!
As the new year unfolds, the Maison de la Radio will be filled with the music of our time at Présences, Radio France’s festival honouring young musical composers. The 28th edition of the festival will take place from 6 to 11 February.
For something completely different, visit France’s biggest agricultural show. This year’s Salon international de l’agriculture will be held from 24 February to 4 March.
Meanwhile, vintage car enthusiasts will be flocking to Rétromobile, the international classic car show, from 7 to 11 February.
The exhibition Concept Cars, the ‘Fashion Week’ of automobile design is back on 1 February at the Hôtel National des Invalides, a must-see event with world leaders of design.
Parisians enjoy singing and listening to songs and, in February, there are three big musicals to look forward to:
Bodyguard at the Palais des Sports (from 2 February)
Les Choristes at the Folies Bergère (until 11 February)
Priscilla, folle du désert (the French version of ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’) at the Casino de Paris(from 8 February)
Swan Lake will be performed at the Seine Musicale (on 10 and 11 February) and then at the Palais des Congrès de Paris (from 14 to 18 February).
Opera fans should note that two masterpieces are being performed in February – ‘La Traviata’ (until 28 February) and ‘Le Barbier de Séville’ (until 16 February) at the Opéra Bastille.
Music fans have a strong line-up of big-name concerts to choose from this month: Lady Gaga at AccorHotels Arena (20 February), Seal at the Seine Musicale (28 February), The Dropkick Murphys (16 and 17 February) at the Zenith…
Rugby fans, mark your calendars: February marks the kick-off of the legendary 6 Nations Tournament 2018. Head to the Stade de France on 3 February for the France – Irelandgame.
Tussles on tatami mats are also on the cards at this time, as judo fans flock to the AccorHotels Arena on 10 and 11 February for Paris Grand Slam, featuring the top judokas.
Finally, the best handball players will be at the AccorHotels Arena for the Hand Star Game (3 February), an exceptional event !