Paris Autumn Festival: Discover the capital’s must-see event

Right now in Paris, a multi-sensory extravaganza is taking place across some of the French capital’s most exciting venues. Every year, the Festival d’Automne à Paris marks the end of summer by bringing together music, dance, theatre and film to the very forefront of the cultural stage. With the event already in full swing, some forty or so of the city’s establishments have opened their doors to take part, and it’s all going on until mid-December. Heralded as the festival of the season for its unmissable performances, exhibitions and shows, grab your chance to take part now.

History of the Paris Autumn Festival

Tilda Swinton, photo by Gage Skidmore

In its 45-year history, the Festival d’Automne à Paris has hosted some of culture’s greatest luminaries. Founded in 1972, the festival sought to combine two already existing events – the International Dance Festival and musical event les Semaines Musicales Internationales – to create one of the city’s most anticipated occasion. Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton has performed almost every year since 2012 and has returned to the stage this season, while it’s also seen as one of the best places to see culture’s newest talent. The best and the brightest come from all over the world performing to hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Things to see at the Paris Autumn Festival 2017

Artist Karla Black’s sculptures. Photo by Karen Bryan

With over 47 venues to choose from, visitors are spoiled for choice on which event to attend. French choreographer Jérôme Bel is showing his critically-acclaimed Gala throughout the festival, providing a diverse cast of dancers of mixed ability to venues like the Théâtre du Rond-Point – a short stroll from the Arc De Triomphe. The artist’s other endeavours, including The Show Must Go On and the eponymous Jérôme Bel are also well worth a view at the festival. From 20 October Scottish artist and Turner Prize nominee Karla Black’s sculptures will be housed in both the Archives Nationales and the Beaux-arts de Paris – with the latter showing her works until 7 January. Known for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, Black takes everyday items such as cotton wool and soap and turns them into pastel-hued pieces of art.

While you’re in Paris

Between shows, Paris offers up plenty of distractions for people of all interests. Art-lovers are spoilt for choice with galleries – most notably the Louvre, where you can view Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Musée des Arts, which is currently displaying some of designer Christian Dior’s most iconic pieces. If you’re looking for some respite from all the excitement of the shows, Paris can offer up the perfect lazy escape. Take a wander down the Jardin des Plantes, the small shopping streets in Montparnasse or take a languid boat ride along the Seine to enjoy the sights without the crowds.

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