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Fête de la Musique

France's Music Celebration

If you're lucky enough to be in France on June 21st, prepare for a night full of music! The Fête de la Musique is especially fun in Paris, where the city streets host concerts and dance parties as the whole country celebrates musicians and music fans alike.

On June 21st, Paris, like all of France, celebrates the Fête de la Musique, also known as World Music Day. Generally starting in the late afternoon or early evening, festivities kick off with concerts on nearly every corner, going until the wee hours of the morning. Special events take place all over the City of Light, with major artists and budding musicians playing free shows in the capital’s streets, gardens, and monuments. 

Imagined by French Minister of Culture Jack Lang and Director of Music and Dance Maurice Fleuret, the Fête de la Musique was first celebrated in 1982 in Paris. Created as a way to encourage and celebrate those who played music in addition to simply celebrating the art form, the event takes place every year on the first day of summer (the summer solstice), June 21st. This fête for music makers and lovers has since become an international event with over 120 countries participating.

In its city of origin, every June 21st, music floods the French capital. An acclaimed orchestra plays under the Louvre Pyramid, international jazz musicians entertain those strolling through the park, amateur rock bands perform in bars, and local DJ’s keep Parisians dancing all night long in the streets. Wherever you go in the city, you’re surrounded by music and immersed in joyful, exuberant energy.

To me at least, this annual event epitomizes the French’s love of culture as well as their joie de vivre. On this one day, Parisians are all smiles and just let loose, dancing their hearts out, singing at the top of their lungs, or otherwise enjoying and participating in the country-wide music festival. As an avid Francophile and music lover, it’s probably my favorite day of the year.

Fête de la Musique events take place throughout France and in every Paris neighborhood, typically starting around 5 pm and ending around 2 am, so don’t expect to get much sleep. Rather, stay up late and take full advantage of the festivities while exploring more of Paris – many metro and bus lines run all night long and a special 3.50€ pass sold the day of the event gives you unlimited rides on public transportation from 17:00 – 07:00!

Bonne fête !

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