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Paris: A seasonal guide

  • Story Highlights
  • The biggest date in the calendar is 14 July, which celebrates the French revolution
  • From July to August, sun worshippers can bathe on beaches on the riverbank
  • Style gurus migrate to the city twice a year to take part in fashion week
  • In Winter, ice skate in front of the Hotel de Ville for the ultimate romantic moment
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PARIS, France (CNN) -- No matter when you go, Paris has that certain 'je ne sais quoi' that makes it special. But time your visit right and you could find yourself taking part in one of the city's signature events.

Ice skating in front of the grand facade of the Hotel de Ville on a crisp winter day.

Ice skating in front of the grand facade of the Hotel de Ville on a crisp winter day.

Fashion Weeks
Paris is eponymous with style, and fashionistas will be in seventh heaven during the city's haute couture fashion weeks, in January and June/July each year. Celeb-spotting, cooing over clothes and scrambling for a seat at Galliano are par for the course: just make sure your image is up to it.

Bastille Day
If freedom and fireworks are your thing, what better time to be in Paris than 14 July, or Bastille Day, when you can celebrate the storming of the hated prison, symbol of repression and aristocratic excess. Watch the military parade down the Champs Elysees, enjoy the Eiffel Tower fireworks from the Champ de Mars, and raise a glass to liberte, egalite and fraternite. No guillotines allowed -- and most of the metros are closed, so be prepared to walk home.

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Paris Plages
It's still true that many of Paris' residents leave the city in August, shutting up shop and heading to the beach, but for the past few years the Paris Plages have brought that holiday feel to the city.

Sand dunes, swimming pools and petanque are all things you might associate with France's south coast resorts, but all can be found on the riverbank from late July until late August each year.

The FIAC (International Fair of Contemporary Art)
October's Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (FIAC) sees gallery-owners and collectors of contemporary art descend on the Louvre and the Grand Palais for one of the art world's major dates.


There's an emphasis on up-and-coming artists and newer galleries from across Europe. Works of art in all media -- painting, drawing, prints, photography, sculpture and more -- are on display and available to purchase.

Ice skating in front of Hotel de Ville
If you like your outdoor pursuits to be frosty and free, you'll love the ice rink that's outside the Hotel de Ville every December until March. Rent your skates or bring your own and glide around the rink, hand in hand with a loved one, gazing at the beautiful buildings that surround the square, then warm up with a chocolat chaud at a nearby cafe. Could Paris be any more romantic?

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