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As thousands of Parisians return from their summer escapades (what’s known in France as ‘la rentrée’), the city perks up with a plethora of cultural events, including new seasons at the ballet and opera, smash art exhibs and quintessentially French attractions. LUXE rounds up what’s not to be missed...

What: David Hockney
Good for: Mod art buffs
Having kicked off his 80th birthday celebrations with endless queues at London’s Tate Britain, then New York’s Met, the inimitable Yorkshireman swaggers into the Pompidou centre in a whirl of flamboyant colours, abstract shapes and clean lines. Nigh on 20 years since his Parisian debut at the very same venue, this important retrospective spans his London art school awakening and the exotic expressionism of his younger years, right through to his Cali swimming pool period and later return home to the Moors. A must.

What: Ballet & Opera
Good for: The chic clique

Choose between iconic old dame Palais Garnier and imposing mod-bod Opéra Bastille to catch this winter-spring curation of classic-meets-contempo operas and ballets. Opening on 21 September, the opera season kicks off with crowd-pleasers like Puccini’s La bohème, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte, alongside rarely seen repertoires like From the House of the Dead by Leoš Janáček, and Only the Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho. The ballet program, meanwhile, is led by works from Russian choreographer and godfather of American ballet George Balanchine, as well as the standout Orphée et Eurydice by German icon by Pina Bausch. Encore!

What: Fête de la Gastronomie
Good for: Die-hard foodies

With French cuisine billed as a UNESCO 'world intangible heritage', it should come as no surprise that this nationwide celebration is a big deal in the capital. Forks at the ready for an intoxicating mix of gourmet events, including celeb chef cooking demos, recipe competitions, special lower-priced tasting menus at top restos, and various cultural centres across Paris celebrating the culinary traditions of their own countries with one-off belt-busting pop-ups. See also our guide to 6 Iconic French Dishes and where to try them.

What: Candlelit Evenings at Vaux-le-Vicomte
Good for: Moony couples

Rekindle that spark with a dusky evening amble at Versailles’ sexy little sister Vaux-le-Vicomte, just 50 minutes from Paris. All summer long, until 7 October, the coiffed n’ clipped grounds of this baroque country pile are illuminated by candlelight – your (undated) ticket will include entry into the château, basements, formal lounges, and museum area, as well as a fireworks spectacular at 11pm. Amp up the romance with fine dining at onsite Les Charmilles, a pop-up restaurant overlooking the gardens, or Champagne and macarons at Le Songe de Vaux. Res ahead.

David Hockney Exhibition (until 23 Oct) / Centre Pompidou / pl Georges Pompidou / +33 1 44 78 12 33 / 11am-9pm daily, until 11pm Thu / centrepompidou.fr

Opéra & Ballet / +33 8 92 89 90 90 / www.operadeparis.fr

Fête de la Gastronomie (22-24 Sep) / economie.gouv.fr

Candlelit Evenings (until 7 Oct) / Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte / +33 1 64 14 41 90 / 7pm-midnight Sat / vaux-le-vicomte.com