Paris at night: how to enjoy the city of lights
Paris by night – check out all the best things to do: museums, Paris night tours, bars, shows. Paris by night changes utterly. If Paris is the city of lights it is because Paris is more beautiful than ever during the night. Paris is one of those cities in the world where you can do almost everything you want.
Check out our new article and learn how to blend in the Parisian crowd at night, where are the best spot to spend time at night in Paris while avoiding tourists traps.
The romantic way…
First of all, if you’re in Paris for a romantic trip, I truly recommend you to go to l’Ile Saint-Louis. In Paris, the islands are the places where everything about Paris began and still nowadays, they are very quiet and peaceful places in Paris. On these islands, the life seems very different and the restaurants are too.
The restaurants on Ile Saint Louis are very nice and traditional. A very good one is called ‘le Saint-Regis‘, at the corner of the street Jean du Bellay, in front of the bridge linking The Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint Louis. There, you can eat a very typical French dish with a very good service and from its pavement area you can admire a beautiful view of the core of Paris.
Usually, when I leave a restaurant in Paris, I don’t want to go back home directly and I like to stroll around the restaurant. Just behind Ile Saint Louis, you can stay in the same district and have a walk on the banks of the Seine. The banks are a very either romantic or friendly place. There, you can meet people and when it’s sunny, youngsters come with their guitars to play music and the atmosphere is really joyful.
Parisians having drinks on the banks during the sunset
Going to a show
But in winter, when it’s cold, you might prefer to enjoy an inside entertainment. Finding something that you would like in Paris is not complicated. If you want to go to a ballet, a classical concert or an opera, you will obviously find something that would satisfy you. The district around the Opera is very nice, there are a lot of typical French restaurants in which you could go after the show.
But there is not only the Opera: if you want to listen to music in Paris, around the metro station Pigalle, there are a lot of concert halls. The most famous concert halls are: ‘le Divan du Monde’ and the ‘Bus Palladium’, they are dedicated to rock’n’roll and blues. It is really a good way to listen to good live music and it’s cheap (around 10 euros one ticket).
If you don’t like music nor Opera, you will probably like French humour. You know, it is said that Parisians have a very strange way to behave, if you want to learn to behave like us, a French humorist called Olivier Giraud performs a show 100% in English called ‘How to become Parisian in one hour’.
All the show long, he derides Parisians habits with a very caustic humor. If you want to learn how to make fun of the Parisians and entertain for sure in Paris, this is the place to go. It is at ‘le Theatre des Nouveautés’, at the Metro station ‘Grands boulevards’, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at 7 PM and every Sunday at 6 PM.
‘How to become Parisian in one hour’
Culture by night
Otherwise, some museums close their doors late once a week in order to let people visit during the evening. The Louvre closes at 9:45 pm every Friday, Orsay museum and Centre Pompidou every Friday (you can find here the best tips to visit Paris museums).This is my favourite moment to visit museums because you can really experience something new, in the evening are very quiet and the visit is peaceful. Young local guides are running night tours starting from the Louvre almost every day and crossing the Seine river to St Germain neighborhood. It’s a great way to enjoy the city when it’s more quiet and beautiful. You can have more details here
The Louvre looking spectacular
Paris for youngsters: bars and night club
If you want something more dynamic, Paris is also a big university town. As students, we don’t especially like going to the Opera with friends. Having drinks in bars is maybe the favourite activity of French youngsters. In Paris, students go only to few districts to have drinks in cheap bars. One of the friendliest districts to find good bars is located around rue Oberkampf in the 11th.
It is just behind the metro station Parmentier on the 3rd line. There, you can find a lot of bars and cafés very trendy like ‘Place Verte’ which is very convivial. This is really the area where all Parisians students go to have a drink during the weekend with their friends because the atmosphere is very friendly and the drinks are not so expensive. I utterly recommend it to you because I know that you can spend very nice evenings there.
Oberkampf, a district with very nice bars
And then, if you want to do a one-night stand, you can go to one of the numerous nightclubs in Paris. All over Paris, there are nightclubs but here are the most famous and known by the Parisians. The must-do nightclub in Paris is ‘Le Showcase’, this is the very place where all rich youngsters and Parisian love to go. This is the place to be if you want to experience what is being a Parisian ‘party animal’.
To get in, you have to be trendy but smart. The entrance costs between 15 and 25 euros but it is worth the price because the nightclub is just under one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris: The Bridge Alexandre III. There are other nightclubs in Paris but ‘the Showcase’ is the one you should go to if you have only one night to spend in a nightclub in Paris.
The Showcase, a very trendy place to party
If you want to go back late in your hotel or apartment, don’t forget to check the time for the last metro or the buses because catching a taxi in Paris might resemble a nightmare.
Feeling hungry? Food in Paris at night
All this dancing, or sport or cultural activities are great of course, but a times comes when the call of food late at night is the stronger. And there’s nothing worst than walking in circle for hours and finally end up with a doubtful kebab sandwich and sad french fires.
In those very moment all the Parisian foodies know exactly where to go. And that’s where Parisians have been going for centuries: Les Halles.
This area in the very center of Paris is called “Les Halles” in reference to the big central market that used to be there until the 1950’s. It’s always been where the food was the freshest and the most tasteful. Well, traditions are strong in Paris and that is still where you will find the best 24/7 restaurants of the city. There are about 5 restaurants opened all night long. The most famous being “Au pied de cochon”.
My personal tip is to go there only very late. Because that’s when locals are themselves going and therefore that’s when the ambiance starts to kick-in. At 6:30 pm or 7 pm it is definitely not the same.