5 Unusual Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris


It’s about to be New Year in Paris, and you’re not quite feeling braving the crowds at the Eiffel Tower, or waiting in the cold to watch the fireworks from the Sacre Coeur.

Why not do things a little differently this year? The following five activities are unusual, unconventional, and even down right outrageous. Intrigued? Let’s go.

1. Catch the New Year’s Day Red Eye Flight in Paris

Let’s start with the wildest first. I once sat next to a man on a flight between Paris and Lisbon who told me all about how he spends every New Year’s Eve in an airport terminal.

You see, the early hours of January 1st are seen as some of the most undesirable flight times across the globe. People rarely want to be doing anything other than partying at this time, and catching flights tend to only become a priority in the days after New Years.

by Marco López – Unsplash

Those willing to exchange their festivities with the inside of Charles de Gaulle terminal will have access to travel destinations all over the world for next to nothing. I’m told you can fly between Paris and Morocco for as little as €40 during this period; and Paris to Corsica for even less.

So yes, you might not get to watch the Eiffel Tower light show at midnight as the year turns, but you will start your new year on some exotic foreign soil — I’d call that a win!

2. Spend New Year’s Eve on a Yacht in Paris

Just because New Year’s Eve is a chilly affair in the northern hemisphere, doesn’t mean the water based attractions take a back seat.

New Year’s Eve is a favorite time of year for the boating companies that operate on the Seine. Almost all of them offer a New Year’s Eve dinner cruise that will entertain you from around 6pm through to the early hours of the morning.

by Anthony DELANOIX – Unsplash

Entertainment will vary between companies, but for the most part you can expect multi-course meals, wine and champagne included, live music, space for dancing, a countdown at midnight and an afterparty either on the boat or elsewhere in Paris.

Being on the water at midnight is especially unique if you find yourself in direct view of any of the fireworks displays that will take place across the city when the clock strikes 12.

3. Have a Board Game Night in Paris

Before you laugh under your breath, hear me out…

For some, the crowds at New Year’s Eve parties can be less than appealing. Staying in is sometimes a much more enjoyable occasion, but it does require a bit of effort on the part of the host.

Board game night at home, instead of night out on the town, is the new rage. Inviting your closest friends over for an evening of fun and food in the comfort of your home or Airbnb is an unusual but calm way to ring in the new year.

Monopoly is a house favorite, along with Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble and Balderdash. Twister is for when you’ve all had one too many and are completely comfortable with things getting weird.

by Sophie Elvis – Unsplash

Alternatively, investing in a new, full set of Murder Mystery is a great way for the whole evening to be curated in one go. In addition to this, everyone will have pre-set characters to dress as and a script to follow.

Just keep an eye on the clock. I’ve heard too many stories of these evenings gone rogue and parties completely missing the countdown because they were all wrapped up in one another on the Twister mat.

4. Skype With Friends Around the World in Paris

Another New Year’s Eve celebration idea I was recently made aware of are global Skype parties.

Like the board game option, groups of friends opt to stay in instead of venturing out on the town. They start early, from around 3pm in the afternoon; preparing food, playing music and mixing drinks for the evening ahead.

At 3pm in Paris, it’s midnight in Australia. If someone has a friend down under, they should connect with them via Skype or FaceTime as the clock hits the hour, and celebrate with their worldwide friends from a distance.

by Afif Kusuma – Unsplash

This should be done at the stroke of the hour for all cities in the world that see New Year before Paris. Someone may have a friend in Hong Kong, or a family member in Russia. You’ll be surprised how many connections there are to be made, and how much fun it is surprising these people with an unexpected call while you’re enjoying your own afternoon and evening in the French capital.

5. Go Stargazing on New Year’s Eve in Paris

This is a New Year’s Eve celebration that gets you out of the house while also avoiding the usual crowds that we deemed so unappealing.

The lungs of Paris, the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, are found on either side of the city center and are open to the public 24 hours a day.

On New Year’s Eve it is not unusual to find friends and couples gathered here with tarps, blankets, pillows and hot beverages, laying around on the icy lawns watching the stars.

by Mark de Jong – Unsplash

Both of these parks are far enough from the city center so that light pollution is at a minimum. It’s a beautiful way to bring in the New Year, and a lot more memorable than fighting your way through crowds on the lawns of the Champ de Mars.

If you’re in Paris in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve as well, be sure to book a space in one of the free guided walking tours that venture through the main city districts. They’re a great dose of history and culture for anyone with an hour to spare.

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