Ask any self-respecting Parisian and they’ll tell you there are several night time activities which should be avoided like the plague if one is seeking an authentic Parisienne experience. The Eiffel Tower sunset light-show is one, as is the Moulin Rouge cancan girls and any kind of dinner cruise along the Seine. All of the abovementioned forms of entertainment are thought to be overly-kitschy and overly touristy. Oh, and let’s not forget all the bars and clubs along the Champs-Élysées (overpriced and overcrowded) and Montmartre (far too close to those cancan girls).
While one could argue that local opinion is not without its dues, others could argue that all of these activities are actually (to be totally honest) completely and utterly Parisian! In our humble opinion, joining an evening cruise along the Seine and sailing past the Eiffel Tower just as the 10,000 light bulbs, 350 spotlights and several laser beams are turned on, is one of the most amazing, romantic and yes, quite authentique, experiences to be had. First of all, you won’t find that anywhere else; secondly, Parisians protested en masse in 1909 to have the Eiffel Tower dismantled due to it being ugly and distasteful, so really…what do they know…
Shun all etiquette and local opinion on your visit to the French capital, and dive headfirst into Parisian nightlife. Every corner of the city is renowned for attracting a certain crowd, and offering a certain form of entertainment, so follow our guide to the most popular districts and find the evening escapade that’s right for you.
Paris Nightlife – Champs-Élysées
Parisians aren’t so wrong about this area. Yes, the bars and clubs are overpriced, and the only tourists you’ll find here are those who haven’t made it past the Arc de Triomphe in four days; yet it is still home to some über-chic bars and particularly funky gay clubs, and also attracts the most sophisticated ex-pat crowd in town. Besides, if Johnny Depp opened a club here it couldn’t possibly be that uncool.
Head to Le Queen for THE most delicious Cointreaupolitans and trendiest dance music in town, Chez Régine (49 Rue de Ponthieu) for the latest techno craze, or head to World Place on Rue Marbeuf to splurge on lobster, champagne and, if you’re in luck, glimpses of Johnny Depp.
Mainly popular with university students and young travellers, the Bastille area of Paris is home to some of the best salsa clubs in town, and it’s also a place where a night out sipping cocktails won’t send you broke. Rue de Lappe is a great starting point, and a top strip for bar hopping.
Le Balajo was a favourite haunt of Édith Piaf, and has been running continuously since the 1930s. It offers a different theme every night, their Thursday salsa sessions arguably the most popular of all. Live music, something Paris is somewhat lacking in, can be enjoyed in Le Motel and lovers of loud rock music, cheap drinks and a grungy atmosphere should skip all those clubs and head straight to Les Furieux.
Look what we did; we managed to find an area of Paris where the nightlife is cool, hip and happening even according to the locals! Nestled between the 3rd arrondissement and Saint-Ambroise, Oberkampf is home to a fantastic mix of seriously trendy bars and clubs. One could pretty much listen to every kind of music in one single street! Head to Pop In for a grubby scene and some indie tunes, and ALG for jazz, rock, Afro groove, latin and pop depending on the night you visit.
Just south-east of Oberkampf is where you’ll find a much more arty clubbing scene. Along Rue Boyer, right on the border between the 20th and 11th arrondissement, you’ll find a gorgeous collection of restaurants, bars and clubs which double as art galleries and exhibitions halls. It is here where most of the city’s live bands can be found. La Bellevilloise is a one-club wonder, where an 80s disco, live rock bands and even film nights all happen at the same time inside the one building.
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