Paris is one of the world’s most visited cities, with millions of people visiting The City of Light every year. In early 2017 Paris saw a 10-year-high in visitor numbers, despite fears over terrorism. This comes as no surprise. Paris boasts magnificent architecture, awe-inspiring culture and art, delicious food, and also… Paris pretty much IS fashion.
There’s no shortage of attractions in Paris, from visiting the world-famous Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe, to getting lost in Montmartre or walking along the Seine.
Here’s what you can do in Paris at night:
1. Have dinner at a nice restaurant
Paris is best known for its high-end, Michelin-starred restaurants. France has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other country and Paris is home to almost a quarter of them. In addition to those, Paris boasts an impressive amount of mid-end and more low-key eateries and bistros at every corner.
French cuisine is one of the world’s most famous and renowned cuisines, so it would be a shame to leave Paris without having a nice dinner out. Parisians tend to eat late, typically around 8:30 or 9 p.m., and enjoy leisurely meals with lots of wine.
Here’s a list of more affordable Michelin-starred establishments:
– Les Fables de la Fontaine
– Il Vino
– La Table du 11
The Marais neighborhood is a popular haven for evenings outs, with notable restaurants that include Jaja, Grand Cœur, Cantine Merci, Candelaria, Le Potager du Marais and La Pulpéria.
Make sure to book in advance since many of these spots are popular. Especially double-check the opening hours on Sundays and Mondays, when many establishments in France are closed.
2. Visit a Paris museum
Some Paris museums close their doors late once or twice a week in order to let people visit during the evening.
– The Louvre closes at 22 pm every Wednesday and Friday;
– The Orsay museum closes at 9.45 pm every Thursday;
– The Centre Pompidou closes at 9 pm every day, and at 11 pm on Mondays and Thursdays;
– The Palais de Tokyo opens 12 noon to 12 midnight, closed Tuesdays.
In most Parisian museums, if you are a European Union citizen and are under 26, the entrance is free. Make sure to have your Identity Card or passport at hand.
If you are very into museums, art, and culture, consider getting a Paris Museum Pass which allows you to visit more than 60 museums and famous monuments throughout Paris.
Visiting Parisian museums at night not only allows for an interesting experience, but it can help avoid crowds (the Louvre alone gets over 9.3 million visitors per year).
3. Walk by the Seine
Walking by the Seine is one of the most awe-inspiring, romantic, and interesting experiences for those visiting Paris. Getting lost in Parisian streets at nightfall is enchanting on its own, but there is something special about the banks of Seine.
This activity is particularly recommended if you’re visiting during the summer months, although fall and winter walks are great too! The best spots include the Pont Neuf area; the Pont des Arts, and the Ile de la Cité. I especially recommend strolls along those riverbanks offering a view of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
If you’re up for it, you can also book a cruise on the Seine River. The cruises offer views of most landmarks, including the Louvre, the Pont des Arts, the Assemblée Nationale, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, all reflected in the dark water and glistening.
4. Catch a film
Another thing Paris is famous for is cinema. It was at the Grand Café near the Place de l’Opéra that on December 28, 1895, people sat down to the world’s first movie screening.
(If we’re being honest, what beautiful is Paris NOT famous for?)
Like they do with food, wine, and fashion, Parisians take cinema seriously. See an independent film in one of many art houses or independent Parisian cinemas. For a true Parisian experience, grab a drink beforehand and spend some time discussing the film afterward.
Here are some of the best arthouse cinemas in Paris:
– Action Christine
– Le Champo
– Cinéma du Panthéon
– Le Brady
– Cinéma La Clef
– Studio 28
– Grand Rex
5. See a show or a cabaret
Paris has no shortage of shows and cabarets. If you find cabaret a bit “too much”, head to one of the city’s many theatres.
There are plays in English and French. The biggest theatre shows play at top venues like Bercy Arena, the Opéra National de Paris, the Palais des Sports, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre Mogador, the Zénith de Paris. The non-French-speaking visitors have the opportunity to see performances in French with subtitles in English at several Parisian theatres.
For cabaret, book a night show featuring the famous Moulin Rouge dancers. Book tickets online ahead of time. Select from the dinner show or one of the late-night shows, and be sure to arrive a few minutes early. Other famous ones include Le Crazy Horse, Le Lido, Paradis Latin, and Au Lapin Agile.
If you’d like to try something different, head for the back of this 11th-arrondissement pizzeria and into the (former) cold store to reach Moonshiner, a candlelit speakeasy.
6. Organise a sunset or midnight picnic
Paris is one of the world’s most romantic cities, so it only makes sense to organize a romantic picnic while you’re there (or a picnic with friends for that matter). Naturally, it is best to do this if you’re visiting Paris in the summer.
The obvious picnic idea is a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower literally sparkles at night (every hour on the hour for 5 minutes), creating a magical atmosphere for the spectators.
Another great picnic location is the Square du Vert-Galant. Situated on the western tip of the Île de la Cité, this park has a romantic setting and wonderful views of the Seine. The Quai des Tournelles is undoubtedly one of the best spots for picnicking. You can’t beat the view on the back of Notre Dame Cathedral from there.
Parc de la Turlure in Montmartre is another amazing one. This small park now offers an amazing view of the Sacré Coeur, away from the hordes of tourists that come to visit it.
Stock up on those baguettes, spreads, fruit, and cheese and head for a picnic!
Note: Technically it’s prohibited to drink in public spaces, but in practice, it’s tolerated, as long as it is done moderately and no “public inebriation” results.
7. Book a wine tasting
France is known for its high-quality wine. In Paris, many wine bars organize wine tastings for wine enthusiasts. You can choose from a variety of events: from special guided tours on the theme of wine and meeting independent winegrowers to walks around town and trips to wine regions and wine storehouses.
At wine tasting events, you learn how to identify flavors and compare the characteristics of different wines. For those who aren’t experienced connoisseurs, wine tasting can seem intimidating. However, wine tastings are led by experts and open to anyone – so don’t be afraid to try it. And what better place to do it than Paris?
The prices vary from 2o EUR to a couple of hundred, depending on the event.
Here are a couple of options:
– Les caves du Louvre
– Promenade des Sens
– Paris Wine Day Tours
– Ô Chateau
– Le vin qui parle
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