In Paris, nightlife is a way of life for many locals. Many trendy bars transform into clubs after dark and there is something for everyone. These clubs have a variety of settings, music, and array of people. Most of them have strict dress codes and are quite particular about their “look.” The most infamous are located in the Champs-Elysées area. While these clubs do not typically require an admission fee and are for people in their thirties, you may be required to dress fashionably.
There are places to go out in nearly every neighborhood, except perhaps in the southwest part of Paris (16th and 17th arrondissements) which is not typically lively.
Le Marais is highlighted with funky bars that offer great music. Many of the bars in the area also have a restaurant and sometimes will offer two different atmospheres giving you the choice of style you are looking for. You will also find wine bars, terraces and a few pubs Popular in the area is the Costes hotel bar, near the Louvre, which is famous for its electro lounge music, but is very trendy and quite expensive. Le Marais has become one of Paris’ most dynamic night life spots as well as home to a thriving gay and lesbian scene.
- Amnesia – 42 rue Vielle du Temple: A vibrant gay bar with a mix of funk, disco and soul.
- Au Petit Fer à Cheval – 30 rue Vielle du Temple: Is comprised of small horseshoe shaped bar offering a lively atmosphere.
- 3W Café – 8 Rue des Ecouffes: A popular lesbian bar destination.
- Stolly’s – 16, rue Cloche-Perce: Described as a gritty den that serves mainly an anglophone crowd. It’s a lively space that offers a summer terrace, and TV’s broadcasting European football.
- Andy Wahloo – 69, rue des Gravilliers: A Moroccan themed bar that draws a fashionable crowd.
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter has a mix of types of bars which is perfect either for college students or older people with more sophisticated tastes. Pubs like the Pub Saint Germain offers unique fancy cocktails or the The Frog and the Princess are hot spots for students. These are only a few of the dozens of bars in the neighborhood.
Near the Latin Quarter on Saint-Germain, are full of fancy bars. Styles range from pubs to elegant places where famous people go to have a drink. The thing to do is walk around Saint-Germain Boulevard and look at the variety and chose one that agrees with your preferences for the evening.
- The Wagg – 62 rue Mazarine: – This dance club specializes in theme nights such as jazz, electro-funk and 80s nostalgia.
- Coolin – 15 rue Clement: An Irish pub offering an authentic Irish setting.
- Les Etages – 5 Rue de Buci: A relaxing ambient bar, decorated in warm colors with tile-mosaic tables, that offers an intimate and refreshing alternative to the busy brasseries nearby.
- Chez Georges – 11 rue des Canettes: Also known as a cave bar is a favorite of its regulars who pop in during the day to partake in wine or a game of chess and at night to dance.
Bastille / Ménilmontant
Bars in this area tend to attract a young local crowd. Many of these establishments are often small and crowded. These are perfect for pub-crawling but can become a bit dull if you plan on staying in the same bar all night. On the rue de Lappe, you’ll find places where you can have a drink in peace with nice lounge atmospheres, hype music and usually food. A bit further from the Place de la Bastille, toward Charonne, you will find nice and less crowded bars like La Plage and Le Pause café.
Bustling and exciting, but overcrowded and noisy, Bastille (Metro Bastille) is best suited to 20-somethings looking for a lively party. Nightlife here is a mix of traditional cafes, classy nightclubs, dive bars, and music venues. Bar hopping down hectic rue de Lappe or Rue de la Roquette is a good place to start. Salsa or Marenge dancing is also in order.
- La Bellevilloise – 19-21, rue Boyer: Is a bar, restaurant, club, and exhibition space. Film and music festivals take place on the upper level, while on the main floor, the club and concert venue feature new bands.
- La Maroquinerie – 23, rue Boyer: A popular venue for live bands. It is home to the Inrocks Indie Club nights.
- L ’International – 5/7, rue Moret: The bottom level of this free music venue offers nightly shows featuring new bands.
- Le Lou Pascalou – 14, rue des Panoyaux: A chic cultural cafe that is host to exhibitions, screenings, and theatrics within a small courtyard and sizable terrace.
- Le Saint-Sauveur – 11, rue des Panoyaux: A classic punk / biker bar that offers live music, great people watching along with inexpensive drinks.
- Le Cafe Noir – 15, rue Saint-Blaise: Classic style café that attracts artists and crowds of local trendsetters who pop into the café throughout the day either for coffee or a glass of wine.
The Champ Elysees is to avoid if you’re looking for authentic Paris nightlife. The famed club scene typically comprises of tourists who haven’t made it past the Eiffel Tower. However dedicated clubbers will find this area to be the best choice however dress Parisian chic to get past the doormen.
- Le Queen – 102 avenue des Champs-Elysees: Estound gay club and known as one of the better spots for dancing.
- Man Ray – 34 rue Marbeuf: A popular club co-owned by Johnny Depp and Sean Penn.
- Le Regine – 49, rue de Ponthieu: An electro club that features top international DJs, and on Thursday nights guys get in for free if they dress like women.
- Le Baron – 6, avenue Marceau: Small, exclusive lounge that attracts the jet set crowd. Located in what was previously an unmarked brothel, its decor sets out to prove it.
Oberkampf is known as the city’s coolest new hangout and has become popular with a trendy Parisian crowd. The Oberkampf remains a favorite, however is has become somewhat alienated due to overcrowding.
- Café Charbon – 109 rue Oberkampf: A spacious old style café appreciated by hipsters, this lively bar can like a meat market or sleazy.
- Cithéa – 114 rue Oberkampf: A late night spot when other bars shut down that add soul to your evening.
- Nouveau Casino – 109 rue Oberkampf: A popular spot for concerts.
- L’Alimentation Generale – 64, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud: Is known as the grocery store bar that has everything from cupboards of kitsch china to lampshades made from kitchen sponges. This eclectic space offers a variety of beers and cocktails, and different DJ’s each night.
- Au P’tit Garage – 63, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud: A 1950s rock n’ roll style bar offers loud music and cheap beer.
- Les Pirates – 80, rue Oberkampf: If mojitos or rum is on your list, this bar is for you. In addition it offers pints on the cheap.
- Panic Room – 101, rue Amelot: Offers a chic and trash as well as featuring mirror lined walls where you can watch yourself dance.
- UFO Bar – 49, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud: Is a relatively new rock bar decorated with red walls covered in pinups for punk bands. DJs spin for a dancing crowd.
Montmartre and Pigalle
Branded Paris’ brothel center, Pigalle is no match for its counterparts in Amsterdam. With attractions like the Moulin Rouge, Parisians and tourists alike flock here. The upper heights of Montmartre offer a less gritty ambience.
- Moulin Rouge – 82 Boulevard de Clichy: The Moulin Rouge show remains a big draw. For approximately €145 you subjected to a mediocre champagne dinner and full cancan show.
- Elysees Montmartre – 72 Boulevard de Rochechouart: Thought of as one of the better concert and dance clubs in the area.
- La Fourmi – 74 Rue des Martyrs: A favorite among Paris’ arty crowd.
- Lux Bar – 12, rue Lepic: A favorite where the district’s locals meet to drink inexpensively and socialize.
- Au Rendez-Vous des Amis – 23, rue Gabrielle: Close to the Sacre Coeur, this bar/cafe offers affordable drinks, especially during happy hour, and is frequented by locals and students.
Casual Notable Mentions
- Café de Flore – 172 boulevard St-Germain: With its memories of Sartre and De Beauvoir and its 1930s interior, this legendary St-Germain café draws the glitterati with its memories of De Beauvoir and Satre.
- Café Beaubourg – 43 rue St Merri: Is described as a postmodern recreation a classic Parisian café offering a great place hanging out over coffee or a glass of wine while people watching.
- Le Café Marly – 93 rue de Rivoli: Located in the Louvre, this café is pricey however offers visitors a chance to partake in a drink on the terrace of the Louvre courtyard.
- Candelaria – 52 rue de Saintonge: Offers simple taqueria with tacos and other Mexican delights and behind an unmarked door leads the way to a back bar offering endless varieties of cocktails.
- Le Select – 99 boulevard du Montparnasse: Henry Miller, Brassai, Picasso, Hemingway and many other artists and writers came to this establishment for late night conversations and drinks.
- Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels – 7 rue Lobineau: Offers over 300 wines by the bottle and over 30 by the glass. If wine is your passion, this is a great place to visit.
- Frenchie Bar a Vins – 6 rue du Nil: A relaxed environment with often an eclectic crowd. A great place to try wine and ask a sommelier for advice.
- Buddha Bar – 8/12 rue Boissy d’Anglas: A nice space for a relaxing evening to enjoy dinner, drinks and dancing.
- Lido – 115 bis avenue des Champs Elysees: Is a bit like Las Vegas, nightly performances and shows.
Paris offers many hot spots as well as quaint locales for a night out on the town. Every area has its local haunts and variety offering something for everyone. Remember that Europe is a bit different and true night clubbing really only gets going after midnight and can continue on until the early hours of the morning. Find your style of club and have fun!
Photo by Matthias Ripp