Best Nightlife in Paris – USA TODAY 10Best

Le Bateau Francais

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner

River cruises are one of the most romantic ways to spend an evening in Paris. And while many of the dinner cruises are on large boats that carry upwards of 500 passengers or more, there are some that cater to a more exclusive, more private kind of experience.

Enter Le Bateau Francais. The boat is called Corto and it is a lovingly cared for Chriscraft type of vessel. The ideal private party is 2 – 4 passengers. Clement is the captain and has plenty of sailing and boating experience under his belt, including having sailed across the Atlantic. But he’s also an authentic Parisian, so once his wild oats were sown, he returned to his favorite city. The City of Light is where he now plies the waters and shares his delight with visitors and others who enjoy Paris by Seine.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: River cruises are a must when in Paris. But whether you partake on a 500-passenger cruise or indulge tete-a-tete is entirely your choice.

Paige’s expert tip: Le Bateau Francais cruises can be customized or reserved as package-offered itineraries. The embarkment is super convenient – it’s literally just below the Bastille Metro station at the Place de la Bastille. Find the Corto down below where the Arsenal Canal docks all the lovely yachts.

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Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Photo courtesy of Copyright Moulin Rouge

With its famous windmill that acts as beacon to all nightlife revelers looking for a good time out in Paris, it might altogether be too easy to assume that this legendary Cabaret is for visitors mainly. That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is a cabaret where the French Can-Can dancers all have years of formal ballet training before they ever even get to audition to be one of the 60 Doriss Girls, the famous Moulin Rouge dancers, let alone wriggle into their costumes of a thousand feathers.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: There are cabarets and then there are cabarets. This one ventures toward the Burlesque making for an altogether Hot Night Out.

Paige’s expert tip: Dinner and Show starts at 7pm and show-only start times are 9 and 11pm. Both offer a great experience. Since this is France, they don’t stint on good food, even in a dance hall. The show is well worth seeing, several times. Watching these highly trained and disciplined dancers do the can-can is a cultural must-do.

The stage is steeped in history. Not only is it famous for La Goulue whose 1891 performance inspired Toulouse-Lautrec’s first poster painted of the venue, but also for Mistinguett and Edith Piaf, even Elton John, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, all of whom have performed onstage here. French Presidents, (Mr. Vincent Auriol) and English Kings (Edward VII) have been guests here and once, in 1981, it was even closed for a special performance for Queen Elizabeth II when the troupe travelled to London for that honor. A trip to Paris without seeing the Can-Can performed onstage, well, it just wouldn’t be a trip to Paris.

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Le Grand Rex

Le Grand Rex

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This is Europe’s largest movie theater and its location right on Grands Boulevards means it’s walking distance from the major department stores and one of Paris’s best shopping and restaurant districts. With 2,650 seats it was purportedly modeled after NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. It opened in 1932 and its kitschy interior is still a mix between Art Deco and neo-classical Oriental. Best to see for yourself, and you can, as there is a 50-minute tour of the cinema that you can take year-round. The theater is not to be confused with its dance club, the Rex Club, which is adjoined and whose entrance is just a few yards down the way (known for its electro-pop music). Le Grand Rex is hands-down the most most impressive movie theater, in terms of largesse, decor and history, in Paris.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is Europe’s largest movie theater and a Parisian landmark perfect for a date or group night out on the town.

Paige’s expert tip: Take the 50 minute tour of the cinema, offered year-round. There is also a nightclub just next door, by the same name. So after your movie is finished, you can continue your night by dancing in the club just a door down.

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Golden Promise

Golden Promise

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2017

The most important thing to remember when chasing down this Ali Baba’s Den of the world’s 900 finest whiskeys, is that it’s hidden in plain sight. The street number is correct but the upstairs bar, the Maison du Sake, steals the limelight. No matter. When you are this good and this full of amber liquid treasures, it’s understandable that you’d want to remain a bit in the shadows.
So enter into the upstairs Maison du Sake and then follow the stairs down. This is where you’ll find Paris Whiskey Headquarters. Literally. The bar is separated into three distinct areas: The first bar area where you’ll find the mixologists, the casual tables with seating off to the right and then through locked steel doors, is where the cavernous, velvet upholstered whiskey treasures await for formal tastings. For the real afficianados, you can even store your bottle here (a few spaces left).

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is Paris’ first all-whiskey tasting room and bar. They have over 9OO whiskeys housed here.

Paige’s expert tip: Consider this more like a speakeasy. The outside address indicates the correct street number, but you won’t see any signage at all hinting that there’s a whiskey bar here. But there is. Enter where it says Maison du Sake and then follow the stairs down. That’s where this gem is hidden.

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L'Arc Paris

L'Arc Paris

Photo courtesy of L’Arc Paris

With a fairly recent re-do this iconic nightclub and preferred celebrity and international jetset watering-hole-when-in-Paris sports a marble dance floor. Its location at the top of the Champs-Elysees makes it an easy access for a night out on the town. The club’s updated look, completed in September 2014, was the vision of Lenny Kravitz, a Parisian-resident celebrity who makes no secret of his love for the city.

There are VIP loges for those who seek them out, and there’s even a fumoir so smokers need not scuttle outside into the night for their nicotine break. Cocktails, a good selection of music and the Arc de Triomphe round out the picture of this glamorous nightspot in the capital.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is where Rihanna hangs, OK? When she’s in Paris for the runway shows. Okay?

Paige’s expert tip: Cocktails, a good selection of music and the Arc de Triomphe round out the picture of this glamorous nightspot in the capital whose interior designer was none other than Lenny Kravitz.

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Le Caveau de la Huchette

Le Caveau de la Huchette

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2017

This Paris Left Bank jazz fixture features a number of well-known performers since its opening in 1947. More than a funky, cavernous jazz den dating back to the Middle Ages (legend has it that the Knights Templar and then later the Freemasons used to meet here) this is a veritable cultural pilgrimage. For jazz lovers this is as much a shrine to the nights of Paris past as, say, going to Lourdes is for the devout (meaning that other kind of religious devotion).

What makes this locale especially fun is that it draws regulars who get their dance on as soon as the music starts playing. They wear suspenders and saddleback shoes (guys) and the women wear dresses. You can just sit back and watch them all night long, for as long as the live music plays.

No reservations. METRO: Saint-Michel (line 4, + RER B or C)

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Go ahead, give in to your film nostalgia impulses. Because, YES!, this is where that scene from LaLaLand with Emma Stone was filmed!

Paige’s expert tip: The jazz here is always fine, regardless of the night you decide to rock up and make your way down the funky medieval-aged staircases. ut for some, the real draw is the swing dancing that goes on here regularly. So bring your dancing shoes and wear that big-skirted red dress.

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Canopy Rooftop by Hilton

Canopy Rooftop by Hilton

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner

There are many views of the Eiffel Tower. But one of the prettiest ones is the view of the majestic tower over the rooftops of Paris. The rooftops of Paris hold a special place in the hearts of Parisians. So much so that they convinced UNESCO to consecrate them as a world heritage.

This rooftop open patio bar literally affords you a bird’s eye view onto the great Iron Lady while letting your skim along the chic Hausmannian rooftops of the Trocadéro neighborhood in Paris.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: When ‘nightlife’ means a quiet drink on a secluded rooftop bar overlooking the Eiffel Tower, this is your ticket.

Paige’s expert tip: It’ true. Spring, summer and fall are all exquisite seasons to find yourself sipping a glass of rose champagne on a rooftop in Paris. So much so that it almost makes the winter wait worthwhile.

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Theatre des Champs-Elysees

Theatre des Champs-Elysees

Photo courtesy of Théatre de Champs-Elyesées Wiki Commons

One of Paris’s most striking Art Deco interiors, this venue will make you love opera sung in Italian even if you’re not an opera-loving kind. However, it does host all kinds of musical performances, from jazz to world music to dance and chamber concerts. If you’re a history buff, you will enjoy knowing that this is the site where audiences ripped up the seats after watching Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps with Nijinsky choreographing. That was the Battle of The Rite of Spring in 1913 and the theater, a 100 years later, celebrated its centenary in 2013. Tickets range from inexpensive (under 10euros) to expensive (over 100euros). And students always get a discount with a valid Student ID.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is one of the most historical theaters in the world yet still remains contemporary. It celebrated its 100 years in 2013.

Paige’s expert tip: This year the TCE is hosting the Ukrainian national ballet troupe from Kiev. The troupe is already here and performing in other parts of France, with a big performance scheduled at this prestige venue for the end of the year. Reserve your tickets well in advance!

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Windo Skybar

Windo Skybar

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner

Aside from the 3rd Flooor of the Eiffel Tower, this bar affords the best view of Paris. And what’s better, it’s enclosed so you are not subject to wind or cold or heat. This is one of the most elegant venues in Paris in which to meet for drinks and light cocktail fare.

Yes, it’s a hotel bar. But you completely forget about that as soon as you step into the designated elevator which whisks you up 34 floors to the top of this skyscraper hotel. Paris has very few skyscrapers (thanks to wise city planning) so enjoying views like these are a rarity in the city.

This is a dressy venue so be sure to take note. It’s also in the same sprawling complex as the Palais des Congres, where wonderful dance, ballet and other big production shows take place.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: There are only three places in all of Paris where you can enjoy views from this high up. Be sure to dress the part!

Paige’s expert tip: In a city like Paris, it’s tempting to want to stick to little bars and cafés that resonate with “authentic Parisian” vibes. But glamour and 34th floor window-encased bars at the top of luxury hotels are also just as Parisian. This one is ever so classy and the views, are, well, out of this world breathtaking.

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Mademoiselle Mouche

Mademoiselle Mouche

Photo courtesy of Paige Donner

A new addition to the Parisian nightlife scene (as of January 2022) this rooftop, Eiffel-view, Seine side hotspot is already one of the most popular in the Capital. Long one of the tourists’ favorites for river cruising, the Bateaux Mouches team spun up this stationary version of enjoying the city riverside and with a view.
The decor is plush and inventive, and it makes you feel like you are entering into a lush tropical oasis. Though one quick glance outside the windows, which perfectly frame the Eiffel Tower, and you see that, yes, indeed, you are in Paris.
Versatile, this restaurant morphs into a hopping nightclub right around midnight. So if dining and then dancing, without the taxi hassles, is your kind of night out, make reservations here. You’re gonna love it.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Parisians are always thirsty for a new hot spot where they can enjoy a cocktail, preferably with a view of the beautiful city. Voila!

Paige’s expert tip: More of a restaurant and nightclub, a local tip is to come early for drinks overlooking the Seine. You’ll feel like the venue is exclusively yours, shared with only a select few, as you sip your CBD infused cocktail call Ayahuasca.

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