There’s no other city in the world that people fall in love with so deeply than Paris.
And once you’ve whiled away the hours footloose in the Jardin des Tuileries, pottered through the thrift shops in Le Marais, or proactively ticked off the tourist attractions in your guidebook, then you should be set to throw on your party shoes and whirlwind off into the beautiful Parisian night…
One of the greatest things about the City of Light is its multifaceted personality. Depending on your preferred type of night, you only need to look for the corresponding arrondissement.
From swish and exclusive clubs to indie bands performing in sweaty basements, pounding techno beats to jazz concerts in tiny bistros, hipster hangouts to bohemian poetry readings; anyone can find somewhere to enjoy their verre de vin rouge.
By this premise, a French dinner party, even one held in a characteristically cramped studio, can last long into the night. If you’re eating out, bypass Saint Michel’s €10 three course dinners and head over to Montmartre or a side street off Rue Mouffetard, which both boast some gorgeous bistros.
Or if you’re after a quick bite, grab a falafel in Le Marais – Paris’ thriving gay quarter.
Where to go
Once dinner is over, music is a necessity to picking your location. Techno is a Parisian favourite, but my personal bias lies in the indie scene, so my second homes include Pop In, which has all the feel of popping over to your mate’s for a bevvy, L’International in hipster haven Oberkampf, and Bus Palladium in Pigalle; all of which host live bands in their basement, the first two of which are free entry.
If geek glasses and flannel shirts aren’t your thing, there are marginally less in the bars that cluster near Bastille. Belleville is also a fairly untapped hotspot for cute little bars and bistros.
Before you prepare to bound through the bar doors, however, just be conscious of those notoriously strict Parisian bouncers. Whilst this can just mean they don’t let in large or single sex groups, in venues such as the clubs near the Champs-Elysees, they’ll scrutinise anything from the size of your wallet to your shoes.
What to drink
Location and music sorted, drinks are a necessity. Red wine or mojitos are commonly the drink of choice but even avid beer-drinkers can find their fill here. Hop, skip and jump past the Irish and Australian themed bars though, as there are plenty of much nicer watering holes to be found.
Note that happy hour is usually over by 9pm and drinking in Paris is generally expensive, even by this Londoner’s standards, so it’s best to line up the glasses beforehand.
When your feet are start flagging, be aware that it’s near enough an impossibility to find a taxi between when the Métro closes and opens, so come 1:30am, unless you’re a night bus pro, you could shortly find yourself ‘forced’ to party till the dawn of the first Métro, or face the walk home.
But Paris is small, remember, so this isn’t always the impossible-sounding task it appears.
Brits tend to finish their nights with a greasy kebab. Instead, satisfy your post party hunger pangs with a crêpe, whose stalls are as common as UK corner shops. Bon appetite!
Want to win a trip to Paris? Like us on Facebook to enter our Love Paris giveaway (to September 30th 2011). The prize includes a Paris hotel stay and activity for two, plus £150/€170 travel vouchers to make the return journey.
About the author: Kate Ross is a London-born freelance journalist and former resident of Jakarta who came to Paris to intern at the International Herald Tribune. She now spends her days exploring the city, embracing her inner bobo and blogging about it all at Open up my Eager Eyes.