No matter what kind of nightlife you're looking for, you can find it in Paris. From creative restaurant bars to techno clubs, the best Paris nightlife appeals to the rich and famous and traveling hipsters alike. Looking for swanky Paris hotel bars? Start at Bar Hemingway at the Ritz. Timeless cocktails? Try Harry's New York Bar. Celeb-spotting clubs? Head to the area around the Champs-Élysées, such as Le Baron (it helps if you're a celeb yourself, as door policies can be brutal). Salsa is all over the city, along with tango, tea dancing, and well, you name it.
Performing arts play a big role in the best Paris nightlife, including theatre and comedy productions (mostly in French) along with classical music, opera, ballet, and cabarets.
Paris nightlife has included a long and illustrious tradition of jazz. The most atmospheric clubs include New Morning, and the dungeon-like medieval cellars, Caveau de la Huchette, where you might find swing, Dixieland, blues—even disco.
Because the city has such a high, village-like residential density, noise pollution restricts the live and electronic music scene found in many night clubs. But Paris night clubs do exist: in addition to those reviewed on this site, good bets include the central Le Social Club, and the recently re-opened La Flèche d'Or, hosting emerging bands and electronica in an abandoned railway station.
On the banks of Canal St-Martin, this massive graffiti- and mural-covered concrete complex is Paris’s coolest creative hub. Art exhibitions and installations are put on by its artists-in-residents, who hang out at its chilled restaurant and bar. But it's best known for its farsighted music policy, with an impressive record of breaking DJ and musician talent from across the city, country, continent and beyond. You can also catch gigs by established artists, and sometimes seriously big names who drop in unexpectedly to do secret warm-up gigs. If you're looking to take home with you some musical inspiration Point Ephemere is one of the best Paris bars to hear up and coming and breakout artists.
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The Marais has scads of pavement terraces for apéros but once you're ready for something more, where do you go? For a mixed crowd of Parisian hipsters, it's this tiny place on a narrow backstreet, often acclaimed as one of the best Paris bars, where guest and resident DJs keep things cranking until 2AM (except Sunday and Monday when it's closed).
Andy Wahloo means 'I have nothing' in Arabic, and these days it's more apt than it once was, after stripping back some of its North African decor. The North African theme is still here, though, owing to its origins as a bar for diners to wait for their table at the owners' North African restaurant 404 next door. Andy also has an in-house bar food menu as well as a cocktail list that includes its Wahloo Special, made with rum, banana liqueur and ginger beer.
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In the heart of the right bank, the Rex has a mythical status among Parisian clubbers since Laurent Garnier started the French electronic music revolution here. Nearly two decades on, the first dedicated techno club is still the best Paris club to catch the crème de la crème of international DJs, with a phenomenal multi-diffusion 70-speaker sound system.
The Paris night club is housed in the former ballroom of the iconic Art Deco cinema Le Grand Rex, so a lower-key option is to take in a first-release movie instead (films in their original languages, including English, are labeled VO—version originale). If you're traveling with kids (or feel like being one for a while), the cinema also has a fantastic sensor-guided behind-the-scenes tour giving you an interactive insight into movie-making.
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Moored near the glass-towered national library Bibliothèque François Mitterrand in the city's increasingly hip 13th arrondissment, Paris’s original floating nightclub is this fire-engine-red former lighthouse boat, the 1955 LV Osprey. La Batofar is consistently named as one of the best Paris nightlife spots, but not only for the unique atmosphere. Its entertainment program ranges from DJ sets and electro-centered live concerts to after-parties in its club in the below the Seine's surface.
Even by day, Le Batofar is a popular Parisian haunt, with a bar up on deck and a restaurant (open both lunch and dinner) serving seafood, of course, as part of its moderately priced menu.
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It's impossible to mention this Paris club/concert venue without mentioning the belle époque, booth-filled Café Charbon next door, which is consistently the best Paris bar along rue Oberkampf (and there are dozens here, so that's no faint praise). Café Charbon's owners established Nouveau Casino a decade-or-so ago, but its origins as an entertainment venue go way back. In the 19th century the space was a concert-café, becoming a cinema for decades.
Now back to its roots, Nouveau Casino's adventurous programming includes concerts, club nights and parties geared around rock and electronica, along with multimedia projections and exhibitions - the variety makes it one of the best Paris nightlife spots. So you might catch anything from New Zealand reggae dub legends the Black Seeds to New York post-hardcore rockers Glassjaw, as well as experimental DJs.
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