Paris after dark: the ultimate guide to nightlife

Paris after dark: the ultimate guide to nightlife

If you’re staying up late in Paris, you’re in for a treat. The French capital comes to life when the sun sets – this is the City of Light, after all – and as the cafés and restaurants begin to close, the bars and clubs throw open their doors.  

If you’re planning a trip, it’s worth knowing that the city is split into 20 arrondissements, or neighbourhoods, which fan out either side of the Seine. If you’re starting your night in Montmartre – in the 18th arrondissement on the outskirts – you might not fancy trekking over to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th, for example, on the other side of the river (although we salute you if you do).  

Both areas have a thriving nightlife scene of their own, and there are plenty more to pick from. So, take a look at our guide to some of the Paris nightlife scenes you won’t want to miss, and start planning your ultimate night out. 


The Marais 

Super central Le Marais spreads across both the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the Right Bank of the Seine. And along with next-door Les Halles, it’s one of the city’s most buzzy areas at night. This is tourist central, so expect a total mix – everything from lively gay bars to sultry tango clubs – with an eclectic crowd to match. And while many places close in the early hours of the morning, there are some late-night hangouts for the night owls. Le Cud on Rue des Haudriettes is one of the most popular, thanks to a dancefloor in a vaulted cave and a closing time of 06.00 or 07.00am. 


Switch over to the Left Bank – pretty much directly opposite The Marais – and you’ll land in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Another central spot, this 6th arrondissement locale has a villagey vibe and spreads out around the good-looking Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. At night it’s another does-it-all destination, with everything from jazz clubs to proper pubs on tap. If you’re partial to rum, head for La Rhumerie on Boulevard Saint-Germain. This laidback bar serves an eye-watering selection of rum-based drinks and cocktails alongside Caribbean-style snacks and live music. 


Out out on a budget? Bastille’s got your back. It’s another Right Bank spot, where the 4th, 11th and 12th arrondissements meet, so it’s also super central. And as prices tend to be a little lower here it’s something of a student hotspot. Pick from live music venues, hip cocktail joints and under-the-radar wine bars. And don’t miss a trip to Moonshiner – the first speakeasy in Paris. In true prohibition style, it’s hidden away at the back of Pizza Da Vito restaurant – you’ll literally need to go through the walk-in fridge to find it – and a haven for jazz and whisky lovers.  


Two words: Moulin Rouge. Montmartre – in the 18th arrondissement – is home to the iconic Paris cabaret, which sits at the foot of the hill this area takes its name from. And a night of razzle dazzle here is something of a Paris rite of passage, even if you can only afford to go once. Beyond the high-kicking shenanigans though, Montmartre has loads more up its sleeve for a Parisian night out. The place draws a chilled, creative crowd, so we’re talking Instagrammable jazz clubs, proper pubs and laidback bars rather than into-the-wee-hours raves.     


Going properly off the tourist track? Try Belleville for a night out. Unpretentious café bars and graffiti-clad hangouts sum up the scene, and at places like Aux Folies the artsy crowd spills out onto the pavement. Sip a cocktail or three at Mino – the owner was crowned the world’s best mixologist, so expect mighty things – and go to a gig at La Java, where Edith Piaf started out. This place was built in the 1920s and it’s intimate, verging on tiny – so get here nice and early for a decent spot.   


Got a taste for a night out in Paris? 

Take a look at all our holidays to France. And for more ideas, check out 5 essential shopping spots in Paris. 

Looking for more articles? You’ll find them on the Inspire homepage 

Author: Katie Gregory

Last updated: 19/12/2023