In Paris, New Year’s Eve (called le Réveillon de St. Sylvestre) can feel like pure magic. While the French typically celebrate by sitting down to a sumptuous feast – inevitably featuring delights such as foie gras, raw oysters and champagne – the City of Light offers endless other ways to ring in the New Year in style.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic night for two or an action-packed night around town, here are 19 ideas for making this New Year’s Eve in Paris memorable:
1. Sip champagne from flute glasses at Le Dokhan’s Bar. It has one of the largest and most eclectic lists of champagne in the capital, making it a favorite among Parisians.
2. Stay at the charming Duquesne Hotel. Make sure you get a room with a balcony facing the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower and order champagne to your room.
3. Take a nighttime Seine River cruise on the Bateaux Parisien and glide by the world’s most famous illuminated monuments.
4. For popping music and high-energy dancing, go dancing at Queen Club Paris on the Champs Elysées. A classic and gay-friendly night spot, Queen is Paris’ most famous club and attracts internationally renown DJs and an enthusiastic crowd. On New Year’s Eve, the entrance cover is a pricey €50, including 2 drinks.
5. Visit a more branché (trendy) dance scene at Nouveau Casino on one of the hippest streets in town, rue Oberkamp. On New Year’s Eve, the theme is: “The Golden Years of Hip-Hop and Jazzeffiq” Jazeffiq is well-known collection of Parisian musical artists and DJs, guaranteed to keep you on your feet.
6. Take a whirl at the free ice rink on the Eiffel Tower’s first floor, open daily from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm.
7. Want to experience a French masked costume ball? Check out the annual Bal Masqué at the Theatre de St. Germain on New Year’s Eve. Entry is €50, including an open bubbly bar. Masks provided at the door, in case you forget your own.
8. Trek up the Montmarte hill to reach the Sacré Coeur basilica. Sit on the basilica stairs with the buskers and lovers and other Paris-struck people and feast your eyes on the city below.
9. Would a soirée of Edith Piaf songs hit the right notes? French singer Caroline Nin’s bilingual “Hymne à Piaf” at the 13th century Essaion Theater promises to be an original evening. Unlimited champagne and canapés on New Year’s Eve will add to the atmosphere.
10. Get tickets to see the Moulin Rouge, a typical cabaret and the birthplace of the can-can dance (warning: this is old-school French-style – the dancers are topless). Seating is very limited at the point, so you’d better hurry.
11. Catch an American movie classic at the Action Cinema on a small cozy street in the 6th arrondissement. On New Year’s Eve, it’s showing the 1957 classic “Silk Stockings” starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Films are in English with French subtitles.
12. After the film stroll over to Café de Flore, just a few blocks away, for a glass of bubbly. Soak in the vibes of famous authors like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir who still haunt its walls.
Mingle with the locals
13. Head to the Place de la Bastille, where there’s a fair, complete with thrilling amusement park rides, arcade games, candy apples, crêpes, and sugar-covered churros (fried dough). The metro is free from 5 pm on December 31 until noon on January 1, so feel free to hang out as long as you like.
14. Pack a picnic and join the crowds reveling on the grassy Champs de Mars to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle at midnight. Sneak a bottle of champagne with you – you’re not supposed to drink alcohol on the Champs de Mars, but the police are likely to turn a blind eye on New Year’s Eve.
15. If you want to be swept into the intensity and excitement of an immense crowd, head over to the the Champs Elysées. It’s being converted into a giant pedestrian zone for the night (and all of the next day) and is guaranteed to have an electric atmosphere.
16. The Bistrot Belhara, an upscale bistro in the 7th arrondissement, is haled by restaurant critic Alexander Lobrano as offering food that is “casually elegant, technically perfect, and respectfully traditional with a tweak of irreverence.” Plus, he says, it’s fun to people-watch the French bourgeoise in their element.
17. For a grander seafood dinner, head to the Brasserie Julien in the 10th arrondissement, known for its stunning art nouveau style and excellent traditional cuisine.
18. Want a restaurant with a view? The famous La Tour d’Argent offers a magnificent view of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Seine river. Classic, elegant and pricey, with extraordinary food, this Michelin starred restaurant rarely fails to delight.
19. For panoramic views of the city, check out Le Ciel de Paris restaurant at the top of the Montparnasse tower. From there you can enjoy both fantastic French cuisine and the breathtaking sight the glittering Eiffel Tower.
How will you spend this New Year’s Eve in Paris? Share below! Bonne Année!