Paris is known by many names: the city of love, and the city of lights. The city is, above all else, a true melting pot of fashion, art, and culture. It’s no surprise that, just like love and lights, the city comes alive at night. Join me and we’ll discover what makes Paris at night a euphoric experience.
From the breathtaking Paris monuments that characterise the city, the capital of France is no stranger to many travellers’ bucket lists. But, if you fail to include the surreal Parisian nightlife, you stand the chance of missing out on some truly unique experiences.
So get comfortable, put on your best barrette, and let’s discover Paris at night.
27 Amazing Things to Do in Paris at Night
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There is nothing quite like exploring the city of Paris. Spending a few days here — with the perfect Paris itinerary, of course — is guaranteed to steal your heart.
While days in the city are exceptional, what you can do and experience in Paris at night will make your trip just that much better. Nights here add the je ne sais quoi one can only appreciate in person.
1. Find the Perfect Sunset Spot
It would be hard to imagine the perfect night in Paris starting with anything other than catching the otherworldly sunsets the city showcases. Watch the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower, or feast your eyes on the setting sun from a few other equally iconic places.
The Montparnasse Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Parvis du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre are just a few of the best spots in Paris to gaze at a sunset that will stick with you forever.
And check out my post on the best spots to catch the sunrise in Paris if you’re up for an early start.
2. Experience an Eiffel Tower Illumination
Although the highlight — or at least one of them — of any daytime adventure in Paris, watching the tower illuminate once the sun sets is pure magic. Easily one of the best things to do in Paris at night is feasting your eyes on the lights of the Eiffel Tower.
Whether standing at the tower’s base or viewing it from afar, the showcase that happens once an hour untill 1 am every night is spectacular. And while the lights dazzle your eyes, ask locals about some of the most interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower.
3. Go on a Cruise Down the Seine
Cruises down the Seine are a must for any trip to Paris. The best thing about undertaking one of the many cruise tours is that any time of day is a good time for one. However, at night, both the Seine and the Seine River sightseeing cruise take on a magical tone.
With the sights and sounds of Paris coming to life after dark, a cruise down the river provides panoramic views of the city’s landmarks and districts. And, as a bonus, you can enjoy an authentic French dinner.
4. Visit The Louvre
The Louvre Museum is a thing of beauty and one of the most famous museums in the world. The glass pyramid‘s immense amount of light shining from it like a beacon for travellers is what most people associate it with. It’s truly a sight to behold.
In the centre of the historical Royal Palace grounds, the museum extends its hours every Wednesday and Friday untill 9:45 pm. This makes it an ideal nighttime dive into the city’s artistic side.
Image by Edi Nugraha from Pixabay
5. Indulge in a Ballet Performance at the Opera
The Palais Garnier and the Opera de Bastille are the two main opera houses in the city, and Opera de Paris runs both. Although both showcase only the best of the best in ballet and opera, they are distinctly different.
The Palais Garnier is an 18th-century architectural marvel, while the Opera de Bastille is a contemporary 1980s opera house. Ballet performances here do tend to fill up quickly, so book your seat in advance to this gem of Parisian nightlife.
6. Catch a Cabaret Show at the Moulin Rouge
Synonymous with nights in Paris, seeing a cabaret show is simply a must. The almost legendary fame of the Moulin Rouge is a testimony as to why you should include it in your nighttime adventure.
you can find this iconic venue nestled in the Montmartre district. Shows run daily at 7 pm and 11 pm, but be warned: dinner show tickets sell quickly, so book yours early.
Image by Gio Scifano from Pixabay
7. Drift Down the Canal Saint Martin
While most flock to the Seine to experience Paris on a cruise down the river, Canal Saint Martin is the perfect alternative for those looking to head off the beaten track. The canal is lined by vibrant bars, romantic cafés, and mouth-watering restaurants.
Located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, this 19th-century canal is an idyllic spot for a dinner cruise or a simple sightseeing trip. Hopping off at any of the numerous hotspots along the canal is enticing.
8. Journey Up the Arc de Triomphe
For many, the Eiffel Tower is Paris’ crown jewel, but taking a stroll down to the Arc de Triomphe might cause a change of heart. Another of the most renowned monuments in the city, ascending this megalithic marvel rewards you with some of the most epic views of the city.
At night, views of the dazzling skyline — including the mesmerising lights of the Eiffel Tower in the distance — make a visit to this landmark a no-brainer. Lines are still long to get in, so opt for a skip-the-line ticket.
9. Venture Down into the Paris Catacombs
Yes, the lights of Paris at night are mind-blowing, but one of the more ‘underground’ (pun intended) activities in the city is a tour of the Paris Catacombs. It’s pretty eerie to descend into these tunnels that are lined with the skeletons of nearly six million Parisians.
Located beneath the former quarries of the city, the skeletons here were relocated from Paris’ cemeteries during the late 18th to mid-19th-centuries. Now, these tours take you through the tunnels, and, with a closing time of 8:30 pm, it’s the perfect early evening attraction.
Image by Ann B. from Pixabay
10. See an Opera Show at Opera Garnier
The Opera Garnier, like the Opera de Bastille mentioned earlier, isn’t just a feast for the eyes architecturally. It’s also the host venue for opera royalty. Many of the world’s most famous operas have been performed here, so booking a seat at one of them during your trip is a must.
Check the line-up for shows before booking, though, as the variety is insane. And if you don’t want to catch a performance, there are quite a few guided tours at night through the beautiful building.
11. Quench your Thirst at a Rooftop Bar
If there is one thing Parisians love, it’s wine. Other tantalising drinks are just as favoured in the city, and at night one of the best things you can do in Paris is indulge. And there are few places better to do so than the many rooftop bars that dot the city’s skyline.
Most of these rooftop bars sit comfortably atop some of the best hotels in Paris, and beyond the delectable drinks, you can take in unparalleled views of the city. Each bar also has a unique vibe, so there’s definitely one out there for every type of traveller.
12. Treat your Tastebuds
France (and Paris especially) has delivered some of the world’s most renowned and awarded chefs. This is proven by the more than 100 Michelin-star restaurants throughout the city serving up cuisine that easily ranks as the best in the world. Getting a seat at one of these eateries is a Parisian nighttime staple.
Guy Savoy in the 6th arrondissement, Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen in the gardens of the Champs Elysées, and Alain Ducasse on the banks of the Seine are standouts. Planning a dinner date at many of these restaurants will also unlock some tasty facts about French food guaranteed to spice up your trip.
Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay
13. Immerse Yourself in Parisian Film Culture
If you want to have a fantastic night out in Paris, catch a movie at one of the numerous theatres in the city. Some of these date back to the early 20th-century and thus feature beautiful architecture.
While many show the hottest new blockbusters, some showcase classical films in French (with subtitles, of course). Film culture is big in France, and experiencing it on a night out in Paris is a must.
14. Journey Down Rue Montorgueil
Rue Montorgueil is one of those extraordinary areas of Paris that bring together the best bars, restaurants, cafés, and shops. All, of course, are characterised by Parisian charm. Here you can grab a pastry from the oldest bakery in the city (Stoher), go wine tasting, and finish up with dinner.
If you want to experience the hustle and bustle of Paris, Rue Montorgueil spreads through the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, making it hard to miss.
15. Catch a Performance at Sainte Chapelle
With the sheer number of opera houses, theatres, and playhouses in Paris, it’s easy to overlook some valuable gems. Sainte Chapelle, however, isn’t easily missed. Putting on around 100 concerts throughout the year, here you’ll be delighted by some of the world’s best ensembles and soloists.
Its gothic architecture and stunning stained-glass windows are instantly recognisable. You’ll find this masterpiece of Parisian nightlife on the Île de la Cité in the middle of medieval Paris.
16. Take a Night Tour of Paris
This one is a no-brainer. While discovering Paris at night as a solo mission is exciting, guided tours of the city at night add so much more to your adventure. Most of these include knowledgeable guides sharing stories and info about many city highlights.
You’ll also get a much more profound reverence for the city and its title as the City of Lights while on one of these tours. With city bus tours, night bike tours, and even a night tour in a retro Citroën 2CV, you’re spoiled for choice.
17. Dip into the Piscine Pontoise
Exploring Paris can be pretty intensive, and going the extra mile to delve into the city’s hidden treasures could cause some exhaustion. So what better way to end a day of adventuring than with a nighttime swim? The Piscine Pontoise houses a massive indoor swimming pool under a stunning glass ceiling.
Located in the 5th arrondissement, this art-deco-styled building is the right place for a late-night swim. Open till midnight from Monday to Friday, there’s no reason not to take a dive.
18. Induge in the Parisian Nightlife
Celebrating life and having a good time is what everyone ultimately wants to do. This is very true for the French. Dancing the night away under neon lights, engulfed in music and spurred on by delicious drinks, Parisian nightclubs are out of this world.
Clubs such as La Java in the 10th arrondissement, La Machine du Moulin Rouge in the 18th, and Le Bus Palladium in the 9th are prime clubbing hotspots.
And depending on when you find yourself in Paris, music festivals such as Fête de la Musique in June, Grand Bal Masqué in June, and the Bal des Pompiers in July are worth your time.
19. Sip on Cocktails on the Seine
It’s no secret that the banks of the Seine are overflowing with unique places to visit when in Paris at night. But a truly eclectic experience is sipping delicious cocktails on one of its floating bars. While they slowly cruise along the river, it’s an easy pop-in-pop-out bar hopping adventure.
Some of the most famous péniches on the Seine include En Attendant Rosa at the Port des Invaldes and Le Wanderlust which you can find at 32 Quai d’Austerlitz.
Image by edmondlafoto from Pixabay
20. Be Mesmerised by the Palace Of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is an ode to the rich history of not just Paris but the entire country of France. During the day, visiting the palace is a treat. But the majestic and grandiose gardens take on new life at night.
Visitors to the compound grounds after dark are treated to a marvelous musical fountains display. Designed by Andre Le Notre, the numerous fountains put on a massive light show to the tune of classical Baroque music from April to October.
As if that isn’t enough to entice any visitor, a massive fireworks display takes place high above the Grand Canal right after. And while massive, the gardens are split across fifteen groves with connecting walkways, so you won’t easily get lost either.
21. Get Spooked by the Ghosts of Paris
It’s not only the catacombs underneath Paris that will get your sixth sense going mad. The city has a very rich and enormous history, and with that comes plenty of ghost and ghoul stories. Going for a guided ghost tour is an excellent addition to any Paris itinerary.
Highlights of the dark history of Paris include La Conciergerie (the dungeon where Marie Antoinette was held) and the prominent Palais du Justice. Taking a tour of these spooky sites will also showcase some fascinating facts about Paris you won’t hear anywhere else.
22. See the Funny Side of Parisian Life
There are a million ways to spend a night in Paris, and if opera or ballet shows aren’t what you’re after, why not split your sides laughing at a comedy show? Although there are numerous shows in French, there are quite a few in English that are very popular among tourists.
And if there is one thing people in Paris like to joke about, it’s life in Paris and being a Parisian. One of the most well-known comedy shows is the only one-woman show in Paris, “Oh My God, She is Parisian” by Julie Collas. Alternatively, learn how to become a Parisian in one hour at the Thêatre des Nouveautés in the 9th arrondissement.
23. Admire the Paris Skyline from the Galerie Lafayette
Paris is more than just an artistic, fashion-forward, and culturally vibrant city. It’s also the premiere European city for retail therapy. Galeries Lafayette is a picturesque blend of all of the city’s best elements. and a shopping experience you’ll never forget Keeping doors open till 8 pm every day allows you to ascend to the two outdoor rooftop terraces.
You can grab genuinely outstanding panoramic views of the Parisian skyline from any of these two, and it won’t cost you anything. The main building, which leads to the terraces, is on the corner of Boulevard Haussman and Rue de la Chaussee d’Antin.
Image by LFAES from Pixabay
24. Date Night on the Banks of the Seine
As such an integral part of the charm and allure of Paris, the Seine features on almost every guide to Paris. And while the city is an absolute treasure chest for solo travellers, tackling Paris with your significant other is just as enticing.
So why not enjoy yourself in one of the city of love’s most striking features? A date night on the banks of the Seine is the stuff most romantic blockbusters are made of. And with the number of patisseries and cafés lining the river, putting together a picnic basket is easy.
To end the perfect date night, stroll along the banks of the river and get lost in the sights, sounds, and vibe only the river at nighttime can offer.
25. Explore Montmartre
Montmartre lies within the hearts of every Parisian and any regular visitor to the city. At night the cobblestone alleyways, cascading and rolling paths, and iconic restaurants emanate with pure French bliss. A popular neighbourhood, Montmartre does attract massive crowds, but a midnight stroll through its streets is pure serenity.
Situated in the 18th arrondissement in the North of Paris, exploring Montmartre is also any history fanatics paradise. Steeped in rich Parisian history, it is one of the must-visit places in the city, especially at night.
Image by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay
26. Discover Paris’ Secret Bars
If you consider yourself a bar-hopper or connoisseur of nightlife destinations, Paris is the city to be. Now while the number of bars and clubs throughout the city can be dizzying, there is also an underground of secret bars and late-night hangout spots hidden in its streets.
Sleuthing your way into any of these bars is an immensely fun thing to do in Paris at night, and while they are a bit on the expensive side, it’s worth it. These haunts are known to feature some of the best craft cocktails you’ll find anywhere in the world.
Disguised as grocery stores or streetside eateries, these speakeasies are elusive. Lavomatic wears the mask of a typical launderette, and hidden behind a secret door in the one-aisle grocery store, sits L’Épicier.
27. Go Strolling Through Paris’ Covered Passages
The precursor to the modern-day shopping centre, the breathtaking covered passages of Paris are an absolute must during a trip around the city. These arcades consist of many unique and niche boutique stores that remain open just late enough to make them a nighttime favourite in the city.
Historically, the city was home to hundreds of these gems, but nowadays, only around two dozen are still in existence. If you plan on adding one or more to your itinerary, the Passage des Panoramas in the 9th arrondissement and Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd are standouts.
Get Ready to Fall in Love with Paris at Night
Every visitor to Paris garners indelible memories that remain with them forever. For many, these include the hustle and bustle of daytime life in the city of love, while others relish their memories of Paris at night.
As sure as the sun will set every day, the city of Paris will impress and inspire once it does dip below the horizon. The only thing you’ll have to do is choose which of the best things to do in Paris at night to add to your itinerary. And don’t stress if you can’t fit everything into one trip — the city of lights will welcome you back time and time again.
Discover what France is famous for (besides Paris) to make your next adventure the best one of your life.
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