Best Things to Do in Paris at Night: Top 12 Nighttime Activities

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Paris at Night
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Discover the coolest things to do in Paris at night with our curated guide on the city’s most enchanting evening activities. From the mesmerizing lights of the Eiffel Tower to the romantic Seine River cruises and the lively atmosphere of Montmartre, we’ve got your after-dark adventures covered. Get ready to experience the nocturnal magic of Paris like never before!

Welcome to Paris at night, a time when the city truly comes alive! If you think Paris is beautiful by day, wait until you see it under the stars. As a city that never sleeps, the options for nighttime adventures are endless and exhilarating. From the iconic Eiffel Tower lighting up the skyline to the cozy corners of local bistros, there’s something magical waiting around every corner.

In this guide, I’m taking you through the coolest places to visit in Paris at night. I’ve explored these spots myself and can tell you, they’re not to be missed. Whether you’re here for romance, culture, or just to soak up the Parisian night air, I’ve got you covered. We’ll cruise down the Seine, wander through historic streets, and discover spots that will make your Parisian nights unforgettable.

So, grab your most comfortable shoes, and let’s embark on a journey through the vibrant Parisian night!

12 Things to Do at Night in Paris

Experience the excitement of the city after dark with our guide to the best things to do in Paris at night. From lively entertainment to quiet spots for reflection, Paris’s nighttime offerings are as diverse as they are captivating.

1. See the Eiffel Tower at Night

When considering what to see in Paris at night, the Eiffel Tower undoubtedly tops the list. There’s something truly magical about this iconic structure when it’s illuminated against the night sky. Every hour, on the hour, the tower sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights, creating a spectacle that’s both romantic and awe-inspiring.

My personal tip? Find a spot on the Champ de Mars or along the Seine River for the best views. The light show lasts for about five minutes, so be ready with your camera, but don’t forget to take a moment just to enjoy it.

For an even more memorable experience, consider a late-night visit to the tower itself. The crowds are thinner, and the city views from the top are breathtaking. The last elevator ride up is typically around 11 PM, but check in advance as times can vary.

Dining at one of the tower’s unique restaurants in Paris, like the 58 Tour Eiffel or the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne, is another fantastic option. Imagine sipping champagne while overlooking the City of Lights – it’s an experience you won’t forget!

Remember, the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Parisian elegance and a must-visit for anyone exploring Paris things to do at night.

Seeing the Eiffel Tower is one of the best things to do in Paris at night.
At night, the Eiffel Tower’s illuminated beauty captivates with sparkling lights, a romantic spectacle in Paris.

2. Take a Romantic Seine River Cruise

One of the best Paris nighttime experiences is undoubtedly a Seine River cruise. As the city lights reflect off the water, you’ll glide past some of Paris’s most iconic landmarks in a way you’ve never seen them before.

I recommend choosing an evening cruise where you can witness the sunset and the city lights turning on. It’s a perfect blend of romance and sightseeing. Many cruises offer dinner or a glass of wine, adding to the ambiance. My personal favorite is a glass-top boat cruise. It offers an unobstructed view of the night sky and the illuminated city.

As you float under the historic bridges and past the majestic Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and of course, the Eiffel Tower, you’ll feel the magic of Paris enveloping you. Don’t miss the chance to snap some photos, but also take time to simply soak in the views.

For a more intimate experience, opt for a smaller boat. And here’s a tip: some cruises offer audio guides in multiple languages, giving you a glimpse into the history and stories behind the landmarks you’re admiring.

A Seine River cruise offers a journey through the heart of Paris and is a must-do for anyone looking for romantic things to do in Paris at night.

A Parisian nighttime must: a Seine River cruise, revealing iconic landmarks amid shimmering city lights on the water.
A Parisian nighttime must: a Seine River cruise, revealing iconic landmarks amid shimmering city lights on the water.

3. Explore the Montmartre District

Ever wondered where to go in Paris at night for a blend of art, history, and vibrant street life? Montmartre is your answer! This bohemian district, known for its artistic history, transforms into a lively hub at night, offering a different perspective compared to the daytime.

Start your exploration at the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, sitting atop a hill with stunning views of the city lights. As night falls, the steps of Sacré-Cœur become a popular gathering spot. Join locals and tourists alike for impromptu music sessions or simply enjoy the panoramic view of Paris.

Stroll through the winding streets and you’ll find a plethora of cozy cafes and bars. My personal recommendation is to try a traditional French bistro for an authentic Parisian culinary experience. Don’t miss the chance to visit Place du Tertre, where artists display their work and the artistic spirit of old Montmartre is still alive.

For a unique experience, visit the Montmartre vineyard, a hidden gem in Paris that many tourists overlook. Although it’s not open late, a late afternoon visit before exploring the rest of the district can be quite special.

In Montmartre, cap off your night with a visit to a local cabaret or a jazz bar for an authentic slice of Parisian nightlife. Don’t forget to indulge in a late-night crepe from a street vendor, the perfect treat to savor as you reflect on the evening’s adventures in this artistic enclave.

Experience Montmartre in Paris—an artistic and historic hub that transforms into a lively district.
Experience Montmartre in Paris—an artistic and historic hub that transforms into a lively district.

4. Attend a Cabaret Show

Imagine a night filled with dazzling performances and a touch of old-world glamour – that’s what a Parisian cabaret offers. It’s a must-do for a taste of the city’s vibrant entertainment scene, and a highlight among fun things to do at night in Paris.

The Moulin Rouge is a classic choice. I advise booking your tickets well in advance and choosing a package that includes dinner for a truly immersive experience. The show, with its iconic can-can dance, is a spectacle of color and energy.

For something more modern and edgy, head to the Crazy Horse. The performances here are a mix of art and seduction, with incredible light shows. It’s a smaller venue, so every seat feels close to the action.

If you’re in Montmartre, don’t miss Le Lapin Agile. This is a historic spot that offers a cozy, authentic cabaret experience. It’s less touristy and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The performers often interact with the audience, making it a memorable night.

After the show, why not continue your night at a nearby Parisian café? Many spots around the cabaret venues stay open late, offering the perfect opportunity to discuss the show over a nightcap or a late-night snack. This is a great way to mingle with locals and other travelers, sharing impressions and soaking up the Parisian night atmosphere.

Catch the iconic Moulin Rouge show—book ahead for dinner packages offering an immersive experience.
Catch the iconic Moulin Rouge show—book ahead for dinner packages offering an immersive experience.

5. Visit the Louvre at Night

Experiencing the Louvre at night is a whole different adventure and is among the coolest things to do in Paris at night. The world’s largest art museum takes on a quieter, more mystical atmosphere after dark, allowing you to appreciate its treasures without the usual crowds.

On Wednesday and Friday evenings, the Louvre extends its hours. This makes it the perfect time for a more intimate exploration of its vast collections. Imagine standing in front of the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo with fewer people around. It’s a rare opportunity to connect with these masterpieces on a deeper level.

I recommend starting your visit with the lesser-known exhibits first, as they tend to be quieter. Save the popular ones for later in the evening when the crowds thin out even more. Also, don’t miss the chance to see the Louvre Pyramid lit up at night. It’s a breathtaking sight and offers a perfect photo opportunity.

Remember to check the museum’s schedule before your visit, as night openings can vary. A nighttime visit to the Louvre isn’t just about seeing art. It’s about experiencing one of the world’s most famous museums in a unique and serene setting.

Louvre is the world's largest art museum turns tranquil, letting you enjoy its treasures without the usual crowds.
Louvre is the world’s largest art museum turns tranquil, letting you enjoy its treasures without the usual crowds.

6. Stroll Along the Champs-Élysées

Next up on our list of Paris nighttime activities is a leisurely stroll along the famous Champs-Élysées. This iconic avenue, known for its theatres, cafés, and luxury shops, transforms into a vibrant display of lights and energy at night.

Starting from the Place de la Concorde and walking towards the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll experience the unique buzz of Parisian nightlife. The storefronts of high-end boutiques are a spectacle in themselves, beautifully lit and showcasing the latest fashion.

Don’t miss the opportunity to stop at one of the avenue’s many cafés or bistros for a coffee or a late-night snack. People-watching from a café terrace here is an activity in itself, offering a glimpse into the lives of locals and tourists alike.

If you’re a fan of photography, the Champs-Élysées at night provides countless opportunities for stunning shots, with the Arc de Triomphe beautifully illuminated in the background. It’s a walk that combines luxury, history, and the lively spirit of Paris.

For a unique end to your Champs-Élysées stroll, venture just off the main avenue to discover some hidden gems. One of my personal favorites is the small, charming Rue de Berri, a short walk from the main hustle and bustle. Here, you’ll find quaint bistros and quieter spots to enjoy a glass of wine or a late-night dessert. It’s a delightful contrast to the grandeur of the Champs-Élysées and offers a more intimate glimpse into Parisian life.

At night, stroll the Champs-Élysées: a vibrant display of lights and energy, known for its theaters, cafés, and luxury shops.
At night, stroll the Champs-Élysées: a vibrant display of lights and energy, known for its theaters, cafés, and luxury shops.

7. Wander Through the Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter, with its historical charm and vibrant energy, is one of the best places to visit in Paris at night, hands down. This neighborhood, known for its intellectual and artistic heritage, comes alive after dark with an eclectic mix of activities.

Start your exploration at the Panthéon, marveling at its illuminated façade. Then, meander through the narrow streets like Rue Mouffetard, where you’ll find a variety of cozy cafes and lively bars. This area is perfect for experiencing the local student life, as it’s close to several universities.

For book lovers, a late-night visit to Shakespeare and Company, the famous English-language bookstore, is a must. It’s a magical place, especially in the evening when it’s less crowded. Sometimes, they even host after-hours readings or events.

Don’t forget to try some local delicacies at the bistros in the area. I recommend trying the French onion soup at a traditional brasserie. It’s a classic Parisian dish that tastes even better after a night of exploring.

For a truly local experience in the Latin Quarter, venture towards the lesser-known Rue des Écoles after your exploration. This street is often overlooked by tourists but is a favorite among locals. Here, you’ll find a quaint, less crowded atmosphere and some hidden gems. One such place is a small patisserie known for its exquisite macarons and pastries – a perfect treat to enjoy as you stroll.

The Latin Quarter in Paris: vibrant at night, rich in history, and bustling with artistic energy.
The Latin Quarter in Paris: vibrant at night, rich in history, and bustling with artistic energy.

8. Explore the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Île de la Cité

Ever wondered what the heart of Paris feels like at night? Exploring the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the surrounding Île de la Cité is the perfect way to find out. This island in the middle of the Seine River is where Paris began, and its nighttime ambiance is nothing short of magical.

While the Notre-Dame Cathedral currently closes to visitors at 6:45 PM and is undergoing restoration due to the tragic fire in 2019, its exterior at night is still a breathtaking sight. The lighting beautifully highlights its Gothic architecture, offering a poignant reminder of its historical significance. French officials have announced that Notre-Dame is expected to reopen to the public in December 2024.

As you wander through the Île de la Cité, you’ll discover charming streets, quaint shops, and the stunning Sainte-Chapelle. This area is less crowded at night, allowing for a more leisurely exploration. Be sure to walk along the Seine for some of the most picturesque views of Paris by night.

A hidden gem here is the Marché aux Fleurs, a flower market by day that transforms into a serene spot at night. It’s a little oasis of calm in the heart of the city and a lovely place to take a quiet break.

Exploring this area at night offers a unique perspective on Paris’s history and beauty. It’s a place I recommend to everyone wondering what to do in Paris at night.

Discover the nighttime magic at Notre-Dame Cathedral and Île de la Cité, the historic heart of Paris along the Seine River.
Discover the nighttime magic at Notre-Dame Cathedral and Île de la Cité, the historic heart of Paris along the Seine River.

9. Enjoy a Drink with a View at a Rooftop Bar

Le Perchoir is where Paris’s nightlife hits new heights – literally! This rooftop bar in the Ménilmontant neighborhood is a buzzing spot that offers some of the best views in Paris. Picture yourself lounging with a cocktail in hand, the Parisian skyline stretching out before you.

Tucked away atop an old industrial building, Le Perchoir is a local secret. It’s the kind of place you’d be thrilled to stumble upon. From here, you can spot landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur, all lit up against the night sky.

The vibe at Le Perchoir is effortlessly cool. Think twinkling lights, comfy seats, and a crowd that’s always ready for a good time. The cocktails? They’re a mixologist’s dream – creative, colorful, and delicious. My tip: ask the bartender for their latest concoction and prepare to be wowed.

One of the most fun places to visit in Paris, Le Perchoir often hosts live DJ sets, turning the rooftop into a dance floor under the stars. To snag the best spot, get there early or make a reservation. It’s the perfect way to kick off a night of Paris nighttime activities – with a view that’s hard to beat.

Le Perchoir offers unparalleled Paris views—a buzzing rooftop spot for drinks with the city skyline as your backdrop.
Le Perchoir offers unparalleled Paris views—a buzzing rooftop spot for drinks with the city skyline as your backdrop.

10. Visit a Night Market

Paris isn’t just about daytime charm. Its night markets are a bustling hub of activity and a feast for the senses. One of the best ways to experience the local culture and cuisine is to visit a night market, where the city’s vibrant energy truly comes to life. It’s a must for anyone considering what to do in Paris at night for free.

Among the various night markets, the Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais district stands out. It’s the oldest covered market in Paris, dating back to 1615, and transforms into a lively spot in the evenings. Here, you can wander through stalls offering everything from fresh produce to international cuisine. It’s a great place to grab a bite, with options ranging from Moroccan tagines to Japanese sushi.

Don’t miss the chance to try some traditional French street food. My personal favorite is the crêpes, which you’ll find being made fresh at several stalls. Pair it with a glass of local wine for a truly Parisian experience.

The atmosphere at these night markets is electric. You’ll find locals and tourists alike mingling, enjoying live music, and soaking up the unique Parisian nightlife. It’s one of the more unique things to do at night in Paris which I recommend to everyone in the city.

The Marché des Enfants Rouge offers a diverse array of international cuisine stalls for a delightful evening meal.
The Marché des Enfants Rouge offers a diverse array of international cuisine stalls for a delightful evening meal.

11. Catch a Performance at the Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier, an architectural masterpiece, offers more than just its stunning façade. Attending a performance here is a dive into the opulence and grandeur of Parisian culture and is undoubtedly one of the best Paris nightlife experiences.

This opera house, known for its lavish interior and intricate details, hosts a variety of performances, from ballet to classical concerts. The experience of watching a world-class performance in such a historic setting is truly mesmerizing. The acoustics are phenomenal, and the ambiance is something you can’t find anywhere else.

Before the show, take a moment to admire the grand staircase and the famous Chagall-painted ceiling. It’s like stepping into a different era. Dressing up for the evening adds to the experience, making you feel part of the elegance that the Palais Garnier embodies.

For a special treat, book a behind-the-scenes tour to explore areas usually closed to the public. It’s a unique opportunity to see the intricate workings of one of the world’s most famous opera houses.

Attending a performance at the Palais Garnier is an unforgettable experience that immerses you in the artistic and cultural heart of Paris. It’s a must-do for anyone eager to experience the city’s vibrant arts scene in one of its most iconic venues.

At the Palais Garnier, beyond its stunning façade, attending a performance immerses you in Parisian opulence and grandeur.
At the Palais Garnier, beyond its stunning façade, attending a performance immerses you in Parisian opulence and grandeur.

12. Embark on a Guided Photography Tour

Paris at night is a photographer’s dream. The city’s landmarks and hidden corners take on a new life under the moonlight. To capture this beauty, why not embark on a guided photography tour? It’s a fantastic way to explore Paris at night while improving your photography skills.

These tours are led by professional photographers who know the city inside out. They’ll take you to the best spots for night photography, from the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower to the charming streets of Montmartre. You’ll learn how to make the most of your camera settings in low light conditions, ensuring you take home stunning photos.

What’s great about these tours is that they’re suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, you’ll find valuable tips and insights. Plus, it’s a unique way to see the city through a different lens – both literally and figuratively.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a professional camera. Many tours can accommodate smartphone photographers, showing you how to use your device to capture breathtaking night shots. Hands down, it’s one of the coolest things to do in Paris at night!

Capture Paris at night on a guided photography tour to explore its enchanting beauty while honing your skills.
Capture Paris at night on a guided photography tour to explore its enchanting beauty while honing your skills.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Paris at Night:

Are you keen to expand your knowledge of the best things to do in Paris at night? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the best nighttime activities in Paris.

How do you spend a night in Paris?

Spending a night in Paris can be a magical experience. Start with a leisurely dinner at a classic Parisian bistro – try the Marais or Latin Quarter for a mix of traditional and trendy spots. After dinner, a stroll along the Seine River is a must, especially when the city lights reflect beautifully on the water. If you’re up for more, catch a late-night show at a cabaret like the Moulin Rouge or enjoy a drink at a rooftop bar like Le Perchoir for stunning city views. Paris at night is about embracing the city’s romantic and vibrant atmosphere, so keep your plans flexible and soak in the ambiance.

Can you walk in Paris at night?

Absolutely! Walking in Paris at night is not only safe but also one of the best ways to experience the city’s charm. Neighborhoods like Montmartre and the Champs-Élysées are particularly lively and beautiful after dark. Just remember to stay in well-lit, populated areas and be aware of your surroundings, as you would in any major city.

Is Paris good for a night out?

Paris is fantastic for a night out! The city offers a diverse nightlife scene, from cozy wine bars and jazz clubs to bustling nightclubs. For a unique experience, try a Seine River cruise at night or visit a historic jazz club in the Latin Quarter. No matter your taste, Paris at night has something to offer everyone.

Illuminated Parisian bridge spanning the Seine River at night
Illuminated Parisian bridge spanning the Seine River at night

What time do bars shut in Paris?

Most bars in Paris close around 2 AM, but some can stay open as late as 5 AM, especially in lively areas like Bastille or Oberkampf. It’s always a good idea to check the closing times of specific bars you plan to visit, as they can vary.

What time does the Eiffel Tower light up?

The Eiffel Tower lights up every evening from sunset to 1 AM. Additionally, there’s a sparkling light show for five minutes every hour on the hour after sunset. It’s a spectacular sight and a must-see when in Paris.

Is the Paris metro free at night?

The Paris metro is not free at night. You’ll need a valid ticket or pass to travel. However, the service runs until around 1:15 AM on weekdays and around 2:15 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. This makes it a convenient way to get around the city at night. Remember to check the last train times to avoid getting stranded.

Wrapping Up the Best Things to Do in Paris at Night

Paris at night is an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left. Each corner of the city offers its own unique French charm and adventure. For me, the highlight is always a late-night walk along the Seine River. There’s something about the way the lights dance on the water and the landmarks glow against the night sky that feels like pure magic. It’s a simple pleasure, but it captures the essence of Paris beautifully.

Whether you’re exploring the lively night markets, enjoying a show at the Palais Garnier, or capturing the city’s beauty on a photography tour, Paris at night is sure to enchant you. My advice? Let the city’s nighttime allure guide you, and you’ll find your own favorite memory to cherish.

The top things to do in Paris at night for all types of travelers
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