Monday, August 19, 2013

Paris at Night

Needless to say, living in Paris for a year I definitely got to know my way around the nightlife, learning quite a few things along the way. The other au pairs I met & the French friends I made would usually spend our weekends relaxing Friday nights (after a day at school & looking after the kids), sightseeing Saturday & staying out until 6am the next morning, when the first train came back to Versailles. Some Sunday mornings I would arrive home as late as 9 or 10am & let's just say it was rare that I would spend my Sundays sightseeing. By Sunday night the hangover would finally wear off & we'd usually just try out a new restaurant or see a show.

I can't say that I regret the amount of time I spent in pubs, bars & clubs (or the money I spent!) because the people I met along the way & the experiences I had really let me get to know the true Paris at night. I have to admit I became quite the wino as well, which is a plus in my eyes. I thought I'd just write about some of our favourite places & throw in a few tips along the way, as I can't even count the amount of Facebook messages I've gotten from friends asking where to go for drinks during their stays in Paris. I've narrowed my list of about 25 down to 6, and of course these are personal preferences! If you're planning a trip to Paris & want some more ideas don't hesitate to contact me, as I can definitely go into more detail depending on your nightlife style!

P.S. Excuse the photos, most of them were taken in a drunken blur
(no judging!)

Fête de la Musique

Essential to a night out in Paris, basically the only way I ever afforded my nights every weekend. Decent wine is fairly cheap, visit Monoprix for a bottle & enjoy. Basically anywhere in Paris is game for pre-drinking, laws never seemed to be too strict & there were always other young people roaming around to drink with... (I promise you it's not as sketchy as it sounds).

Depending on where you go, casual is fine, but one thing I definitely learned about Parisian dressing is to cover up more than you normally would. Back home in Canada I would go out in a tight strapless dress & 6 inch stilettos (yes classy I know), but in Paris I would add say a tailored blazer & possibly even tights to this look. Trust me ladies, this isn't just to blend in with the Parisian fashion crowd, it's also for your own safety! Countless times my friends & I have been put into less than welcome situations due to own sheer lack of knowledge. Also, there are quite a few places in Paris (mostly just clubs), where you are expected to dress your best, or be faced with rejection at the door. Do not take this personally! It literally can just depend on the bouncer's mood that night.

O'Sullivans Rebel Bar... A bartender/former boyfriend 

O'Sullivans Rebel: Pub
Prices: **
10 Rue des Lombards
My favourite O'Sullivans in Paris, this one has a grungy vibe & is home to some of the coolest bartenders & most laid back people. They also have badass live bands usually once every or every other weekend, with fair prices for cover. You have the option of sitting upstairs at the bar or downstairs amongst solid oak tables, service is great either way. If you ever stop in here please say hello for me, the owner is a total sweetheart!


The Highlander: Pub
Prices: **
8 Rue de Nevers
Scottish pub great for relaxing & having a chat over pints. Drinks are moderately priced & great deals are to be found at happy hour. If you're looking to meet a lad from the U.K. this is the pub to drink at. Also very easy to navigate to from the Saint-Michel metro, even though it's semi-hidden in a side street.

Showcase: Club
Prices: ***
Port des Champs Elysées
Possibly our most frequented location, right on our RER C line located underneath a bridge, great house electro music with some well-known djs making appearances pretty often. Great for a night of dancing in your indie getup, though the prices can be steep! There is a guest list you can be put on for free cover if you call ahead, or know the right Frenchies. Dress to impress, bouncers can have off nights.

Café Oz: Bar
Prices: **
18 Rue Saint-Denis
Awesome Australian bar, also some really chill bartenders here, half of them being Australian themselves. Depending on the night, different drinks are on for cheap & shooters are always on for a good deal. During the week it's more of a pub & expect lots of dancing on weekends. I've danced on tables here many a time throughout my year, also the people are very friendly!

Canada Day @ The Great Canadian, of course!

The Great Canadian: Pub
Prices: **
25 Quai des Grands Augustins
Of course, I have to list my favourite Canadian pub. Half the bartenders are Canadian & some of the nicest people ever (though I'm probably biased). You can even find Canadian beer here! Have had way too many great times here & just to mention, if ever hungover in Paris, come here for the Canadian breakfast & see how us Canadians cure our hangovers. Probably the most real, heartiest food you can find in Paris, especially for breaky!... (Sorry Parisians, but I love my country's food & your baguettes just don't cut it when it comes to a hangover).

La Fée Verte: Absinthe Bar
Prices: ***
108 Rue de la Roquette
Unlike North American absinthe, this is the real stuff. Watch your absinthe being poured over sugar cubes into your glass & enjoy, but be careful this is much, much stronger than any absinthe you've had back home so please do not be that girl falling down the stairs in the metro on your way home... & yes, that was me. Somewhat of a ritzy crowd depending on the night, but there's always a good chance that there are good looking indie boys to be found at this bar.

New Years, Pre Les Grands Boulevards

Other Mentions:
❤  Les Grands Boulevards, can be pricey but a couple places worth taking a look at if you love crowds are Corcoran's & Le Rex.
❤  Fête de la Musique, along the Seine outdoors, great night out but only once a year!
❤  Les Furieux, another great bar offering absinthe & a punk/grunge scene, but do not let that intimidate you from going, some of the coolest people can be found here.


  1. As someone who is currently planning a not-too-distant trip to Paris, this was a really handy post to find - thanks!

    I can already hear the Absinthe bar calling me...

    1. Awesome to hear! & you will not regret that absinthe bar, probably one of my favourite locations in all of Paris, either La Fée Verte or Les Furieux.
      Les Furieux is only about a block or so further too so if you do one, you must do both! ;) x