Where to Party in Paris: Nightclubs and Bars
Paris is probably the worst city you can go to if you don't have friends and only a guide book for nightlife (and don't speak French), but ultimately the raddest city in the world. All the best guides to nightlife tend to be in le Francais (bless their souls for not being available to a billion tourists), so here is an easy to use English one to give you some direction when planning your baller night out. If you're an exchange student, as I was at the Po, you'll learn the ropes eventually, but until you find yourself that French lover to show you around, hold this guide close. (Read more on Erasmus)
The list is doubtlessly incomplete but a more than solid start for underground and trendy partying. If you're new to the blog, you can check out A Night In Paris to see if my scene is yours. With this list of clubs expect to find, Electro, Indie Rock, Minimal, Urban..that kind of thing. They are not categorized because you need to check out the event on the night you want to go. Depends. What NOT to expect from my guide is anywhere you'd find people like The Situation and Snookie lockin' lips. If top 40 is your thing then you don't need any guide to find that, just head to the Champs Elysée.
(Photo Credit: Ro)
2. Tips for a Night Out
3. Indie and Electro Clubs
4. Cheap and/or Hip Bars5. Useful Merde
2. Tips for a Night OutStyle counts. The best clubs in Paris are usually the hardest to get into. You gotta dress well. When I say well I don't mean your shortest skirt and your highst heels. More skin is not looked well upon in Paris. And it doesn't necessarily mean expensive clothes either but you have to be stylish. If you don't know what that means, get dressed with your hip friends or risk getting rejected. (Photo credit Right: So-me)
Demographics. Girl to guy ratios are extremely important for succeeding the entry test of a club. Always break your big group of friends into groups of 3-4 and try to have at least 1 female, if not more per group. If you're a pack of dudes trying to prowl these clubs in your ugly sneakers or comfortable Moses sandals, they will send you elsewhere.
Where NOT to Go. Avoid the Champs Elysee at all costs. Overpriced drinks and cover charges. It's where all the tourists flock to be because they do not know where else to go and consequently the local crowd tends to be sketchy and on the prowl for vulnerable English girls. The list below will help you avoid that.
Drink before. No matter which way you look at Paris, it's expensive for poor students and newly grads sans emploi like me. A cocktail or beer can be up to 10 euros and if you're extremely lucky around 5 euros. The wisest thing and most fun is to do a pre-game or "before" (with a exaggerated French accent) as they say in France with a 3 euro bottle of wine at the epicerie (the convenience stores) with your friends. If you really want to be like the French, in the summer drink along the Quai or on Pont des Arts and enjoy the Parisian nights, lights and ambiance before the clubs. Otherwise, party hard in a friend's apartment or anywhere you can with alcohol, even in the street or metro. Sounds horrible, but honestly the drinking in public standards are not the same in North America. Chill out. My best memories have been made that way, trust me.
Keep it classy too, night of the embassy fashion show. Lots of free Georgian wine led to an amazing soiree of culture, art and debauchy while partying.
3. Indie and Electro Clubs
Nouveau Casino (11th): Electro and minimal music with regular appearances from my former schoolmate DJ combo Les Radis Sangglants. Although I've left Paris a lot of the party invitations I get from friends indicates that I am missing a lot here!
109 Rue Oberkampf 75011 Paris, France
Le Regine(8th): Classy and trendy it spot. "The new Paris Paris". Thursdays are the nights to be there. Girls are free and dudes are 15 euros. Steep, I know, but worth it. Métro : Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, 49 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008
La Maroquinerie (20th): Highly recommended by Sciences-Po Parisian cool kidz. Kitsuné Maison Party was there and it always has great electro acts. If you go here and you're an exchange student or foreigner, the Parisians will be mega impressed. Metro: Gambetta. 23 Rue Boyer, 75020
Chez Moune (Pigalle): This is an old lesbian cabaret turned into a hipster night club and run by the people who do Le Baron (below). The crowd is student aged and the club is small and cozy which I always prefer to larger clubs (and I've missed since Paris Paris closed). Believe you me, this place is the cool of tomorrow. 54 rue pigalle 75009. Metro: Pigalle.
Social Club (2nd): One of the best in Paris to see the hypest names of electro music such as Busy P, Toxic Avenger, Sebastian. Went there for the opening night two years ago and it hasn't disappointed yet. Given the big names, the crowd can be a bit young sometimes and try-hard. They've just re-done the place too. Good times. You can see the original Social Club in the Lil'Fel Rocks the World Trailer video. Metro Bourse ou Gd Boulevards 142 rue Montmartre 75002
Social Club Opening 2008: Busy P, So-Me, SebastiAn
La Fleche D'or (20th): Completely different than it was two years ago. Electro and Indie stuff. Depends on the night. Saw DSL there. Metro: Gambetta. 102 Bis rue de Bagnolet 75020
Rex Club(2nd): Specialized in minimal electro. If you're down with that scene, here is the place to go. Metro: Bonne Nouvelle 5 Boulevard Poissonnière 75002
Showcase (7th): The club under the bridge. It's beautiful inside, great crowd, HUGE high ceilings. Dress well. Cover is about 10-15 euros but there is sometimes a guestlist you can get on for free cover.
Metro: Invalides: Under bridge Alexandre III, rive droite
The night I tried (unsuccessfully) to get an interview with Kavinsky at Showcase
Le Tigre (1st): This place is frickin' cool and one of the only clubs of its kind in Paris. Think Dance Cave (toronto) if it was in a beautiful and cozy establishment and mega hard to get into. Rock n Roll to Glam Rock. Expect to hear Arctic Monkeys, Beatles, The Smiths etc. Only thing is that it's not the easiest place to get into. "No effort, no entry." Metro: Pyramides. 5 rue Molière, 75001 Palais Royal
Taking a dancing break outside le Tigre
Scopitone (1st): Used to be called the Paris Paris and my old fav' club. It has been shut down and opened as this concert joint/ club. Apparently it's not as selective as it used to be. Saw the Kooks there and it was neat, albeit overcrowded. Metro: Pyramides 5 Avenue de l'Opéra 75001
1979 (1st): Release of Breakbot was there a couple months ago. Supposed to be a cool spot but yet to visit. Next to Chacha. Metro: Louvre-Rivoli. 49 rue Berger 75001
(Photo Cred: Ro) Jean Nippon at Le Baron
La Bellevilloise : Recommended by my good DJ friend, Zadig et Pomme D'apy (great djs that throw crazy parties) and it's one of his fav clubs, but don't know too much about it yet. Need to go soon!
Sorry backpackers. Don't show up to the club like this..
4. Cheap and/or Hip Bars
Be there (Ile Saint Louis): Hard to believe on this touristy island there is a super rad bar. The place is packed with long haired, skinny jeans Frenchies all the time and the drinks aren't that expensive (5 euros for a pint of house beer). The bar is small and cozy and there is often live music or electro dj's with a small dance floor to break it down. If you want that intimate atmosphere with a mix of club and bar then this is really a hype place to be. 19 Rue des deux ponts 75004. Metro Pont Marie
Just be (Montmartre): Best part about this place is the great list of cocktails for FIVE EUROS. As I said before most cocktails go for more than that. The place is not sketchy and super cool and laid back with decor from India and other parts of Asia. I spent my last night in Paris here. I got started with a 5 euro Bloody Mary (my favourite) and I was not disappointed with the alcohol quantity and how yummy it was. My friends had cosmos, sex on the beach, mojitos (less good) and many others were available. But what killed me was what came next when I asked them to give me something crazy. At the bar you can order this dose of insanity called a Flaming Lamborghini (also 5 euros!). I don't know what was in it exactly, but I do know that things were on fire and blue liquor and Baileys got poured in it while I was sucking this flaming inferno of alcohol with a straw. You have to chug it and it is hella tasty but it will frack you up good. For some stupid reason I decided to do two. Lastly the servers are friendly and patient. 46 Rue Caulaincourt 75018. Metro: Lamark-caulaincourt
In Paris they don't do pitchers of beer (wtf right?) but they do GIRAFFES. Which, believe it or not are pretty damn ultimate.
10 Bar (6th): This is the best place to go for cheap sangria and was a staple for my exchange friends and I a couple years ago. A glass of sangria goes for 3 euros during happy hour and 3.50 euros starting from 8 pm. You can get pitchers too of sangria for around 10 euros. It's insane how affordable it is and such a cool place to be. 10 Rue de l'Odeon 75006. Metro: Odeon.
Bistrot des Artistes (5th): Cheap drinks and bohemian ambiance hidden away from the touristic streets of Saint Michel. You can get 5 shooters for 10 euros and the beers are a good price too. 6 Rue des anglais 75005. Metro: Maubert-Mutalite
Cafe Bonnie (Canal Saint Martin): This bar is what Seth Cohen's wet dreams are made of (Geeky dreamboat from the O.C). With X-Men pop-up books, couches shaped like lips, lava lamps, cotton candy pink walls and giant menus, this is a geek's paradise for losing one's sobriety. Don't come here for desserts or hot drinks like I did. In The Perfect Date Idea, I recommend this place after you eat at the fabulous resto, Les Enfants Perdus, next door. Attention though, the drinks are not that cheap (10 euros for a cocktail), so I would suggest taking a drink after Les Enfants Perdus then sitting along Canal Saint Martin with your own bottle of 3 euro wine to spend the rest of the night. I'm not a huge bar person, but the dork in me begs me back. Metro: Gare de L'est. 9 Rue des Récollets 75010
5. Useful MerdeFor info on cool events and dates check out Parisbouge.com or Die Nacht (easy to use agenda). Also, try checkin' the fanpage of the clubs here that sound interesting on Facebook, they regularly update their events ans send you invites. Subscribe to My Little Paris for secret, exclusive events in the city.
Update: Just found this MEGA USEFUL site for upcoming events and what's going on in all these clubs I've just listed. Life has become much easier to rock out in Paris with this guide, Ten Days in Paris.
Everyone has their own tastes when looking where to party it up. This list isn't for everyone but whatever your tastes are just know there are places and ways not to spend all your money in Paris while getting schammered. Hopefully the tips help and as always I am looking to learn more too. If this is your scene I'd love to hear about your hype spots and what you thought about the descriptions of mine!
Music in Paris: The Heart of New Awesome
DJ Knuckles and Blake
This song and video is insane. New wave of French dub/electro, seriously this is huge. Massive relay race in the middle of the Parisian metro. zomg.
An oldie but goodie. They are one of my fav electro groups out of Paris
More on Paris: Find out where you can cure that hangover:
Indie Guide to Paris: Eating
My adventures in France
Stupid Things French Say or 7 Ways Hanging With French Will Ruin Your English