Paris at night: 20x best things to do on a Paris night out

Paris by day might be captivating but Paris by night is downright dazzling. From romantic Paris sunset spots to magically illuminated Parisian landmarks and from unique museum visits to spine-shivering experiences, this complete guide is designed to help you plan the perfect night in Paris. We’ve also included some personal travel tips on visiting Paris at night as well as some romantic hotel suggestions to complete your Paris itinerary.

Are you ready to dive in? Here’s our selection of the best things to do at night in Paris.

Illuminated Eiffel Tower in Paris at night
Seine river cruise at sunset and Montmartre in Paris at night

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Where to spend the night in Paris

What better place to spend the night in Paris than a hotel with Eiffel tower views? Especially when you can see this Parisian landmark twinkle from your balcony or even from your bed. You can enjoy this sparkling spectacle from some of the most luxurious hotels in Paris at night, such as the Cheval Blanc Paris, Shangri-La Paris, The Peninsula Paris and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée.

Then again, you don’t necessarily need to book the most expensive suite to enjoy this iconic Paris night view. There are more affordable options that offer front-row seats to the Eiffel tower as well. The Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, for example, is located just two blocks from this famous French landmark. Other stylish options that won’t break the bank are the Hôtel Eiffel Trocadéro, Le Walt and La Comtesse Paris Tour Eiffel.

Or you could go for a quintessential Paris apartment that offers a similar Paris night view.

Another, more pragmatic approach, is to look at where you’ll be (sp)ending your evenings in Paris. It’s so much more convenient to be close to your accommodation after a day of exploration. And then in the morning, you just hop on the metro and travel to another Paris arrondissement to tackle the rest of your Paris itinerary.

Tips on visiting Paris at night

If you’re concerned about safety, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Paris at night is by no means more dangerous than any other cosmopolitan city at night. We have spend multiple nights in Paris over the past few years and never felt unsafe. No one ever approached us or made us feel uncomfortable in any way. Just use commons sense and keep your valuables in your bag.

That goes for the metro too since that’s where pickpockets tend to lurk. Apart from that, the Paris metro is pretty safe. Do note that the last train arrives at its terminal at 1.15 a.m. at the latest (2.15 a.m. on Friday evening, Saturday evening and bank holiday evenings). Noctilien night buses are available until 5.30 a.m. in the morning, when the metro trains start operating again.

The Paris metro network has 14 lines, each one designated by a specific number and colour. The RER network, which offers a faster train access between some metro stations, has 5 lines which are designated by a specific letter and colour. You can use your metro ticked for both means of transport. A map of the Paris metro and RER network can be found here.

A final tip for that perfect Paris at night experience, is to make some reservations beforehand. That’s especially important if you’re looking to experience the sunset from atop a Paris landmark, a night at one of the Paris museums or a Seine River cruise. So, for your convenience, we’ll be indicating if reservations are recommended for the Paris night experiences on our list.

Best things to do in Paris at night

Now that you know where to stay in Paris and how to get around in Paris at night, it’s time to discover what to do on a Paris night out.

Experiencing Paris at night is enchanting and should definitely be part of your itinerary. After all, Paris is nicknamed the City of Lights for a reason. Here’s a selection of the best things to do in Paris at night.

Take a Seine River Cruise

Taking a Seine river cruise to see the Notre Dame and other landmarks along the Seine is one of the best things to do at night Paris

The most laid-back way to experience Paris at night is by taking a Seine river cruise. Take your front-row seat to the most magically illuminated sights along the Seine such as the Notre Dame, the Conciergerie, the Panthéon, the Orsay Museum, the former Paris love locks bridge Pont des Arts and the Eiffel Tower. A river cruise on the Seine tends to take about two to two and a half hours and usually includes live music and a bistrot or gourmet style dinner. Enjoy the City of Lights while sipping a glass of wine or champagne and enjoying a heartwarming meal.

This is one of the most sought-after things to do in Paris at night. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking your Seine river cruise in advance. Tour suggestions (all of which are available on Viator):

Have an apéro at one of the rooftop bars

Watching the sun go down while sipping a glass of wine from a rooftop terrace is one of the best things to do in Paris at night

Start your veris like the locals do, with an aperitif or apéro at one of the many cafés. The City of Lights is home to a fine selection of rooftop bars offering the most mesmerizing Paris night views.

Les Créatures, the rooftop bar of the famous Paris department store Galeries Lafayette, is one of our favorite ones. They offer an exquisite selection of cocktails, a one-of-a-kind perspective of the Paris Opera House building and an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, especially at sunset. Other Parisian monuments, such as the Arc de Triomphe, can be spotted from here too.

This rooftop bar the kind of place you’ll want to linger. And you can, because you can even order some creative vegetarian and vegan dishes here without having to book ahead. It’s such a cool and casual place to spend a summer evening in Paris.

If you’re looking for something similar yet more sophisticated, then you’ll love the Japanese-inspired rooftop bar of Mun. Located at the Champs-Élysées, this fancy cocktail bar slash restaurant unveils a breathtaking panorama featuring the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and even Montmartre’s Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It’s the perfect place to spend a fabulous night in Paris.

Do note that not all rooftop bars in Paris are open throughout the year so make sure to inquire ahead.

Spend your Paris night at the iconic Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is the crown jewel of nightlife in Paris
Source: Vadim Sadovski on Unsplash

This world-famous Parisian venue dates back to the Belle Époque. It was a prosperous time during which more and more people could afford a little distraction now and then. The arts were booming, especially at Montmartre, Paris’ bohemian epicentre. The extravagance of the Moulin Rouge became the perfect place for Parisians to celebrate this new-found love for life and beauty.

The Moulin Rouge, which translates as Red Mill referring to the red windmill that characterizes the building’s exterior, has always been about musical dance entertainment. It’s where French can-can evolved to cabaret and where evenings are still spent sipping champagne while enjoying the eye-pleasing spectacle in a spectacular fin de siècle decor. The Moulin Rouge offers the most iconic setting to experience the Paris nightlife.

This is one of the most sought-after things to do at night in Paris. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking your Moulin rouge experience well in advance. Here are some options (all of which are available on Viator):

Visit the Louvre Museum by night

Visiting the Louvre after hours is one of the most popular things to do Paris at night

Not only does visiting the world’s most famous museum after dark allow you to balance out your Paris itinerary, visiting the Louvre at night is also an incredibly intimate experience. There’s something special about discovering the Louvre Museum’s expansive art collection in its mysterious nightly setting.

You can experience the magic of a Parisian night at the museum twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday night, until 9.45 p.m.

  • Visiting the Louvre at night is also possible on the first Saturday of each month, again until 9.45 p.m. The difference is that you don’t need any ticket for these late-night openings, since you can enter for free after 6 p.m.

Important note: Due to the pandemic, all night visits have been suspended until further notice.

Admire the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower

Late night Paris France

While most Parisians may not be too fond of their Eiffel tower, it still remains the French capital’s number one landmark. This iconic monument has been shaping the skyline since the World Fair of 1889. With its height of 300 m (1,000 ft), it’s still the tallest building in the City of Lights.

When night falls over Paris, the Eiffel tower is lit in gold. Every hour on the hour, it is brought to life for 5 minutes thanks to a show sparkling lights that supplements the gold lighting. The last twinkling period starts at 1 a.m. and that’s the only timeframe during which the gold lighting is switched off and only the sparkles can be admired.

The twinkling Eiffel is a classic Paris night experience that never disappoints. Some of the best places to watch the show are the Alexander III bridge or the Trocadéro. But you can also be part of the spectacle by visiting the Eiffel Tower during sunset or, occasionally, until late in the evening.

For an even more exclusive experience, book a table at the gastronomic restaurant La Jules Verne, which is located at the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Haute cuisine at an haute location for an unforgettable night in Paris.

If you’re looking to visit the Eiffel tower during sunset, then it’s crucial to book your tickets well in advance.

  • The best option is to book your tickets directly on the official Eiffel tower site. The booking process is very user-friendly, simply book the time-slot of your choice. Take into account the crowds around the Eiffel tower and check at which pillar entrance you should present yourself.
  • In case the there are no more tickets left for the day of your visit, you could consider booking your ticket with Viator or GetYourGuide. Just know that some of the tour companies that are listed on these sites buy up tickets and sell them at higher prices. But when this is your only option and you don’t mind paying a little extra to visit the Eiffel tower, then why not.

Experience Montmartre at night

People dining on the terrace of a pink building at sunset

Montmartre is known to be one of the most romantic places in Paris at night (oh yes, long before Emily in Paris made us rediscover its magnetic atmosphere). While you can sort of see that during the day, it really takes an evening at Montmartre to really feel it.

Seeing the setting sun cast its warm shine on the Parisian houses and meandering Montmartre streets is truly special. There are plenty of enchanting cafés, narrow passages and even hidden courtyards to be discovered in Montmartre, making this one of the most mesmerizing places to discover in Paris at night.

Enjoy an epic sunset at the Montparnasse Tower

Night view Paris from Montparnasse Tower
Source: Chan Lee on Unsplash

The signature Paris skyline includes the Eiffel tower and you don’t get that when you stand on the actual tower. That’s why we love the views from the Montparnasse tower. This skyscraper, constructed in the late sixties and considered an eyesore by most Parisians, is 689 ft (210 m) high. It has 58 floors, most of which house offices.

The 56th floor is home to the gastronomic restaurant Le Ciel de Paris. From there, a few flight of stairs lead to the rooftop. This is the highest observation deck in the city offering a spectacular, unobstructed 360° view over the city. On a clear day, you’ll have the entire City of Love at your feet.

This is also the ultimate spot to watch a Paris sunset. And after the sun has set over the City of Lights, you might still spot the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame, the Palais Garnier, The Sacré-Coeur and even The Louvre at night.

This building is currently being remodelled. The new design features a more transparant look with an emphasis on greenery and the finishing touch would be an impressive greenhouse on the rooftop. It is, however, very unlikely that the original deadline for the completion of this facelift, the 2024 Olympics taking place in Paris, will be met.

This is one of the most sought-after Paris night experience. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking your Montparnasse sunset experience well in advance:

  • Another option is to enjoy a fine-dining experience at Le Ciel the Paris which comes with free rooftop access. Book your table through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount!

Take a romantic stroll along the Seine river banks

Paris nights at the Pont des Arts

While cabaret shows and monument visits are truly amazing, experiencing romance in Paris at night doesn’t have to cost you anything. The French capital is nicknamed the City of Love for a reason. Just explore the Seine river banks hand in hand, from one romantic bridge to another.

Reading the names of the love locks at the Pont des Arts may not be what it used to be but you’ll still find some padlocks attached to the lantern poles. Enjoy watching the Seine river boats pass by as the Eiffel tower puts up a twinkling show in the background. This quintessential setting is all you need for a romantic night in Paris.

Watch a performance at the Palais Garnier Opera House

Grand Foyer of the Palais Garnier Opera House can be visited when attending an opera performance in Paris at night

Visiting this iconic Paris Opera House is like stepping back in time. The monumental Grand Staircase and the flamboyant Grand Foyer are nothing short of spectacular. But the true magic happens after dusk. Watching an opera or ballet performance in the splendid setting of the opulent Opéra Garnier in Paris at night is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Sit back in your plush red velvet chair while taking in the dazzling decor with its gold-leaf accents. Look up and admire the elaborate chandelier accentuated by the whimsical mural from the hand of Chagall himself. Watching a performance in this iconic opera house is a true privilege.

Entrance to the Opera Garnier are not concluded in any of the Paris city passes.

  • You can also pre-book a self-guided tour of Palais Garnier GetYourGuide.

Check out the Palais Royal’s iconic artwork

Black and white striped Buren columns at the Cour d'Honneur of the Palais-Royal

The Palais Royal is a great place to visit in Paris, even after dark. Not so much for the park or Jardin du Palais Royal, which is one of our favorite hang-outs during the day, but rather for the artwork Les Deux Plateaux by artists Daniel Buren at the Cour d’Honneur.

At night, the black and white striped columns are illuminated by green led-lights. It’s may not be the most spectacular place to visit at night in Paris, but because of it’s central location steps from the Louvre Museum, it’s worth checking out.

Spend your Paris night exploring the covered passages

The covered passages of Paris are a collection of shopping arcades that date back to the early 19th century. The French capital was home to no less than 150 of these elegant passages, that quickly became social hubs as well. The Parisian bourgeoisie loved socializing in the convivial bistros and meeting up in the cozy theaters.

From an architectural point of view, these covered passages were pieces of art thanks to their stained-glass ceilings, iron lattice details and mosaic floors. Unfortunately, most of these shopping arcades were demolished when Baron Haussmann realized his renovation of Paris and department stores became the new norm. Today, only about 25 of these iconic walkways remain.

Our favorite one is the Galerie Vivienne, just north of the Palais-Royal, connecting the Rue des Petit Champs to the Rue Vivienne. Its refined neo-classical Pompeian style, with half-moon windows, elegant sculptures, gorgeous mosaic floor and the atmospheric illuminations make it one of the best places to visit in Paris at night.

Galerie Vivienne in Paris is open until 8.30 p.m. which gives you plenty of time to do some shopping. And when you’re done, you can enjoy an exquisite wine-tasting and dinner at Legrand Filles et Fils, Le Comptoir des Caves, located inside the Galerie.

Book your table through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount.

Go on a culinary exploration at a Parisian restaurant

Paris late night dinner on board of a luxury coach
Source: Bustronome

Here’s an overview of the unique dining options that we mentioned in the previous paragraphs:

Other noteworthy options for a mouth-watering night in Paris include:

  • An out-of-the-box dining experience to make your night in Paris truly special, is the Gourmet dinner by Luxury Bus. Sip champagne before indulging in a 6-course French dinner with accompanying wines from the comfort of a luxury coach with glass ceiling. This Paris night experience is included in the Paris Passlib’ Prestige version.
  • For a more personal experience, cook and dine with a Parisian. You’ll meet up at the Marché d’Aligre food market to shop for groceries before heading to the host’s apartment to cook and enjoy a delicious homemade Parisian dinner.
  • And if you find yourself craving a French classic in the middle of the night, then you’ll be pleased to learn that some restaurants are open all night. Au Pied de Cochon is such a place that caters to Paris night owls. (referral code: 82798AFA)

Experience the Champs-Élysées in Paris at night

The most famous tree-lined Parisian boulevard is the Champs-Élysées, which stretches out from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. It’s dotted with exclusive boutiques, movie theaters and cafés. The Champs-Élysées is also the location of the traditional military parade on Bastille Day.

Visiting this legendary boulevard in Paris at night with the illuminated Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop is a wonderful experience. And it will get even better in the future, since there are plans to make it greener in the fight against air pollution. The hope is to make Parisians find their way to the Champs-Élysées again in addition to the tourists.

Discover the Catacombs of Paris at night

In addition to romance, there are also some really fascinating and fun things to do at night in Paris. Visiting the Paris Catacombs, for one. The creepiest of attractions of the French capital is open until 8:30 p.m. If you had your heart set on visiting this ossuary anyway, you might as well pick the evening tour for the most immersive experience.

Explore the maze of underground galleries which serve as a resting place for the remains of 6 million anonymous Parisians. The catacombs are housed in ancient limestone quarries which had been repurposed in the late18th century in order to tackle the overcrowded Parisian cemeteries.

Visiting the Catacombs is one of the best things to do in Paris at night. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking your visit well in advance. Here are some options (all of which are available on Viator):

Go bar-hopping at the Rue Montorgueil or the Quartier Latin

For a taste of Paris nightlife, the Montorgueil district on the right bank is where to go. The Rue Montorgueil nevers sleep and neither do the surrounding streets, the Rue Saint-Sauveur and the Rue Bachaumont to name a few. During the day, this pedestrian zone and former market area is home to Parisian bakeries, fromageries and flower shops. At night, the lively cafés, cocktail bars and restaurants create a convivial atmosphere.

The same goes for the Quartier Latin or Latin Quarter on the left bank. This enchanting area in the shadow of the Sorbonne University is known for its winding cobbelstone streets and cozy bars and restaurants (as well as for the well-known art-deco Piscine Pontoise swimming pool). It’s an ever-bustling district and the perfect place to spend a night in Paris.

And if you want to be explore the best hidden bars in town, those where only Parisians hang out, then let a local introduce you to the real Paris nightlife.

Be entertained in one of Paris’ historic theatre venues

French theatre is the heart of Parisian nightlife
Source: HPRG Les Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Paris is home to some renowned theatre houses, some of which have been around for centuries. The Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe is such an example, located next to the Jardin de Luxembourg or Luxemburg Garden. Or the Comédie Française, the famous theatre house where Molière once performed, situated at the Palais Royal.

Language is no barrier, since some shows are performed entirely in English while others are surtitled. That way, you get to experience a real Parisian theatre show in an authentic Parisian setting.

Here are two popular English comedies that essentially allow you to make fun of Parisians while learning a thing or two about local culture:

Dance the Paris night away

Nightlife Paris aboard the Discobus
Source: Discobus

On summer evenings, the Tino Rossi Garden at Quai Saint-Bernard, located along the Seine in between the Jardin des Plantes and the Institut du Monde Arabe, turns into a dance floor. Tango dancers assemble at this enchanting spot every night from May to September. Put on your dancing shoes and join the fun. There’s even a free lesson for beginners at 7 p.m. to get you started. And if you’re too shy to participate, you’re free to simply observe.

If you’re looking for a club-like atmosphere that allows for some sightseeing as well, then the Discobus might be what you’re looking for. Every Thursday and Friday, you can dance the night away on this party bus as it crisscrosses Paris at night from one illuminated monument tot the other (all except for the Arc de Triomphe). There are three Paris nightlife trips that all depart from the City Hall and lasting for 1 hour 30 minutes.

End your Paris night at Trocadéro

Paris at night Eiffel Tower sunset from the Trocadero
Source: Mayke Loenning on Pixabay

Thanks to its location right across the Seine from the Eiffel tower, the Trocadéro offers some of the best Paris night views. It’s also a cultural hub, so why not visit one of the museums before the Eiffel tower puts on its twinkeling jacket?

The Trocadéro site is an amazing place to spend the evening in Paris. Take your time to explore the Jardin du Trocadéro with its wonderful Warschau fountain, hazel and nut trees as well as the statue-lined slopes. The garden is being redesigned and will be extended all the way to the Champs de Mars on the opposite Seine river bank. That means that also the Pont d’Iena will be transformed in a green zone. We can’t wait to see the result.

The garden is hugged by a series of art deco palaces such as the Palais de Chaillot (housing 3 museums and a theatre), the Museum for Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo. The latter is home to two wonderful restaurants and opened until midnight (but closed on Tuesdays). You’ll also find the underground Paris aquarium on this same site which offers evening visits on Saturdays.

And if you don’t want your night in Paris to end, you could always pull an all-nighter before enjoying a delicious breakfast at Carette. This Parisian bakery is where to find some of the most mouthwatering croissants in the City of Lights.

Get front-row seats to the Versailles Fountain Show

Saturday night fountains show at Versailles is another way to spend a Paris night
Source: Paris-Tourist on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Another classic Paris at night experience is the Night Fountains show at Versailles. Every Saturday evening, from mid-June to mid-September, the Garden of Versailles bathes in a captivating illuminated setting and the fountains danse to the music. This shimmering spectacle lasts for 2.5 hours and ends with a splendid fireworks display.

The correct dates for this event can be found here. Also, note that this activity is not included in a regular ticket. It’s recommended to arrive at 7.45 p.m. to be in time for the show which starts at 8.30 p.m. and ends around 11.05 p.m.

Here’s how to get to Versailles from the center of Paris:

  • You could rely on public transportation, catching the RER train C direction Versailles Château Rive Gauche from any of these Paris city centre stops: Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Gare du Pont de l’Alma or Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel. From there, it’s a 10 minute walk to the Palace. Admission tickets to the Versailles Night Fountains show can be found on the official Versailles site.

Important: There are other shows during the day (Musical Fountains and Musical Gardens shows). So really make sure to book the correct ticket for the Night Fountains Show and not just any Viator or GetYourGuide “show included” ticket in order to avoid disappointment. Even the popular Paris passes that include entrance to Versailles – the Paris Museum Pass and therefore also in the The Paris Pass and the GoCity Paris All-Inclusive Pass – do not include access to the Musical Fountains and Musical Gardens.

Watch the fireworks at Disneyland Paris

Paris night tours to the light show and fireworks at Disney
Source: Rene Mensen on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

For the most magical Paris by night experience, head to Disneyland Paris. And while it may not compare to Orlando in terms of size, the European version is super cozy and enchanting in its own way. Two parks make up EuroDisney in Paris: the Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park. The fireworks display and light show take place every night at 09:30 p.m.

Here’s how to get to Disneyland from the center of Paris:

  • You could rely on public transportation, catching the RER train A direction Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy from any of these Paris city centre stops: Charles-de-Gaule – Étoile, Auber or Châtelet – Les Halles. It’s a 35-minute ride and once you hop off the train, you’ll reach the park in 2 minutes. Entrance tickets to Disneyland Paris can be found on Expedia.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Paris at night?

That’s it for our list of best things to do at night in Paris. Now, we can’t wait to find out how you’ll be spending your nights in Paris. Will you be watching a performance at the Palais Garnier Opera House, taking a Seine dinner cruise, experiencing sunset at the Montparnasse tower, visiting the Louvre at night, creeping out at the Catacombes, spending the night at the world-famous Moulin Rouge or exploring romantic Montmartre? Or have you found another place that’s perfect to spend a romantic evening in Paris? Maybe even one that deserves a spot on our list? We’d love to know all about you plans to discover Paris at night! The comment box is all yours.

Sunset Seine river cruise and Moulin Rouge in Paris at night
Illuminated street in Montmartre Paris at night

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