If you are lucky enough to be spending New Year’s Eve in Paris, you really are spoiled for choice in terms of the number of ways to celebrate and the local traditions to try out. To help you make the most of your night, we’ve put together a list of the ten best restaurants, shows, street parties, and club nights in the French capital in which to bring in 2017.
Celebrate on the Champ de Mars
Unsurprisingly, given that the Eiffel Tower is the focal point in Paris for most visitors, there won’t just be people celebrating at its first floor restaurant. The tallest structure in the city and the Champs de Mars, which leads up to it from the École Militaire, act as a gathering point for people who want to spend the evening outside, making new friends, and waiting to shout bonne année to the world. This is an unofficial celebration and, as such, there won’t be fireworks let off here at midnight.
The Champs-Élysées, particularly towards the Arc de Triomphe, is the site of the official Parisian New Year’s Eve street party. Starting at 9PM (basically once everyone has had a massive dinner to help keep them warm for the rest of the evening) people start flocking to the avenue to get in position for the midnight light show. There are also numerous clubs and bars in this neighborhood to head to afterward. The atmosphere is usually fairly chilled and people behave themselves, but, as with all crowds in a big city, beware of pickpockets and expect extra security.
The third of Paris’ street parties takes place on the steps and in the squares around the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre. It is significantly calmer than down on the Champs-Élysées, and, unlike the other two, it offers an amazing panoramic view of the city. While there is no official fireworks display up on the hill, you will be able to see all and any that are let off elsewhere in the capital. Again, the neighborhood is full of cabarets, bars, and clubs to head to after midnight.
There’s no Parisian cabaret with more global recognition than the Moulin Rouge, that’s for sure. Since 1889, the Pigalle institution has devised its own distinctive imagery and performance style, which has never been successfully replicated outside its doors. Its Féerie show brings together 80 international artists, including 60 incredibly talented Doriss Girls; 1,000 costumes, made in Paris ateliers and with tens of thousands of feathers, rhinestones, and sequins; exquisite sets imported from Italy; and one gigantic aquarium. All of this blends together in a whirl of fantasy to an original soundtrack recorded by 80 musicians and 60 vocalists.
[redraft these old words] If you would rather spend the final moments of the year under a strobe light – and why wouldn’t you? – then there are plenty of amazing nightclubs in Paris to choose from. One of the coolest is Wanderlust, which is actually part of Les Docks, a modern complex dedicated to fashion and design. The club has a 1,600 square-meter terrace where you can dance under the stars, and a 386 square-meter space inside that features another club area and a restaurant. A far cry from the traditional Parisian clubbing scene, Wanderlust has been doing its own thing since it opened in 2012.
You can also indulge in a night of cabaret and burlesque at the Lido de Paris on the Champs-Élysées. Much like at the Moulin Rouge, the New Year’s Eve package includes the main show, a seafood dinner, champagne, a specially-choreographed midnight show and an after party. The theater also offers a reduced package for those who want to take in the show without shelling out for dinner and drinks.
REDRAFT Back along the river and into the center of Paris, we have the Rex Club, the biggest feature on the Grands Boulevards clubbing landscape. The venue is attached to one of the most famous cinemas in Paris, the Grand Rex, whose neon sign can be seen from miles off. The downstairs dance floors pull in an international bunch looking to party hard to some bass-heavy techno, house, and electronica. Check out their impressively packed program to see who’s on the decks when you’re in town. / The Rex Club, the biggest feature on the Grands Boulevards clubbing scene, is another popular choice for dancing the night away on New Year’s Eve. The venue is attached to one of the most famous cinemas in Paris, the Grand Rex, whose neon sign can be seen from miles away. The downstairs dance floors pull in an international bunch looking to party hard to some bass-heavy techno, house, and electronica.
Being the culinary capital of the world, you won’t struggle to find a restaurant serving a delicious réveillon feast in your budget and neighborhood. However, if you want to eat somewhere that not only serves great food but gives you a view of the city as the clock strikes midnight, you can do no better than booking a table at the 58 Tour Eiffel. This restaurant, which serves a four-course Gallic dinner and glass of wine, is on the first floor of the tower which has been newly redesigned.
Another alternative dining experience for Saint-Sylvestre is to take to the Seine for a dinner cruise on a Bateaux Parisiens. As well as a delicious meal, a bottle of Pommery champagne and musical entertainment, being on the river will allow you to soak up the atmosphere of the holiday right across the capital. Be sure to reserve at least 24 hours in advance as these New Year’s Eve cruises are in high demand.
If you prefer a musical to a cabaret, then the hottest ticket in town this winter is I Love Piaf at the Théâtre Edgar. This intimate show tells the life story of the legendary singer from Pairs’ Belleville neighborhood, Edith Piaf, and includes all of her most famous songs. The songs and dialogue will be in French, but English translations are projected above the stage. If you book before December 16th, you’ll receive a 10 percent discount on the advertized price.