If you are lucky enough to be spending New Year’s Eve in Paris, you are spoiled for choice in terms of the number of ways to celebrate and the Parisian traditions you can try out. To help you make the most of your night, Culture Trip has put together a list of the best restaurants, shows, street parties and club nights in the French capital to help you bring in the new year in unforgettable style.
Paris knows how to celebrate. And if there’s one day a year when you can be guaranteed to be in for a big party in the city, it’s New Year’s Eve. Every year, the city lights up and crowds fill Paris’s bars, clubs and streets for a night of frivolity. But at such a busy time of year, it’s important to plan your night in advance to ensure that you don’t miss out on the fun. You can start the year with a bang at the city’s fireworks display, party in one of its infamous clubs or dine in style at a fancy Parisian restaurant – the choice is yours.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as it’s the focal point of many visits to Paris, the Eiffel Tower is particularly popular on New Year’s Eve. While some people will be celebrating in its restaurants, it’s the long, thin, manicured park leading up to the iconic tower from the École Militaire that the majority of revellers crowd to. This park, the Champ de Mars, acts as an unofficial gathering point on New Year’s Eve for those who plan to spend the evening outside, making new friends and waiting to shout “Bonne année!”to the world.
There’s no better way to start the New Year in Paris than on the city’s most famous street, the elegant Champs-Élysées. This is the site of the official Parisian New Year’s Eve street party, which has taken place every year since forever, and should not be missed. Starting at 9pm, people from across the city flock to the avenue to get in position for the spectacular midnight light show (head towards the Arc de Triomphe for the best spot). The fun doesn’t end at midnight, either – there are loads of clubs and bars in this neighbourhood that you can head to afterwards to keep partying well into the first day of the year.
The third of Paris’s street parties takes place on the steps and in the squares around the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre. It is significantly calmer here on New Year’s Eve than down on the Champs-Élysées, but it offers an amazing panoramic view of the city below. While there is no official fireworks display up on the Sacré-Coeur hill, you will be able to see all the fireworks that are set off elsewhere in the capital. The surrounding neighbourhood is full of cabaret spots, bars and clubs to head to after midnight, too.
There’s no Parisian cabaret with more global recognition than the Moulin Rouge. 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, featuring 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. Where better to start the New Year festivities in Paris than at the special Moulin Rouge show?
While there are plenty of trendy nightclubs in Paris where you can spend the final moments of the year, one of the coolest is Wanderlust. A far cry from the traditional Parisian clubbing scene, Wanderlust has been doing its own thing since it opened in 2012, and it now attracts internationally renowned DJs to its open-air decks. The club is part of Les Docks, a converted industrial unit dedicated to fashion and design. A large terrace overlooks the River Seine, so you can celebrate the stroke of midnight by dancing under the stars, and the inside space features another club area and a restaurant.
It may be the most famous, but Moulin Rouge isn’t the only cabaret in Paris worth attending. Indulge in a night of cabaret and burlesque at the Lido de Paris on the Champs-Élysées. Their New Year’s Eve package includes the main show, a seafood dinner, champagne, a specially choreographed midnight show and an after-party. The theatre also offers a reduced package for those who want to take in the show without shelling out for dinner and drinks.
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 bass-heavy techno, house and electronica music.
Take to the Seine for a dinner cruise on a Bateaux Parisiens for an alternative festive dining experience. As well as a delicious meal, a bottle of Pommery champagne and musical entertainment, being on the river means that you can soak up the atmosphere of the holiday right across the capital. Be sure to book in advance, as New Year’s Eve cruises are in high demand.