101 things to do in Paris: nights out
Find the best of Paris with our ultimate list of things to do in the capital
Scroll through the list below for our pick of the world-class entertainment on offer in Paris. Whether you want to go clubbing, see a film, hear top live music or enjoy the spectacle of the opera, let Time Out’s experts be your guide to a great night out in the capital. Think we've missed a great night out in Paris? Let us know and leave a comment in the box below.
The best ways to spend an evening in Paris
The most exciting global names in jazz regularly come to play in Paris. Check out the sound at New Morning, a low-key club that frequently programmes ‘experimental’ jazz musicians, or tap your toes to USA biggies at Sunside/Sunset in Châtelet. At the bottom of the same street, Au Duc des Lombards also brings in a stream of international jazz stars. Meanwhile, if you fancy a low-key dinner with live Manouche jazz on the side, give Atelier de Charonne a whirl.
A change of artistic direction and limelight brought in by Dita Von Teese (who performed here for a while) has breathed welcome new life into the Crazy Horse. Yes, it’s erotic, and yes, you watch pert-breasted girls slink across stage dressed in nothing but light, but there is nothing remotely seedy about the experience. In fact, it’s all rather avant-garde. One note of caution – unlike Paris’s other cabarets, the Crazy Horse doesn’t have a restaurant.
- 12 avenue George V, 8e, Paris, France
Housed in a former warehouse for art deco construction materials, Point Ephémère capitilises on its position next to the waters of the Canal Saint-Martin with a great outdoor area. In 2004 it was an artist’s squat of some 1,400 metres squared, which quickly became hugely popular and near permanent – to the chagrin of Paris’s City Council. Today, this breeding ground of all things artistic organises exhibitions, concerts and evenings of independent music specialising mostly in cutting edge pop, rock, electro and hip-hop, all of which are within reach of youthful budgets.
- 200 quai de Valmy, 10e
Opened in 1921 and once a temple of silent cinema, the Egyptian art deco Louxor fell on hard times after WW2 and became a drug den, ’80s club and gay disco before being left abandoned for 25 years. It re-opened triumphantly as a cinema in April 2013, with a new brief to promote cultural, artistic and educational projects.The venue's hedonistic past may be behind it, but its nightlife hasn't died outright – you can still enjoy a glass of red from the altogether more sanitized surroundings of its new upstairs bar.
- 170 boulevard de Magenta, 10e
Sneak in to Silencio
David Lynch’s Silencio (named after the fetish joint in the director's film Mullholland Drive) is Paris’s most coveted private club, giving membership only to those with satisfactory artistic and financial credentials. That doesn’t mean you won’t get in, though. After midnight, the Silencio opens to the public, so you can see which A-listers are there, and above all check out the décor which Lynch designed himself – right down to the furniture and gold leaf walls.
Dotted with red pavilions, or folies, the park was designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and is a postmodern feast. South of the canal are Le Zénith, and the Grande Halle de la Villette – now used for trade fairs, exhibitions and September's jazz festival. It is flanked by the Conservatoire de la Musique and the Cité de la Musique, with rehearsal rooms, concert halls and the Musée de la Musique.
- Avenue Corentin Cariou, 19e
Théâtre du Châtelet has revolutionised Paris's musicals scene and has set about producing classics like West Side Story and The Sound of Music. Turn up for productions in English, often with a live orchestra – a rarity even by West End standards. Musical legend Stephen Sondheim reportedly said of the Théâtre du Châtelet’s version of his opera 'Sweeney Todd' that they’d cast the best Mrs Lovett he’d ever seen: classical music and dance performances the rest of the year are well worth it too.
- 1 place du Châtelet, 1er, Paris, France
The Théâtre National de Chaillot doesn’t just have one of Paris’s most sought-after locations, with breathtaking views over the Eiffel Tower, it also offers world-class dance performances by the best international choreographers: the likes of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, William Forsythe and the Royal Flanders Ballet. Check out the regular circus performances too, which mix dance with street theatre and acrobatics – a good option if you’re in Paris with children. To make a night of it, Théâtre Chaillot has a handy pasta bar where you can dine before the show.
- 1 place du Trocadéro, 16e, Paris, France
Molière’s theatre troupe is still setting the stage on fire. More than 300 years since La Comédie Française was formed it is still the best place to see French classics by the likes of Jean Racine, Pierre Corneille and (of course) Molière. For period performances in breathtaking costumes, book tickets for the red and gold Salle Richelieu, a stunning Italianate 18th-century theatre. Or opt for cutting-edge modern plays by today’s authors in the Comédie Française’s 1996 Studio-Théâtre.
- 21 rue du Vieux Colombier, 6e, Paris, France, France
Red: it’s an appropriate name for this club in the heart of the Pigalle district, wedged between the teasing neon lights of the neighbouring Sexodrome and other peep-shows which compete along the street. Red is never empty, despite the €15 entrance and the drinks prices (€13 for a gin and tonic). But Rouge’s customers can afford it: trendy, affluent young Parisians gather here every weekend to dance, flirt, be seen and to sometimes watch shows by the likes of Metronomy, Gossip or Zombie Zombie.
- 77 rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 9e
While its live music scene may not have quite the underground appeal of Berlin or the rock 'n' roll tradition of London, many French rock, pop and electronica artists are forces to be reckoned with on the international stage. A lively network of muscially-minded bars and collectives, plus a fair few swanky new venues (like the vast halls at Parc de la Villette) keep the scene full of fresh new young bands – you'll catch them in these bars, or sometimes a big name will drop in for a date or two.
The acoustics in the Art Déco Salle Pleyel were conceived especially for symphonic orchestras, making it one of the best places in Paris for classical concerts. Here you can enjoy a performance by resident orchestras L’Orchestre de Paris and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as visiting international ensembles and jazz musicians. The Salle Pleyel’s cheapest tickets often seat you behind the orchestra – an unusual spot, but an interesting one – you almost feel part of the orchestra can watch the conductor’s facial expressions from up close.
- 252 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8e, Paris, France
At the top of Menilmontant’s hill, La Maroquinerie is a hip multidisciplinary centre. Start your night in the Halle des Oliviers restaurant in the ground floor then head upstairs to the Forum bar for live acoustic sound and cocktails. The bar leads to a lovely terrace with views over Paris’ rooftops. After dark, you can either peruse the art expos in the top floor gallery, or head to the Bellevilloise’s basement club for a night of cheesy '80s music.
- 19-21 rue Boyer, 20e, Paris, France
Paris’s Philharmonie opened its doors in January 2015 – when the city’s culture vultures had been waiting for this moment for close to four decades. Situated in a working-class corner of north-east Paris by Porte de Pantin, the extravagant venue aims to democratise classical music, drawing in newbies as well as concert hall veterans. Tickets are priced competitively, undercutting the costly Salle Pleyel. At a time when cultural activities are getting ever pricier, the Philharmonie hopes to counter the trend much as the Opéra Bastille did for opera.
- 221 avenue Jean Jaurès, 19e
While Britain was living it up with the Beatles, France was developing its text-led Chanson genre. And in Paris, the launchpad for budding Brassens and Gainsbourgs (both of whom sang here) was Les Trois Baudets. It remains committed to Chanson and is the top place to go to hear France’s new talent. Most concerts start at 8pm and the Trois Baudets Italian bar-restaurant is open from 6.30pm, so you can fill up on antipasti and pasta before the show.
- 64 boulevard de Clichy, 18e, Paris, France
Making waves on the electro circuit is Le Batofar, a converted fireman’s boat, docked below the BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and decked out with art expos. This is where up-for-it Parisians come to hear DJs and VJs (both home-grown and international), see live bands and generally party well into the wee small hours. When you've worked up an appetite, head to the Batofar’s restaurant deck for pick-me-ups like duck with potato gratin (served until 11pm).
- Face au 11 quai François Mauriac, 13e, Paris, France
When it opened in 2012, the Docks transformed an industrial wasteland into a futuristic vision of culture and entertainment as imagined by architects Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane. From now on, its future is assured. A grassy terrace runs down to the water, there’s a club (Nüba) and restaurant (Moon Roof) on the roof and a bar/club (Wanderlust, by the team behind Silencio) on the first floor, plus a programme of open air screenings and exhibitions. Behind the imposing façade of glass and metal, the Docks are finally teeming with life.
- 34 quai d'Austerlitz, 13e