Of all the cities in the world, the only place that matches the beauty of Paris at night is New York City. Yes, I’m biased because I used to live in NYC, but really, Paris’s beauty is absolutely breathtaking at night. If you find yourself in the City of Light, be sure to save your energy to head out after dark for my list of fun things to do in Paris at night. From the architecture to the monuments to the reflection on the Seine, it’s all worth a nighttime stroll with your camera. Beyond the amazing photo ops, you won’t have any trouble finding mesmerizing views, delicious dinner options, and so much more. Read on to find out about 7 fun things to do in Paris at night!
Fun things to do in Paris at night
1. Check out Paris’ landmarks under the moonlight
Paris is full of innumerable spellbinding landmarks that most people visit during the day. But come nightfall, their beauty is transformed into a breathtaking and enchanting landscape with a remarkably different viewing experience.
Start out strolling along the banks of the Seine while gazing across the river at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This is one of those things to do in Paris no matter the time of day but the views of the cathedral at night are absolutely stunning (even as the reconstruction forges on). As you explore, walk over the Pont des Arts bridge, stroll through the Pont Neuf area, or visit the Île de la Cité. The area by the Louvre is gorgeous as well, especially the pyramid all lit up, so a walk in that direction is well worth it.
2. Visit the Eiffel Tower
Standing tall in the French night sky and bathed in a warm glow stands the Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most famous landmark. Some say it’s overrated, but if you’ve never been to Paris, it’s an absolute must — not only for the views of the tower itself but also for the views of the city once you get to the top. Views of the Eiffel Tower at night bring fantasies alive and make observers feel like they are in a real-life movie.
For the best nighttime views, try to get a vantage point from a boat on the River Seine, from the big Ferris wheel located close to the Louvre, or from the Champs-de-Mars, where you can get a direct look at the tower in all its glory. My favorite part is when the Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes at the beginning of each hour at night.
3. Take a nighttime cruise on the River Seine
Just as the streets of Paris are beautiful to behold at night, the picturesque Seine becomes even more magical then as well.
Yes, it’s touristy but taking a nighttime cruise on the Bateaux Mouches is a super romantic way to spend the evening in Paris. But you don’t need a lover to be seduced by the Seine. It’s one of the most intoxicating nighttime activities in Paris and is still worthwhile solo.
Sights like the Assemblée Nationale, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Pont des Arts put on a mesmerizing light show as the moon rises into the sky. Each one of these landmarks is bathed in lights that have been carefully selected for their dazzling effect.
To get on a cruise, there are numerous guided tour packages that you can purchase. Some of them include dinner and accommodation so you can enjoy the night even more. Why not spend the night under the stars on the river? After all, you are in the City of Light.
When it comes to photos and sharing memories with your friends and family, be sure to grab an all-inclusive mobile sim or esim card from Orange Holiday while on your trip. You’ll have access to calls, texts and data to cover your phone usage in France or in Europe in general like a local. Orange is the #1 network in France, so use your unlocked phone like a local while you’re abroad and share your trip in real time with friends back home.
Also, if you have a trip to France planned this holiday season, be sure to enter the Orange Holiday contest through January 4, 2022, for your chance to win an extra 1000 euros to spend on your trip. To enter, once you’ve landed in France, buy and use an Orange Holiday sim card and you’ll get an SMS with how to enter the contest. Follow this link to learn more about the Orange Holiday contest. Bonne chance!
4. Visit the Louvre
The Louvre is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Paris at night because of how beautifully it’s lit up.
It is a radiant sight, with its glass pyramid glowing brightly as it stands imposingly over La Cour Napoléon. Beyond its spellbinding beauty at night, the Louvre is also much less crowded in the evening than it is in the daytime. Just like the glass pyramid, all the artwork in the palace looks much more majestic when seen under the light of the winter moon. Keep in mind the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, so plan to do something else that day. While it closes at 6 p.m. these days, the view from outside is spectacular after hours.
5. Explore the foodie scene
French cooking is the best in the world and a visit to Paris gives you a chance to experience top notch French cuisine. Honestly, no visit to Paris is complete without stuffing your face (not very French-like, but still) with all things Parisian. One of the top things to do in Paris is to eat well!
The amount of culinary variety available is astounding and might make it a bit of a challenge to find the right place to sit and dine. You can look online for recommendations on what restaurants to visit in your immediate vicinity, or you can take the risk and step into the nearest restaurant you see on the street corner. Regardless of your choice, you will have an interesting experience. Another tip is to avoid any restaurant that has pictures in the menu or offers an English menu, as they are geared for tourists.
As you wander the streets, take note of where the locals are eating and copy them. Look at what people are eating as you make your way to your table. Notice a lot of the same dish or something that looks delish? Tell your waiter that you’ll have what s/he’s having. (Hey, it worked in When Harry Met Sally).
If you are not looking to spend lots of money at the restaurants of Paris, a budget-friendly way to experience the city’s food would be to try out the different street vendors and their delicious street dishes. You can enjoy a crepe or falafel or whatever suits you in the moment. It doesn’t have to be expensive, so why not try it all?
6. Enjoy a night of amazing performances
There is more to the City of Light than food and ummm, lights. There are incredible performances as well.
The capital city is full of artistic presentations like operas, rock concerts, cabarets, and more. Opera lovers will be mesmerized by the vibrant Paris opera scene, with stellar performances being put on at the same time. You can head down to the Opera Bastille and dive into their program that showcases classical performances as well as more contemporary offerings like Rigoletto.
For the rock lovers, head over to the open-air arena at the Bataclan. Although it was attacked by terrorists in 2015, it recovered and reopened in 2016 to the joy of many locals. Other concerts and musical performances are also constantly showing at places like the Banlieue Bleues and the Cité de la Musique.
Another highly popular nighttime activity for tourists is to visit one of the cabarets like the Moulin Rouge, Lido, or Crazy Horse for a show and dinner that’s like nothing else in the world!
7. Go dancing in the city
Paris might be a European city, but its dance culture is truly international. If you love to move your feet and are searching for the best places to dance, you’ll have no problem finding a spot to shimmy the night away. If you aren’t looking to boogie down and just want to hang out at a club until the break of dawn, you are in luck. Some of the best House and Indie DJ’s play in Parisian nightclubs. For a night out on the town Parisian-style, get dressed up (but not too much, you’ve gotta play it cool in Paris), and head to Rex for a concert or DJ set and La Bellevilloise for a concert, film screening or exhibition.
Paris is an amazing city no matter the time of day, but it truly transforms into a place of magic and enchantment when the sun sets. It is a place for lovers of beauty to get lost in the moment. The next time you visit, let yourself fall for Paris at night and you’ll find yourself in a whole new beautiful dimension. Bon voyage!
Disclosure: Thank you to Orange Holiday for sponsoring this post.
I was in Paris, in the hot summer’s of 2017 & 19 for the Air shows during the day. Stayed on the left bank, did all 7 things you suggest. My favorite was the midnight cruise on the Seine, and dinner and drinks at La Closerie des Lilacs where Hemingway wrote his first novel…they treated me like a king! Two weeks was not enough. I’d like to rent an apartment, stay for a year, pretend I am a Frenchman, slowly visit the winerys, find a nice French girl and go for a picnic in a green city park. Take a French class at the Sorbonne, and just explore. I started my 1st visit by paying my respects to Napoleon at the Hotel des Invalides, then toured the churches and museum. This was a good number 8 I can recommend, to my American friends. Thanks Diane, for your excellent suggestions.
Hi Diane! Walking in Paris at night sounds lovely! Would you say that it’s safe for women to do so?
Sure, take precautions like you would in any major city though!
Patricia Schneider says
I rent an apartment on the Ile St. Louis every year for several weeks (it was postponed last year due to Covid). Have been staying there for many years. I returned from 17 fantastique days in Paris shortly before Thanksgiving. Paris is my second home-have many friends there, speak pretty good franchise, and know it like the back of my hand. It’s gorgeous and gritty at every hour, but nighttime really does showcase it in its stunning glory. Much of what you’d suggested is touristy, but for first time visitors or people who are frightened of the “big city” at night, they’re good choices. Paris is rich in every kind of art and to not take advantage of what this glorious city has two offer is a crime,. A particularly lovely thing to do js to attend a concert at Sainte Chappelle, the jewel-box of a church next to the Palais du Justice. Christmas-time -esp. at night-is breathtaking, as well. I live in NYC, and agree that the two cities are themazing, but Paris surpasses NY in terms of sheer antiquity and beauty. Plus La Seine!
Aussie Jo says
Some bloody good things here
Thanks Jo, have you been to Paris?