So, you’re coming to Paris for New Year’s and you’re not quite sure what to do? Not to worry, the French know how to celebrate!
I recently received a few questions about what to do if we find ourselves in Paris for New Year’s. (This goes out in particular to Norm at The Daily Norm.) My answer, I think, was a little unhelpful as I responded with another question: What kind of evening are you looking to have?
This is more pertinent than you might think, especially in a big city like Paris. You can do the touristy, fun, crazy-busy thing on the Champs Elysees with the lights show and people and buzz. Or you can do the Eiffel Tower lights show countdown from a perch at the Place du Trocadero. Or you can do a club or a restaurant or a party or a lounge… the options are almost endless in a town like Paris.
I’ve been lucky enough over the years to have had a little taste of it all. My first New Year’s in Paris was a festive one. Friends and I began at dinner and then made our way to a club party for the countdown. The second was at the beginnings of my relationship with my husband. We spent the evening at a friend’s house party and watched from the balcony popping champagne as the Eiffel Tower twinkled to announce the stroke of midnight. My third was another rather typical Parisian evening with a homemade dinner and then making our way to Trocadero for the lights display off the Tower. The stroke of midnight that year brought with it a shower of champagne by our unknown neighbor as we stood in a huge crowd of cheering faces. The following year, for a bit of a change, we spent the evening with our great friends in London, and on and on.
This year will be my seventh New Year’s as a Parisian, although I won’t be in the country on the big night. I’m going home to spend the holiday with my family for the first time since I moved to Paris.
A little New Year’s trivia: the French call New Year’s “la Reveillon” or la soirée de Saint Sylvestre.
So, what to do for le Réveillon 2013 in Paris? Here what’s on!
I want to Party
If this is your choice, I strongly recommend buying your tickets in advance to prevent waiting in line and facing the possibility of tickets being sold out. Also keep in mind the prices listed below increase by at least half if you wait to buy at the door.
A festive New Year’s evening in Paris looks a little something like this: a relatively early dinner followed by an all-inclusive evening at one of the exclusive clubs on or off the Champs Eylsees. The lights on this avenue alone are worth a trot up and down but keep in mind it will be busy!
Depending on your preference for music, 2013 is offering:
A VIP New Year on the Champs Eylsees. With 30 years of hit music, the 1515 Pavillion, 32 rue Marbeuf 75008 offers entrance to one of the biggest and most beautiful club in Paris from 10pm + 10 drinks + breakfast buffet beginning at 65€. For tickets and info.
A Generation 80s 90s party at le Players, 161 rue Montmartre, 75002 off the Champs Eylsees from 8pm to 6am. A few offers exist beginning with 60€ for the soirée + 10 drinks + breakfast buffet. For tickets and info.
A Masked Ball at the Regime Club, 51 rue de Ponthieu 75008 on the Champs Eylsees. As one of the more sophisticated clubs, Regime is offering an evening of Venetian elegance (think Eyes Wide Shut). For 55€ you have an unlimited champagne bar, masked offered on entrance, breakfast + two drinks. Music: 30 years of hits. For tickets and info.
A gourmet buffet dinner soirée at club Six Seven, 67 rue Pierre Charron on the Champs Eylsees. From 8pm, enjoy an unlimited buffet and dance with star DJs and caberet dancers. Offers begin at 60€ for the buffet + 5 drinks. For tickets and info.
Finally, a 30s and Up party at Chez Papillion, rue de Ponthieu 75008 on the Champs Eyslees. For those of us for whom Justin Bieber doesn’t constitute our music, try the 30s up party for party with class. Guys in a jacket, ladies in a cocktail dress or equivalent. Chic is the order of the day. Offers include open champagne bar from midnight – 1am + two drinks for 49€. For tickets and info.
I feel Festive
Keep in mind that Paris has not had fireworks on New Year’s for a while now. The Effiel Tower is still the number one place to be; well, the Tower and the Champs Eylsees, but it’s not for the fireworks. A lights show will take place from the Tower at midnight and thousands of people huddle together at Trocadero for the festivies. Bottles of champagne in hand, many camp out hours in advance to get a good view. The few times that I’ve been on the site in person, I’ve arrived around 11pm and had a decent view all the same.
A lights show is also scheduled for the Champs Elysees.
I’d have a fun dinner at the Buddha Bar, as an example of a restaurant near the festivies, which by the way turns into a club after dinner, and then head on down to watch the lights show for the countdown. You’ll feel the Parisian flare in the air as soon as you step foot outside.
Most restaurants have a dinner celebration prepared for New Year’s. But you’ll need reservations. One of my favorite restaurants in Montmartre, L’homme Tranquille, is having a fête. After dinner you can take the short walk up to the hill and look out over the breathtaking view of Paris, get a bird’s-eye view of the lights shows.
To help you choose a restaurant, try looking on the site La Fourchette. They offer hundreds and hundreds of restaurant deal as well as customer ratings. You can search by type of food, price, and ratings. This is a great tool for anytime you’re thinking of going out to dinner in Paris, by the way, not just for New Year’s.
For some personal restaurant recommendations, see these posts:
Another idea is to book a boat cruise down the Seine on the Boreas – quite a Parisian experience. Starting in the Latin Quarter at 8pm, you’ll enjoy an apéritif dinatoire followed by a seated dinner, an orchestra, champagne at midnight and the best seats in the house to see the Eiffel Tower as you’ll pass just underneath during the countdown. The downside: this option is a little more expensive at 240€. For more info.
If you are in the mood for jazz, perhaps a Swing Party is what you’re looking for. Hosted by Le Caveau de la Huchette, a gem of a jazz club in Paris’ Latin Quarter. It’s a stone basement cave so the atmosphere is fantastic. From 20pm to dawn, party like you were in the height of the Cotton Club era for 25€. For more info and tickets.
Or how about live music and dinner in Saint Germain des Prés? At the historic Theatre de Saint Germain, beginning at 8pm, with an entrance fee of 55€ you will have live music and a DJ, dinner and champagne in the exclusive cadre of a private club. For more info and tickets.
And then there is this rather regal option: A New Year’s in a chalet with private fireworks in the Bois de Vincennes. These are the only fireworks in the city for New Year’s! Beginning at 8pm, a 55€ entrance includes 10 drinks and there is also a buffet breakfast option. For more info and tickets. To be fair, I’ve never been to this particular party, so I can’t give you a personal recommendation. But it does sound cool and I just might give it a try the next time I’m in town over le Réveillon.
For those of you trying to make plans for the holidays, I hope this gives you an idea of what Paris has to offer. It’s a fantastic city to celebrate New Year’s!!