As the city of love, lights and Dom Perignon (or sparkling white for those travelling on a budget), Paris is one of the Top 5 New Year’s tourist destinations across the globe. Can’t say we’re surprised!
Indeed, while temperatures may be on the decline, the party is just heating up in the City of Light, as the Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Trocadero and Sacre Coeur prepare to say ‘Bonne Année!’…
Paris NYE at-a-glance
- Paris’s public transport stays open all night on December 31st, so you don’t have to worry about getting home. However, it does get exceptionally crowded around 1-2am, so try to avoid these times if you dread the squash.
- There isn’t an official fireworks show, instead there’s a light show at the Eiffel Tower at midnight.
- At midnight, you pop Champagne or white wine and kiss the person you’re next to – these are called bisous and are the French version of an air kiss.
- New Year’s Eve is also the feast day of St. Sylvester in France – hence the emphasis on having a good meal!
- “Bonne Année!” is “Happy New Year!” in French.
NYE early evening things to do
The open-air ice rink outside Hôtel de Ville is open until 10pm and is free for those with their own skates, otherwise rental is €5.
If you’re looking to stay warm indoors, go see a show: L’Opéra Bastille is great for ballet that will get in you in the mood for the night ahead. For more information, check out their site.
Should I eat out on Paris NYE?
It’s typical for the French to ring in the New Year with an elaborate, multi-course meal – indeed, most Parisians celebrate behind closed doors with private dinner parties. Restaurants copy this tradition by offering their own NYE set menus, always at breathtakingly expensive prices.
Our advice? NYE is the one time year you should avoid eating out in Paris. It’s cheapest to eat early at a café, or to prepare a meal at your hostel.
See our Paris Budget Food & Drink Guide for ideas on where to get some early grub.
NYE fireworks and street parties
For those who enjoy the warmth of a crowd, the echo of a countdown and the never-ending fizz of some quality champagne, you can’t beat a New Years at one of Paris’ main tourist attractions, the Eiffel Tower. Indeed, the absence of a firework show is more than made up for by an excess of enthusiasm and one hell of a light show on the beautiful tower.
Champs-Élysées: For those keen on partying hard as the clock strikes 12am, there’s no better place to celebrate than the famous Champs-Élysées. After enjoying a mouth-watering French meal, people will generally start to arrive here at around 9pm, armed of course with the requisite champagne bottles, plastic flute glasses and picnic bags. As 31st December 2014 ticks over into January 2015, you will score a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower as it explodes into a sparkling dance of lasers and lights. Turn to the person next to you, clink your plastic glasses and wish them a happy New Year with the cry of ‘Bonne Année!’
Hot tip: For the best front-row view of festivities, head early to Champ de Mars park in front of the Eiffel Tower. Bring wine, a picnic and an excess of warm clothing!
The Sacre Coeur: Not a fan of crowds but still want a taste of the action? Head to Sacre Coeur Cathedral Plaza in beautiful Montmartre – another favourite (yet significantly calmer) place to bid the year farewell. From here, assuming the skies are relatively clear, you should be afforded a spectacular view of the Paris skyline including the stunning light show on the Eiffel Tower (and any guerrilla firework displays that happen to be launched!)
While still relatively crowded, the Montmartre street party is significantly more laid-back than its Champs-Élysées counterpart, and there are always plenty of nearby bars, cabarets and clubs to explore in the nearby Pigalle.
The best Paris bars for NYE
Whether you’ve started your New Year’s Eve night 2014/15 at the Champs-Élysées or Montmartre, Parisian streets are choc-a-bloc with bars and clubs that will stay open until the early hours.
A great choice for a champagne cocktail is Flûte l’Étoile (19 Rue de l’Étoile) – a small and intimate bar lounge with red sofas, a fireplace, soft lighting and soothing music near the Arc de Triomphe.
Want to see where Paris’s cool kids go? Head north-east to Pigalle or Belleville and work your way around the neighbourhoods’ hipster bars. In Belleville, start at grungy Café Cheri(e) (44 Bld. de la Villette) then roll on to the crypt-like basement at La Cantine de Belleville (108, Boulevard Belleville).
In Pigalle, head to le Mansart (1 rue Mansart) for beers, foosball and cheap bistro dishes earlier in the evening, then hop across the street to 19th-century mansion tuned cocktail bar le Carmen (34 Rue Duperré) to dance the night away.
See our budget Paris bar guide for even more NYE drinking ideas.
The best Paris clubs for NYE
Seeking something a little more serious in the clubbing stakes? For some unadulterated fun, head to Nouveau Casino (109 Rue Oberkampf), with its wide open dance floor, cutting edge hybrid music and large main bar (which, strangely enough, remarkably resembles an iceberg!). Another great choice for ravers is Jane Club – a funky pop disco from the same owners of Fabric Nightclub in London. Located in the chic St German dés Prés district, the club attracts an easy-going crowd of 20- and 30-somethings keen on dancing constantly till dawn.
Clubs all over the city will be hosting NYE parties and events, but here are our top picks:
- Techno-grunge club Rex has a unique sound system that attracts some of the biggest names is electronice music every year.
- Point Ephémère by Canal St Martin is a cool art, dance and music space. with 2 dancefloors, 1 chill out area, 4 bars, and heated patio. Expect resident DJs and surprises.
- Mix Club is one of the biggest clubs in Paris and is boasting the Biggest Reggeaton and Hip Hop New Year’s Eve in France.
See our singles’ guide to Paris for even more clubbing recommendations.
Last minute accommodation
Our cheap Paris hotels and youth hostels will be snapped up in no time, while the remainder hike up prices with the increase in demand. The solution? Book early. These are a few of our favourites showing cheap prices right now for New Years 2014/15…
- The Hotel Riviera has private rooms available starting from €87.77pppn. This two-star hotel is located near the Butte Montmartre and the Opera district. Book now.
- Avalon Hotel Paris has private triple rooms starting from €103pppn. The two-star hotel is less than five minutes walk from the Gare du Nord with the Marais and Pigalle just a short walk away. Book now
- At Paris Residence Hotel you can stay in a private twin for €103pppn, with continental breakfast included. It’s conveniently located just a few steps away from Gare du Nord. Book now
Don’t worry about staying a few metro stops away from Montmartre or the Champs-Elysees. Public transport will be free from 31 December to noon on 1 January, and the entire network will run until 2:15am (with some subways, buses and RER trains in operating throughout the night).
There are 300 stations around the city and it costs €1.70 per journey, or you can buy in bulk with 10 for €12.70.
Have you done New Year’s in Paris? Tell us your top tips in the comments…
Thanks to ЕленАндреа, LeWeb12, _FXR , Harold Groven, The Arches, Max Braun, Ed Johnson, Caroline Mae Stidworthy, Harald Groven and echiner1 for the images off flickr. Please note all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.