Top bars in… Paris, France

23rd July, 2020 by James Lawrence

Paris’s nightlife offers abundant choice, from jazz clubs and high-class Belle Époque hotel bars to cutting-edge cocktail dens and hipster hang-outs. All you have to do is find the experience that suits your style and budget.

Paris’s nightlife scene offers everything from jazz cellars to avante-garde cocktails bars

With more iconic landmarks than anywhere else in Europe, everyone has an image of Paris in their minds, even if they have never visited. Tourists have all manner of expectations for the city of love: risqué cabaret, naughty nightclubs and side‐street cafés where intellectuals discuss philosophy – things everyone covets in Paris, except the Parisians themselves.

You could easily find all of the above, but another approach is to seek out the contemporary face of Paris’s legendary nightlife – from jazz cellars to avant‐garde cocktails bars; garage beats to live music; chic hotel bars to artists’ squats in the 11th arrondissement, modern Paris caters to all budgets and tastes. Its nightlife is as exciting as it is varied – you just have to know where to look.

Do you seek pampering service in luxurious hotel bars? Then the 1st, 2nd and 7th/8th arrondissements should be your first ports of call. However, lovers of world‐class jazz and blues should head to the famous Le Marais district. After World War II, Paris became Europe’s most important jazz centre, and the city’s best clubs and cellars still lure international stars – as does the wonderful Paris Jazz Festival.

Le Marais boasts some of the city’s most cutting‐edge cocktail bars, which are more reminiscent of New York’s Soho than the French capital. Indeed, for some visitors, the Parisian stereotypes of flawless style and impeccable taste are as tedious as they are overstated. Buttes aux Cailles provides the antidote to that cliché. Not remotely gentrified, it caters to night owls who abhor classy décor and formalised service. Hip, grungy and louche, it’s a hipster’s paradise.

One final word of advice: drinking here has never been cheap, but happy hour – sometimes extending to as late as 9pm – has brought the price of a cocktail down to pricey, rather than extortionate, levels. Fancy squares and Belle Époque interiors may look great on Instagram, but you’ll pay a hefty premium for the privilege.

Click through the following pages to see our top bars in Paris, France. 

*Some of these bars may be temporarily closed due to government restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

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