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By Chris | June 5 2007
A day spent in the French capital is only topped by an enchanted evening. Originally named the “city of light” for the gas lamps lining the streets, Paris still claims this title as the city becomes illuminated each night. These are Elite Traveler‘s picks of the best things to do at night in Paris.
A trip to the opera is memorable in any city, but particularly so in Paris, which offers not one but two opera houses comprising Opéra de Paris: Opéra Bastille and Palais Garnier. Opéra Bastille is a triumph of modern architecture designed by Carlos Ott with incredible attention to acoustics and space. Modern works of music and dance are especially striking in its bold minimalist auditorium. Palais Garnier, commissioned by Napoleon III, is its opposite – marble, gilded moldings and glittering chandeliers dominate the soaring vaults of this impressive building. Watch a classic ballet or opera in its horse-shoe shaped auditorium, and don’t forget to look up at the famous Marc Chagall ceiling fresco.
Restored to its former Art Deco glory after years of idle uncertainty, the Salle Pleyel is one of the leading music venues in Paris. Combining minimalist elegance with high-performance acoustics and newly refurbished seating, this airy, soaring auditorium has hosted classical, jazz and world music all year round, with a new focus on modern artists. Past performers include Bryn Terfel, Youssou Ndour, and Anne- Sophie Mutter, as well as the Pleyel’s house orchestras and a huge range of guest orchestras from around the world. The venue now can accommodate to thousand people seated with an additional five hundred due to the removable pit.
Inspired by the glory days of smooth French actors Belmondo and Alain Delon, this 70s-influenced cocktail bar just behind the Comedie Francaise is a hotspot for people-watching and, true to its name, quite magnificent.
At Le Magnifique, low lighting, wood-paneled walls, airy ceilings and plush leather and velvet sofas make for an unbearably trendy atmosphere in which to sip cocktails and fine wines while enjoying the sushi menu.
Formerly the Cambon bar, the restyled Ritz Bar is one of the city’s most luxurious watering holes. With an Art Deco feel that’s inherently “ritzy,” it attracts only the most well-heeled of clientele and celebrities.
Only a stone’s throw away from the grand and imposing Arc de Triomphe (which deserves a stop during you Parisian evening as well), L’Arc is a multi-level nightlife experience comprising restaurant, bar and club in one majestic Napoleon III-era building. The bar, decorated with chic walnut paneling, animal skins, modern artwork and bubble-esque furniture, offers a huge selection of premium spirits, cocktails and champagne in a cozy yet sharp atmosphere. The club below, by contrast, is ultra-urban, with neon lighting, black leather seating and mirrors to reflect revelers as they dance. The new garden terrace offers panoramic views of the city at night.
Named after the American writer, a regular at this bar even when times were hard, the Hemingway Bar is an intimate, tiny space perfect for a quiet tête-à-tête or a reflective drink on one’s own. Lovingly restored to its original state with wood paneling and leather stools and armchairs with the walls adorned with original photographs that were taken by the author, it serves a range of single malt whiskeys (Hemingway’s favorite), beers and cocktails artfully devised by master barman Colin Field. Sit back and relax over a raspberry martini, or indulge with the famous Ritz Sidecar.
At the luxurious Le Bristol Paris hotel, Le Bar du Bristol is known for its signature cocktails crafted by an alchemist Head Barman. Enjoy a tapas assortment from renowned Chef Eric Frechon while sipping a custom-made nightcap in this couture cocktail lounge setting. The bar frequently hosts special cocktail events
Dominated by a statue of an enormous, rotund golden Buddha, the expansive Buddha Bar is a serene and super-cool option for whiling away an evening.
Its reds and golds, rich, dark wood furniture and amber mood lighting combine to create an exotic and timeless atmosphere, the perfect backdrop for the bar’s excellent cocktails and Asian-inspired snacks. Book a table for the night on the mezzanine and relax with a bottle of champagne while the DJs spin. You might even spy a celebrity or two.
Named for hotel Le Meurice’s address on rue de Rivoli, Bar 228 is reminiscent of a British club in its stately decor. Longtime Head Barman William Oliveri, with Le Meurice since 1978, serves up specialty cocktails as only the fourth bartender to lead the charge over the past 100 years. Hailing from Italy, Oliveri is known for his beloved bellini, as well as The Starcky and JCDC titled after famous designers. Unwind in a leather armchair while taking in frescos from the early 20th century.
Nestled in the heart of the trendy Pershing Hall hotel, the bar and lounge is a stylish, warm and relaxed place in which to pass the time.
Pink and amber lighting, low-lying seating areas and high ceilings create a simultaneously intimate and airy atmosphere, while the bar serves champagne, wines and a delicious menu of cocktails. Come here during the week for a relaxed vibe, or during the weekend to see Paris’s beautiful people in action.
After an evening hike to Sacré Coeur, Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is set in a fabulous 19th-century family residence, hidden away in verdant haven. Through a private passage lies Le Très Particulier, Oscar Comtet’s creation. Le Très Particulier is a lively and exotic place that evokes a garden of Eden aesthetic. The mysterious bar welcomes a select crowd to relax under the trees and in its underground bar. Its atmosphere evolves with the passing of time, unveiling an intimate to thriving nightlife. The various pockets of the bar run into one another and yet no two spaces resemble each other.
It seems only fitting to close our guide to Paris at night with a trip to its most romanticized structure. The Eiffel Tower sparkles over Paris at night and you can be a part of its as you climb the famous French tower up 704 steps. There are also three elevators, two which are open design for breathtaking views of the city. During the summer, the tower stays open past midnight for an incredibly memorable date night.