This guest post was written by Kate Cusick.
Given the nickname, The City of Lights, people are frequently tricked into thinking it’s describing the literal lights that illuminate the city. Rather, it’s describing the concentration of intellectuals, artists and influencers within the city. Yet, people are continually drawn to see the city by night, and once you see Paris at night, you cannot forget its beauty.
I’ll admit, seeing the Eiffel Tower twinkle for five minutes every hour never gets old. It’s absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. Watching cars rush down Champs-Elysees towards the Arc de Triomphe with their scarlet-red brake lights illuminating the street and the massive monument towering over the famed avenue gives you this feeling, like you can feel the city’s energy rushing through your veins. But seeing the monuments aren’t the only things to do in The City of Lights at night.
Having lived in Paris for about 9 months now, despite my inability to speak French, I’ve become aware of what the locals do for fun and where they go when the sun sets and the streetlights turn on.
So get dressed up, it’s time to go out - local Parisian style.
Night out at the Theatre
Before the night begins, let’s make reservations for a night at the theatre. The French have an incredible appreciation for the arts, unlike any other nationality. Living in Paris surrounded by 175 open museums, 208 theatres, 84 cinemas, and 3 magnificent opera houses, I have never experienced not having something to do, even on days when the weather’s terrible. One of the best ways to join the locals is to settle into a plush, red seat in the elegant Theatre Edouard VII and truly appreciate French plays and musicals. Theatre in Paris offers an experience unlike any other by providing English subtitles that run in real time over the stage, so you can watch the show performed in French and completely understand everything going on. Brilliant, right?
The night’s just beginning and the weather’s beautiful, so let’s visit my personal favourite bar to relax while sharing a drink amongst friends and trendy Parisians. Ride the lift to the rooftop and settle down on one of the cozy sofas surrounded by vines and incredible smelling plants to watch the sunset behind Sacre-Cœur. As it gets darker, the string-lights above turn on as the surrounding rooftops and chimneys fade into the darkness. With sister bars across the city, Le Perchoir doesn’t only serve incredible drinks, but provide exceptional views of the city from rooftops.
Parc de la Villette
Before the night begins, spend the afternoon (or whole day?) at Paris’ 3rd largest park located in the northeastern corner of the city in the 19th arrondissement. Literally designed with the concept of the “anti-tourist” in mind, it’s my newest favourite modern space to explore. From the Géode, a huge geodesic dome with an IMAX theatre inside, to the 10 themed gardens, Europe’s largest science museum (Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie), and the unique music or film festivals often held on the weekends, there’s no such thing as boredom here.
Rue du Montparnasse
Starting to get hungry? I adore the eclectic and vibrant district of Montparnasse, so find rue du Montparnasse, a street lined with authentic Breton crêperies, some of the best crêpes you’ll have in the entire city. Enjoy a savory dinner crêpe paired with classic Breton cider before indulging in a sweet crêpe, maybe filled with apples, caramel au buerre salé (salted caramel) and topped with homemade chantilly, yum!
In one of the oldest and liveliest neighbourhoods is the quaint pedestrian avenue, rue Mouffetard. Here in this area where parts of the street date back to 2000 years ago, you’ll not only find open markets, shops, and cafes to visit during the day, but a lively street at night. As the streetlights come on, bars awaken with music and people out enjoying the night. My favorite? Jazz nights at the cozy, dimly lit bar, Le Piano Vache, with a glass of red wine in hand, of course!
Stroll Along the Seine
I think the first thing I noticed about Paris, whether you’re a tourist or a local, is that you’re immediately drawn to calm waters of the Seine for a stroll or a picnic on the banks. On any given day, at any hour, you’ll find people of all ages along the river’s edge sharing a bottle of wine, eating snacks and listening to music. So stop along the Seine, no matter what time it is, and enjoy.
Guest Blogger: Originally from Rhode Island, USA, Kate moved to Paris to study and work for a year. When she isn’t in the library, you can find her wandering around the city with her camera in hand. As a photographer and artist, she finds her inspiration for art within nature and things or places she discovers while traveling. Keep up with Kate on her city explorations and recent works through her portfolio and Instagram.
Showaround: Thank you Kate for being our guest blogger!
Cover Image: Phototraveller © 123RF.COM