I don’t usually do this type of thing, but I’ve had a few emails asking for advice about where to go to bring in the new year in Paris, and I realised that if you’re not a local, finding any trustworthy suggestions on the net might seem impossible. I haven’t yet decided myself whether I’ll be staying indoors with wine & cheese or venturing out into the city– but if I do, these are the places I’d bet on for a good time…
Disclaimer: Paris is no exception to the New Years Eve scramble. Taxis, bars and restaurants have been known to overcharge people on NYE!
1. Gatsby’s Parisian Den
Bringing back the house band, Le Fou is inspired by early 20th century nightlife, sophisticated and civilized on the surface with a place to let loose hiding underground. The ground floor is masterpiece of 1920s interior design, hosted by hard-working barmen in vintage clinical jackets serving classic cocktails from an Art Deco bar. Downstairs is the devilish den where the house band ‘Les Fous Furieux’ plays gypsy jazz until the early hours.
On the 31st, Le Fou is organizing a big New Year’s Eve party with live jazz upstairs and rare vinyl downstairs until late. To avoid the 20 euro door charge on the night, get your group on the list by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on Le Fou’s Facebook page (37 bis, Rue du Sentier 2eme).
2. Belleville’s Latino Dance Hall
In the setting of an old Parisian biscuit factory, at Studio de l’Ermitage, meet Paris’ Latino community, dance your pants off around a live band and feel like you’re in South America for the night. It’s best known for the Latin American nights and this New Year’s eve, the line-up includes 18 musicians and singers on the stage for a combo of mambo, swing, tango, rock, valse and cha-cha-cha dancing to take you through until morning. Advanced ticket reservation (recommended) is €33 or the entry fee on site is €40. Or you can book a table “deluxe” which includes 4 entries and a bottle of champagne for €222 (working out at €55 per head, an offer that will likely sell out soon). There’s Brazilian snack food to order. Ladies, wear comfortable shoes and bring a fan if you have one.
3. A Fairground of Forgotten Toys
I couldn’t think of a more magical place to spend my last (or first) afternoon of the year. The Musée des Arts Forains is the result of one man’s fascination with rare funfair objects, games, toys, theatrical props and other lost treasures dating back to the 1800s. At the heart of a neighbourhood in Paris that was once the main center of wine bottling for the city, this magical museum is set in the 19th century wine storehouses where old train tracks still run through the cobblestoned streets in between the pavilions. Crystal chandeliers hang from the trees, there are hundred year-old carrousels to be ridden and a hot-air balloon carrying an elephant. Take a magical ride through the charming history of playful treasures and be transported back to your childhood, when nothing was more important than playtime.
This museum can usually only be visited by appointment during the year, but for 8 days around the holiday period, it’s opening its doors for wandering visitors to discover a hidden universe. Expect impromptu performances and a selection of attractions and rides available.
Light meals available on site (sandwiches, hot potatoes, pancakes, onion soup, mulled wine, drinks).
Adult tickets, € 14, children € 6, more information here. (53 avenue des Terroirs de France, 12eme)
4. Toast with Hemingway
I noticed the Ritz Bar is hosting a champagne & cocktails with a DJ for the 31st, so I called up the concierge and asked if old Hem’s bar across the hallway would be doing anything for the occasion. The concierge told me that the Hemingway Bar will indeed be open as usual (probably later than its usual closing time of 2am) and it’s likely the party atmosphere from the main bar across the hall will spill over into the Hemingway bar. It sounds like a good balance to me. For all enquiries or bookings, call + 33 1 43 16 33 74 or email email@example.com.
(15 Place Vendôme, 1er)
5. Float into 2017
The first floating hotel in France, OFF Paris Seine boasts 58 contemporary rooms and a very tempting plunge pool surrounded by the restaurant & bar. We’re invited for poolside cocktails with the resident golden swan, Marcel– a name I gave to the hotel’s floating blow-up duck. Warm up with the DJ on the indoor dance floor and cool off by the pool with your cocktail. If you’d like to have dinner there, the hotel chef is offering a four course menu. Prices start from €40 for entry to the evening with two complimentary drinks, or €80 including the dinner and two complimentary drinks. Expect a lively crowd of 20 and 30 somethings.
More information here. (20-22 Port d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris).
6. Tropical Pirate Ship
You could mistake Le Comptoir Générale for a forgotten, once grand African hotel, a social club in Senegal or a Stanley Kubrick film set. Filled with eclectic furniture and elaborate props to take you to a faraway place or time, this theatrical wonderland hidden behind the trendy Canal Saint Martin is host to film nights, art exhibitions, vintage sales, environmental conferences, foodie pop-ups– you name it. Never ones to miss out on a party, the Comptoir is throwing their own New Year’s Eve tropical-themed party.
Gathered around the giant pirate boat bar, they’re inviting guests for a seven-course meal of authentic, ancient pirate recipes and a pirate-inspired Caribbean main dish. After dinner, expect the sounds of reggae, funk, hip-hop and afro electronic sounds to bring you through to 2017. There will also be a hair braiding atelier open for the night!
There are two dinner services, one starting at 8pm for €40 a head or 10.30pm for €50 a head. Reservations a must, by calling 01 44 88 24 48 or emailing restaurant@lecomptoirgener
More information on the menu here. (80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris)
7. A Flamenco Star’s Parisian Stage
I’ve been to see Sara Baras twice in Paris on New Year’s Eve and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Flamenco’s biggest star puts on a show to remember with her talented band of gitanos. It’s an absolutely mesmerising performance that will fill you with energy from head to toe for 2017…
Tickets from €37, bookings for the 31st December at 8pm here.
8. A Secret Playhouse
On a leafy avenue in Montmartre, inside the former villa of the Hermès family at the top of a secret stairway, the Hotel Particulier de Montmartre has a very special bar called Le Très Particulier. Spoil yourself with luxurious cocktails and schmooze with a diverse crowd of well-travelled guests of the hotel and in-the-know Parisians.
If you have a budget for dinner, there’s a romantic six course meal going for 220 euros a head. But if you’re only interested in dancing, entry is free and the DJ starts at 11pm.
More event information here. (23, avenue Junot, Pavillon D, 18eme).
9. Rooftop Revelry
The year-round rooftop terrace of Le Perchoir is always ready & waiting with heated tent areas, summer vibes (even in winter) and a great view over the city– NYE is no exception. Located on the 7th floor of an old unmarked industrial building, this popular bar will have a campfire going, BBQ corn and hot wine of course. Cocktails start at €12, arrive early to avoid waiting time downstairs. You can book dinner on the 6th floor for €80 for a three course meal. Across the hall, there’s a nightclub where you can also reserve tables. For reservations for either, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information here. (14 rue Crespin du Gast, 11ème)
10. Champagne Dinner Spot
If you’d prefer to drown out the noise of your typical New Year’s Eve, I’d head to Les Chouettes for its glamorous art deco ambiance. Layered on three levels of a gorgeous Eiffel-inspired atelier, dinner will start on the ground floor and you can move upstairs to the cocktail bar for a new year’s nightcap.
The menu is €120/person without drinks and can be reserved on 0033 1 44 61 73 21. (32 Rue de Picardie, 3eme)
11. Easy-going Funhouse
At Phillip Starck’s friendly hotel in the 20th, you can’t really go wrong. With the buzzy open-plan ground floor that is all at once laidback lounge, cocktail bar, restaurant and club, Mama Shelter is hosting a dinner and DJ evening with reggae, dancehall and hip hop. You can show up in jeans, meet some friendly faces and hang out with cocktails on the terrace overlooking the abandoned railway line. The menu (there’s also vegetarian version) is €119 per person and €49 for kids.
More info here. (109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020)
12. Go for Gospel
If you’re looking for something seriously uplifting to conclude a somewhat heavy 2016, let the power of this African American gospel choir lift your spirits on the eve of a new year. The performance will take place inside one of Paris’ most beautiful churches at 8.30pm until 10pm and you can reserve your place from €27.50 here. Find your joie de vivre for 2017.
(Eglise Saint Roch, 296 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001)