Paris is called "The City of Lights" because of its early adoption of electricity, but it still has a magical quality after dark in today's modern age. This post lists the top 10 things to do at night, free activities, family-friendly options, and Parisian dining inspiration.
- Top 10
- Free Things to Do
- Family-Friendly Activities
- Restaurants and Food
- Things to Do (Any Time of Day).
There is so much to see and do in Paris! How do you narrow it all down? Here is our top ten list for things to do after dark. Don't forget to check out our tour information if you'd like for someone to lead you around the city.
Take a look at some of our other popular Paris posts:
- Top Things to Do in Paris
- Versailles Tickets
- Eiffel Tower Tickets
- Paris Transportation
- Attraction Discount Passes
(1) Take a Sightseeing Tour
Paris is still nicknamed the City of Lights for good reason - the city is beautiful when lit up at night. We recommend going on a sightseeing tour at night! Some walking tours at night focus on murder mysteries. If a themed tour isn’t your thing, you can always do a self-guided audio tour at any time of day.
(2) Sporting Events
There is more to Paris than art installations and museums. Parisians are passionate about sports, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for you to catch a match or event while in the city. Keep an eye out for tournaments, as well.
The games are exciting to attend as families! Especially when it comes to basketball, there are plenty of things going on to keep the little ones entertained if they aren't yet sports fans. For more family-friendly outings and cool things to do, check out the section below.
(3) See the Louvre At Night
The Louvre was once home to French royalty and has now transitioned into being one of the most famous museums in the world with its unique pyramid and collection of masterpieces. You’ll find the Mona Lisa among other great paintings.
The Louvre is open late multiple times per week. You can enjoy the museum until 21:45 on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Additionally, during the first Saturday of every month, you can get in for free between 18:00 and 21:45. For more budget-friendly ideas, check out the free activities section below. Keep in mind that tickets to the Louvre are also included in many Paris discount passes.
TIP: After hours skip-the-line admission to the Louvre is included at no extra charge with some guided walking tours of the museum.
(4) See the Moulin Rouge
When you think of Paris, you think of culture. The Moulin Rouge, still held in the iconic windmill building, is one of the most well-known cabaret shows in the world. If you want to experience a lavish show with extravagant costumes, don’t miss out. Keep in mind performances usually sell out several months in advance, and there is a dress code. No shorts, sports shoes, or sportswear are allowed.
If you want to enjoy a different type of theatre experience, like an Opera or Ballet performance, the Palais Garnier has performances throughout the year.
If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, AccorHotels Arena is one of the largest music and sporting venues in the area and regularly hosts big-name artists like Kenny Kravitz, Maroon 5, and Elton John.
(5) Explore Parisian Cuisine
When you’re in a hub of great food such as Paris, it can be difficult to know where to start. Taking a food tour can give you a great overview to amazing cheeses, crepes, bakery items, and sweets. If you have an especially strong sweet tooth, why not a Macaron Tour? Many of these tours start around 17:30 or 18:00.
For more Paris food suggestions, see the section below.
(6) Experience Paris for Free
Paris doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your evening for free! From free concerts put on my conservatory students to seeing the prettiest streets lit up at night, you’ll always have something to do.
One of the great ways to experience some culture is to find a few of the museums that are open late one specific nights of the week for free, like Musée des Arts et Métiers.
See where to go in Paris for free things to do at night in the section below.
(7) Have an Evening with the Kids
Traveling with the family? Why not spend the evening at a museum or bowling? The Pompidou Center is a great way to keep everyone entertained, and it’s open late. There are also some fun tours that start after dark, from a 2-hour bus tour to a spooky walking tour.
In the family-friendly section of this article, we have a great list of fun activities to try.
(8) Visit the Eiffel Tower
It is difficult to imagine a visit to Paris without experiencing the Eiffel Tower. That means, however, that it is also on a lot of other visitors’ lists of things to do. A great way to get a breathtaking view while fighting fewer crowds is to go at night.
The Eiffel Tower is open - weather permitting - until midnight between mid-June and September. The Tower is open until 23:00.
(9) See the Versailles Fountain Show
Every Saturday night at Versailles from mid-June through early September, the Chateau de Versailles puts on an impressive fountain show in their gardens. The fountains dance to music and are accompanied by multi-colored lights.
The finale at the end of the evening includes a colorful fireworks display. It is the perfect end to a day at Versailles, but it also worth an entire trip to the gardens.
This tour grants entrance to the gardens for the Saturday night spectacle.
TIP: Some guided walking tours include after hours access at the Versailles Palace and gardens.
(10) Save Money with a Paris City Pass
Finding a tourist pass is one of the best ways to get the most for your dollar in a foreign city. This is true for experiencing the most nightlife in Paris, too!
The Paris Night Pass (Silver) includes:
- A Cabaret show with champagne
- Seine River Cruise
- One All-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Ticket
Honorable Mention: Enjoy an Exploration Game
If you're looking for a fun way to explore the streets of Paris after dark, there are a couple different self-guided mystery games you might want to consider.
The Mona Lisa Curse game puts you in the role of a detective in the 19th century who is attempting to solve the case of Mona Lisa of the Seine.
All you have to do is follow the clues as you explore the city and you'll see many notable sites along the way.
There is also a Lovers of Montmartre game which has you attempting to find a lost love. This one can be played day or night, and you'll visit a variety of sites like Moulin Rouge and the Wall of Love.
FREE THINGS TO DO
The City of Lights doesn't have to break your bank. Here is a list of free things to do after dark, including rooftop views, open-late museums, and a light show.
For even more budget-friendly activities, check out our full free things to do in Paris guide.
Printemps Rooftop Terrace Views
Printemps is a department store with a rooftop terrace that might be one of the best-kept secrets for views of the city. From morning through early evening, you can go up a narrow escalator and see a magical view.
Note: Disabled access is limited due to a narrow escalator to the terrace.
Musée des Arts et Métiers
This museum of arts and crafts is dedicated to innovation and invention. There are displays of sketches and schematics for the innovative processes that it took to invent new technology.
The museum is free on Thursday evenings between 18:00 - 21:30 (6:00 pm - 9:30 pm).
The Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the world’s biggest art museum, and one of the most iconic attractions in Paris. Visiting at night is one of the best times to see the pyramid lit up in the courtyard.
If you happen to be in the city on the first Saturday night of each month, you’ll get to enjoy the art and exhibits for free between 18:00 - 21:45 (6:00 pm - 9:45 pm).
Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique
The Conservatoire is a great school that has been training musicians, singers, and dancers since the 1700s. You’ll be able to see some of the students perform free concerts and recitals. Quite a few of these performances happen later in the evenings. Some of the concerts are ticketed, and some are first come, first served for seating. You’ll need to look at the calendar to see which concerts require tickets.
Free Light Show at the Eiffel Tower
Every hour, on the hour after sunset the Eiffel Tower puts on a five-minute light show using 20,000 light bulbs. The free light show includes a powerful beacon shining from the very top of the tower and lots of sparkling gold lights. All you need to do to enjoy the show is find a good vantage point in the grass nearby.
There are a wide variety of family-friendly things to do if you let the kids stay up late! Here we have a list of fun tours, hands-on museums, and nighttime activities that the whole family will love.
For more inspiration, here is our family-friendly Paris post.
Take a Ghost Tour
If you’re interested in the dark and spooky history of the city, take this Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends tour of Paris. On a 2-hour walk, you’ll hear stories of haunted hotels and medieval punishments that happened on the very streets you’re walking on!
Enjoy an Evening Coach Tour
Looking to enjoy the City of Lights while it is lit up? Enjoy driving past the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Place de l’Opera, and more on your almost 2-hour ride.
You’ll get an audio guide and younger passengers will have a Kids’ Club experience.
The Pompidou Center
This massive museum is the perfect place to get a little culture in while also having fun with the kids! All visitors under the age of 18 get free entry and there are often art exhibits aimed for a young audience. The Pompidou Center also has a family-friendly rooftop restaurant that is great to visit after exploring.
The Pompidou Center is open until 21:00 most nights.
An Escape Room
The Game in Paris is a great Escape Room in Paris that allows you to solve puzzles and unlock the door to your freedom within an hour. Older kids could enjoy the challenge of finding clues and trying to beat the clock.
This classic family activity is always a great bet if you’re looking to entertain the whole family for the evening! Bowling Mouffetard has a fun, retro atmosphere with glow-in-the-dark lanes and bowling pins. If a game of billiards is more your thing, they also have pool tables.
Enjoy one of the most popular avenues in Paris after dark! The 1.17-mile stretch of avenue is covered with illuminated shopfronts, cozy cafes, and street performers. Kids can enjoy the dancers, singers, and people watching.
RESTAURANTS AND FOOD
Paris is known for its food and wine.
Whether you're looking for pastries, a fun experience, or traditional cuisine, you can find it here!
Dinner Cruise on the Seine
On a boat enclosed with glass windows, any time of year is perfect for a dinner cruise down the Seine River. Enjoy a three-course dinner with French wine pairings. You’ll get to eat as you leisurely glide past the Eiffel Tower and under beautifully-lit bridges.
Sample French Pastries
Parisian pastry chefs create works of art out of their desserts and pastries. Make sure you go into a patisserie to try an eclair, macaron, mille-feuilles, or Saint-Honore puff pastry.
- Pierre Herme is a well-known bakery that serves up amazing croissants, tartes, and macarons.
- Bontemps is a charming patisserie with a wide selection of old fashioned desserts.
- If you’re going to try a Saint-Honore, which is a pastry named after the patron saint of bakers, go to Carl Marletti.
Traditional Parisian Food
For a taste of traditional savory dishes, go to Canard & Champagne to try duck confit. The meat is salted and then cooked in duck fat. Duck has been a French staple for generations, so if you’ve never tried it, this is the perfect place to start.
Another traditional French dish is escargot - snails. And where better to go for snails than a restaurant named after them? L’Escargot Montorgueil is popular with both locals and tourists for their buttery escargot.
When the weather is nice, is there a better way to enjoy Paris than by relaxing at a rooftop bar? You’ll get to see the lights of the city, get some people-watching in, and have a delicious evening.
- Le Perchoir says they were the first rooftop bar in the city. Whether or not it’s true, this is a tried and tested favorite spot of locals and tourists alike. Get here early in the evening to get a comfy spot on a couch before the space fills up.
- Le Top is overlooking Canal Saint-Martin. The popular bar is covered in graffiti on the outside and only open during the summer months.
- Le Terrass Hotel has a charming and colorful rooftop bar. You’ll get to enjoy panoramic views of Paris while sipping on your cocktail.