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>> Learn more about the best clubs in Paris!
(Photo compliments of Tom. Check out his description of Pigalle (under the heading sex, sex shops, etc) from the ‘man’s perspective’)
The Paris club scene changes so quickly, that you’ll probably want to visit some sites that specialize in Paris Clubbing to be brought up to date on the best places. (
List of top current clubs (2008)
What to expect
My “personal” guide to clubbing has unfortunately moved out of our building, but he mentioned that the best music and the most attractive women are not necessarily found in the same club – so you’ll want to migrate throughout the night. Some clubs such as Queen which were primarily gay clubs have mainstreamed.
Many night spots such as Les Folies Pigalle, Maxims, Bobino etc. transform into afterhours clubs as the night progresses – so they can change from traditional ‘night spots’ for tourists into very “non traditional” clubs by the time the sun comes up.
Even if the music changes, the concept of clubbing hasn’t changed much over the aeons: as many people as possible try to squeeze themselves into the smallest spaces (the closer to the bathrooms, the better). Dance till you trance. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford a bottle of whisky or champagne, you can sit down at a real table and comfortable sofa. This may set you back about 200 Euros. Just think, you could book a hotel room for the same price.
Otherwise, the standard admission can be 25 Euros with two drinks included. Of course, some clubs do have a sort of ‘door screening’ (which is the ultimate in absurdity). I refuse to go to any club where I have to wait in line. Life is too short!
What to wear. Parisgirl is definitely no ‘expert’ when it comes to clubwear but from my best sources, a good pair of clubbing jeans is abundantly sufficient. Cleavage never hurts for females who have it to flaunt.
Final advice
There are other ways to spend your evening that may end up being just as enjoyable – or even more so. Personally, I like the Paris clubs – but I think the cost is way out of proportion. If you do plan to go clubbing in Paris, be sure to take some extra vitamin C. Get some extra sleep the day before you go clubbing – and don’t make any plans for the following day. Clubbing is really a 48 hour “night”.
Les Folies Pigalle (described by Fodors as ‘decadent’) is on my ‘to do’ list. I haven’t gotten there yet. Les Folies Pigalle located in the heart of Paris’s ‘red light district’ has been described by my former neighbor, Govind, as ‘naughty’. Well, I may never know -it’s not recommended for female clubbers to visit this nightspot unescorted! Described by another site as ‘techno-trash’ hard. But judging by the French clubbers’ rave reviews, it’s safe to say that this is probably the creme de la creme of Paris clubbing. (I may still get there but only with an escort of two strong flanks).
As for Queen, finding a sofa in its VIP area provides a little respite from the frenzied dance floor, but quite honestly, the vibes I felt here were ‘predatory’ i.e. walking back and forth to the WC, a guy assuming I was single grabbed my hand supposedly to dance – but was also trying to ‘expertly’ slip a ring off my finger. Yes, the benefit of the night being still young as still being reasonably sober! Later I saw the same guy viewing the dance floor from above – obviously looking for any bejeweled clubbers (leave your good stuff at home). Putting that incident aside, the VIP section is fine and the champagne is potable.
I totally understand that sometimes ‘clubbing’ is the only thing that makes sense – and you won’t be satisfied until you see at least one ‘nuit blanche’ or white night. Keep in mind that the Metros stop running between 12:45 until 5:45 am on most nights (The night of the Fete de la Musique in June and La Nuit blanche in Fall, the Metros remain open – exceptionally). Also, you can take advantage of the Velib bike rental service. Taxis should be called by phone. You rarely will be able to find one at a taxi stand (unless you’re carrying a suitcase and headed for CDG).
Once you’ve gotten clubbing totally out of your system (this may take about ten years), if you’re still breathing, consider visiting some of Paris’s other excellent nightspots such such as the indie rock and world music clubs.
Check my most recent post on Le Club Satellit Metro: Oberkampf. Or Le Fleche d’Or for the best in indie rock in the 20th arrond. or Divan du Mondefor jazz, rock and world music in Montmartre. This is nighttime entertainment which will still allow you enough money to eat for the rest of your visit and afford bus fare back to CDG airport.
Worried about getting turned away at the door?
You might consider a Club Pass as a way of introduction to the Paris club scene. The club pass is available through the site Guides de Nuit and although the clubs don’t include Les Folies or some of the afters I’ve mentioned, this is a good starting point. From there, you can probably meet people at various clubs and choose where you want to continue your party.
Addresses of Major Clubs in Paris
102, Avenue Champs Elysées
75008 Paris
01 53 89 08 90
Folies Pigalle
11 Place Pigalle
Follow Me
Nix Nox
Quai de la Gare
>> Read more about Paris Night Life