Nighttime Paris is exotic and exciting, whether you’re looking for low-key local hangouts, hidden jazz dens or a big night out on Le Town.
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Cabaret is a kinky slice of Parisian history and Montmartre is home to an iconic experience that will knock your socks off. The Moulin Rouge is a sexy and totally over-the-top knees up, complete with 60 Doriss Girl Can-Can Dancers speckled with sequins, rhinestones and, frankly, not much else. It’s a cheeky flurry of feathers and an eye-popper of a show. The downside is the price tag, costing around €80 before you chuck in food or champagne.
If the Moulin Rouge feels too touristy, try the alternative, and often naughtier, cabarets at The Lido or Le Crazy Horse Saloon, where female dancers, jugglers and acrobats frolic across the stage in the buff. Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson both famously stripped off for this show, making it a dazzling display of big names, bizarre skills, and jiggling human bits.
Cabaret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you’re on the lookout for a more relaxed evening, try hitting a jazz club. Jazz was a big deal in Paris way before it grabbed the rest of the world, and you’ll find live music seeping out from hole-in-the-wall bars, basement clubs and jazz caves across the city. These are atmospheric dens for cool cats, struggling artists and hopeless romantics from all walks of life, making for a fascinating, saxophone-soaked few hours.
For something more upbeat and mainstream, crash the trendy club scene and join the bright young things bobbing to electro-beats or thrashing about to techno-grunge. Among the best are Batofar (Facing 11, Quai François Mauriac), a pumping club inside a converted barge floating on the Seine, Chez Moune (54, rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle), free of charge and home to hipster night owls, and ChaCha Club (47, rue Berger), with an in-house recording studio, a fumoir, and a giant bathroom, complete with a huge claw-footed tub.