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Big cities such as Paris and Marseille cater to a wide range of tastes.
In the capital, the formerly sleazy Pigalle district (home of cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge) has cleaned up its act and become SoPi, home to hipster cocktail bars and trendy restaurants.
The 10th and 11th arrondissements have been transformed too, and as a result you're likely to find a good time along the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin or at bars such as L’Alimentation Générale.
Entertainment wise, tango dancers whirl on the terrace of the gorgeous Palais Garnier every Sunday, live music fills bars across the city, and formal concerts are hosted at venues such as Odéon Théâtre de l'Europe and Salle Pleyel.
In Marseille, the fun starts in the Vieux Port down on the harbour, where bars and restaurants line the shore.
La Caravelle is a legendary spot with views across the harbour, but if you prefer a more artsy scene, then head to the hip district of Cours Julien. With a heap of recent investment, the city is on the up, determined to shake off its gritty reputation.
In other cities and towns, you'll find less in the way of formal nightlife, but walk down to the local square – there’s always a local square – and you're likely to find residents sharing a tipple and shooting the breeze while an enterprising performer sets out their stall, providing the evening's entertainment.
What France lacks in the socialising force of Britain's pub culture, it makes up for with the sheer joie de vivre that comes from living ‘the good life’.
A large part of this enviable lifestyle lies on the nation’s tables. Hop over to our page dedicated to eating out in France to learn more.