New York City has Times Square. London gets to celebrate the New Year before the rest of Europe. But New Year’s Eve in Paris remains an unforgettable night for those lucky enough to experience it.
Whether you are an avid clubber looking for the best party on town on the biggest party night of the year or a more subdued reveller seeking the best way to ring in 2010, Paris has something to offer everyone. (Just remember to book your hotel room and dinner reservations well in advance!)
1. Fireworks at the Champs-Elysees
Fireworks at the Champs-Elysees are perhaps the most traditional way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris (and a must for all first time visitors.) Parisians and tourists alike begin arriving on the Champs-Elysees around 9pm on New Year’s Eve to get the best view of the Eiffel Tower. The metro is usually free on New Year’s Eve but leave relatively early to avoid counting down to midnight in a metro car! Once 12:00 am strikes, the Eiffel Tower lights up with fireworks. Bring your own champagne and be prepared to get to know your neighbours in the crowd.
Top Paris hotel near the Champs Elysées: Hotel Pavillon Montaigne
2. Celebrate at Montmartre
If you want to see the fireworks but can’t stand the crowds, make your way to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur. Although it’s a popular destination, there are still smaller crowds and an unbeatable night view of Paris lit up by fireworks.
Top Paris hotel in Montmartre: Hotel Le Relais Montmartre
3. New Year’s à la Francaise….
When in Paris, celebrate like a Parisian! New Year’s Eve, or St. Sylvestre, is traditionally celebrated by kissing at midnight and toasting with glasses of champagne or white wine. Hot wine (vin chaud) and hard cider are also popular beverages. Foie gras, oysters, and pâtés often make an appearance at both Christmas and New Year’s meals, along with papillotes, popular chocolate treats that open like firecrackers.
4. A Romantic New Year’s Eve
A dinner cruise on the Seine on New Year’s Eve promises the ultimate in romance (albeit a relatively expensive evening at 320-600 Euros). Other romantic possibilities include taking in one of Paris’ renowned cabaret shows at the Moulin Rouge, the Lido, or the Folies Bergère, all of which traditionally offer a decadent New Year’s dinner and show special which for 500 plus Euros offers caviar, lobster, champagne…. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for Paris’ finest cabarets, consider one of the city’s many restaurants who offer similar New Year’s Eve menus at more reasonable prices.
Top Paris hotel in Pigalle: Hotel Villa Royale
5. Party like it’s 2010!
Paris is full of bars and clubs that will stay open until the wee hours of New Year’s Eve. Start your night with fireworks at the Champs-Elysees or Montmarte and work your way to nearby Pigalle for a guaranteed party. Another great clubbing spot is the Latin Quarter. Many clubs will have special New Year’s Eve events going on but this may mean higher door covers. Wherever you end up, you can rest assured of a great night and a New Year’s to remember!
Top Paris Hotel in the Latin Quarter: Hotel de la Sorbonne
Photo of Moulin Rouge, Paris, France, by Bibemdum84