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France nightlife

French nightlife keeps its own time, adapting worldwide fashions in unpredictable ways. Celebrity discos like Le Baron, for example, have kept the spirit of Studio 54 alive from the 1980s until today, while the celebrity DJs of more recent years have brought world music to upscale clubs. No matter what your taste, there's a range of user-friendly options, depending on how late you want to stay up and the thickness of your wallet. Be prepared to dress up and keep your voice down: The only stumbling, shouting people you're likely to see on a night out are other tourists.

Want to bypass doormen and cover charges? Head to one of the country's increasingly popular wine bars after dinner (or don't leave the dinner table at all—small neighborhood cafés are the perfect place to linger over another bottle of Sancerre). The only catch is that the more relaxed nightlife options tend to shut their doors by 11 pm (or midnight at the latest). From then on, it's music that defines French nightlife in the form of performance venues and dance clubs, and you'll generally have to pay a premium for it. The jazz scene in France is still extremely active, with clubs catering to everyone from poor students to high rollers. Hot Paris dance clubs feature international DJs and extremely selective door policies (on the other hand, those doors stay open until 5 am).

Cities outside Paris tend to shut down earlier (with the exception of a student-oriented club or two). However, the Champagne-swilling nightclubs that line the Côte d'Azur from Antibes to St. Tropez give the capital city a run for its nightlife money. Down south, mounting bar tabs seem immaterial to the yacht owners and nubile young yacht-bait they attract. Something to avoid throughout France: the "Irish pub" phenomenon, where expatriates of every nationality surround you in advanced (and loud) states of inebriation.

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Le Tambour, Paris

This open-late (until 6 am) restaurant with a covered terrace off the trendy Rue Montorgueil is decorated to look like a catch-all brocante, with all manner of...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Le Sunset/Le Sunside, Paris

Paris is one of the few places in the world where people under 20 still proudly declare themselves "jazzophile" and where jazz clubs are plentiful,...more

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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Les Caves du Roy, St. Tropez

If there's an institution that sums up why the French refer to St. Tropez as "St. Trop" (trop meaning "too much"), it's this flashy Studio 54 throwback, which...more

see the St. Tropez guide
Editors' Pick
Le Papagayo, St. Tropez

Le Papagayo is the most unbridled of all the clubs in St. Trop. It doesn't look like much—snug, painted all in white, and with an open circular VIP...more

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Editors' Pick
Le Fumoir, Paris

The Fumoir's bar may have been imported from Chicago, but the velvet curtains, lacquered walls, long windows, and easy arrangement of leather club chairs feel...more

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Editors' Pick
Le Baron, Paris

Just when you think this ex-bordello in the heart of the Eighth Arrondissement has had its day, it becomes popular again. There's something about the tiny space...more

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Editors' Pick
Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, Paris

When Patrick Jouin (protégé of design diva Phillipe Starck) introduced a bar carved in glass to look like ice in the cleverly renovated Plaza...more

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Editors' Pick
La Société, Paris

If André owns the late-night scene, the Costes empire has pretty much locked down the city's hip eatery scene, like it or not (and there are vocal...more

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Editors' Pick
La Perle, Paris

At the epicenter of the "new" Marais (the northern end, where the galleries are), this bar and café has nothing specific to recommend it—neither...more

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Editors' Pick
La Palette, Paris

La Palette, located down a main artery of galleries in Saint Germain, is living proof that cafés are still at the heart of la vie parisienne. The walls...more

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Editors' Pick
Results 11-20 of 35  | previous   1 2 3 4 next
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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