The French do love to faire la fête, but unlike their other Northern European confrères, they are rarely rowdy when drunk. It's worthwhile to consider that vices here are taken in appreciative dosesgreat wines and digestifs are meant to be sipped, not swilled. (Since a ban on smoking in cafés, restaurants, and bars went into effect on January 2, 2008, smokers must indulge outside.) And since the French take their passions seriously, the live music scene is small but rewarding.
For a taste of Paris after dark, start with cocktail at the Ritz's Hemingway Bar or a glass of wine on La Palette's terrace, then catch a live rock or pop act at Nouveau Casino. For a bigger night out, brave the velvet ropes of Le Baron or Neo. To hang with young locals, head for un-touristy Chez Jeannette or La Perle.