Paris

Best Bars in

Paris
From buzzing Strasbourg-Saint-Denis to chic Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the cocktail scene in Paris has finally come into its own.

While the City of Lights is known around the world for its delectable food and wine, the cocktail bar scene in Paris had somewhat lagged behind, only resting on a handful of emblematic establishments (see Harry’s New York Bar) in a sea of bistrots and brasseries – until recently. Over the past ten years, countless exciting new cocktail venues have been popping up all over town. Here are the best neighborhoods to find them – and our foolproof guide to get a proper taste of Paris by night.

If you’re visiting for the first time, what better way to start than by channeling the Paris of intellectuals and the Nouvelle Vague? In the heart of the cultured and sophisticated 6th arrondissement, timeless Saint-Germain-des-Prés is as famous for its luxury boutiques, art galleries and historic churches as for its iconic cafes and storied bohemian past. This is where Sartre, de Beauvoir, Hemingway, Picasso, Man Ray, and countless other members of the 20th century’s artistic and intellectual elite used to hang. All of their favorite haunts – the Café de FloreLes Deux MagotsBrasserie Lipp – still exist, and their terraces are always packed with a tasteful mix of smart-looking locals (in every sense of the word), fashionable tourists, well-to-do students, and the occasional celebrity or two. They are now joined by scores of ultra stylish cocktail bars peppering the neighborhood all the way to Odéon, where impeccably dressed nightbirds come all week to drink, mingle, and dance the night away.

On the other side of the Seine, the Marais is the chic and hyper-trendy heart of Paris. With its charming paved streets, gorgeous mansions and many hidden gardens, this is the city’s oldest and most well-preserved neighborhood. It is also multifaceted, equal parts traditional Jewish quarter, dynamic art hub, cutting-edge fashion destination and epicenter of the Paris gay community. From famous art galleries and museums to avant garde concept stores, delicious eateries and hype cocktail bars, this area has it all. To get to know its sharper side, make your way up to the less crowded, villagey Haut Marais, jokingly dubbed NoMa (for North Marais), for fabulous drinks and people-watching.

A bit further north is the vibrant, cosmopolitan 10th arrondissement, split in two by the picturesque  (and quintessentially bobo) Canal Saint-Martin. This authentic, bustling melting pot is the city’s coolest and most diverse neighborhood. Sceney hotspot Strasbourg-Saint Denis is a foodie paradise and home to some exceptional cocktail joints, beloved by the city’s hipsters and fashion-forward night owls. The Canal sector offers a more slow-paced experience, with a choice of indie shops and bookstores, excellent brunch and dinner options, and lots of cool drinking venues in a chilled, relaxed setting. Finally, venture a bit past the district’s border up to arty Belleville for a taste of bohemian authenticity with amazing street views on the city below.    

To end things with a bang, let South Pigalle bring out your naughty side. At the foot of the Montmartre hill, walking distance from the iconic Sacré-Coeur and Moulin Rouge, the city’s infamous historic red light district is now one of the trendiest spots to grab a cheeky late-night drink. Famous nightclubs and concert venues surround the area, making it a top Parisian destination for music lovers and nighttime party people. It is bordered on its north side by neon-lit sex shops and adult cinemas, conspicuous modern remnants of its seedy past. Downhill, the brothels, hostess bars and cabarets of yore have been transformed into classy cocktail venues and lively drinking dens. Come here for an evening full of surprises – but don’t blame us if you miss your curfew.

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