No, not those rules, honey, Paris club rules . . .
1. Think late. Like, 1 a.m. at least. In true French style, you will have dinner and drinks with friends beforehand, either at home or in a restaurant, and remember that the French eat much later than Americans, as a rule. You and your friends may otherwise find yourself staring at a deserted dance floor wondering why the place was described as “buzzing.”
2. This is the one time when talking loudly in English in Paris is downright smiled upon. Clubs like to be seen as “international”; it’s good for their image. They also assume (often rightly) that tourists will spend more, so work that accent.
3. DO NOT arrive at a club in a large group, already under the influence. You won’t get in, unless you’re all girls and all look like supermodels.
4. If trying your luck somewhere upmarket, order a bottle of spirits or champagne at the door. This can sometimes sail you straight past the porte police, and is often cheaper than buying by the glass inside.
A great place to start off the night, this music bar in the 18th is popular with locals and tourists in the know. On the weekends the bar is packed and it’s possible to stay till the wee hours if you want, but it’s also a useful place to pick up flyers for events and warm up.
Le Folie’s Pigalle
Down the road in Pigalle (fret not, it’s cleaning up), this club holds everything from dancehall to hip-hop, from electro, techno and gay tea dances to fashion shows, strippers and go-go dancers (not all at once!), so there should be something to strike your fancy. Admission includes a free drink. Party. Bonus. Open till dawn during the week, noon on weekends.
Spread over three levels, Lizard Lounge is another good warm-up/stay-on venue, depending on your mood. The bar is a hip Marais hangout, while local DJs man the decks with a good mix of styles for the small booths downstairs.
This spot (formerly known as Le Triptyque) been on the Top Five list of Paris clubs since its opening, thanks to a careful and varied music program. A stylish, rock-influenced club in the midst of the bustle of the Grands Boulevards.
Le Paris Paris
This place provides fodder for the majority of Paris’s gossip pages, and is very chic, with up-to-the-minute music. Admission is free but jealously guarded. Still, it can be done: remember rules 3 and 4, and dress chic, classy and sexy. The emphasis is on the first two—a miniskirt and boob tube definitely won’t cut it.
La Flèche d’Or
Bagnolet’s best free music venue and bar has finally reopened! With its industrial look and curved metal bar, La Flèche d’Or feels very Berlin/New York, and the clientele is often equally hip. A great place to hang out, eye up and sip beer.
74, rue des Martyrs, in the 18th Arrondissement.
Metro: Pigalle. 01 42 64 70 35.
18, rue du Bourg-Tibourg, in the 4th.
Metro: Hôtel de Ville or St. Paul. 01 42 72 81 34.
142, rue Montmartre, in the 2nd.
Metro: Bourse. 01 40 28 05 55.