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Paris: The best in casual nightlife

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The terrasse at Bar Ourcq. Photos by Liz Webber.
The terrasse at Bar Ourcq. Photos by Liz Webber.

For most tourists, Paris days are spent visiting museums and snapping photos of monuments. But what about Paris nights? After dining at your nearest brasserie, check out these local haunts in the best neighborhoods for casual nightlife.

Along the canal

In the summer months all the bars along the Canal St. Martin and the Bassin de la Villette put out tables and chairs along the “terrasses” so customers can sit outside and look out over the water. It’s a great place to spend a warm evening or a lazy afternoon.

Bar Ourcq (68 Quai Loire) offers Cheapo-friendly drinks – €2.50 for a half-pint of beer – and the added bonus of self entertainment. Borrow a board game like Scrabble or Connect 4 from the shelf inside, or try your hand at Pétanque, a traditional French game similar to Bocce. Sets of balls are available to the left of the bar.

Underground at Odeon

With two movie theaters and plenty of bars to choose from, the area about Metro Odeon is buzzing with students on the weekends. You could try one of the trendier places, like Café Jade (10 Rue Buci) where cocktails can run as high as €15.

For the Cheapo option, however, head for Le 10 Bar, a divey sangria joint located at 10 Rue de l’Odeon. Regulars know to order pitchers of sangria by the person (“sangria pour quatre, s’il vous plait”), which comes out to about €3 each. Be sure to check out the bar downstairs too, but be careful on the steep, windy steps.

Follow the French in the Marais

Parisians at La Perle

Parisians at La Perle

The Marais covers such a broad area it’s hard to know where to go.

For some reason, trendy Parisians flock to La Perle (78 Rue Vieille du Temple) every night of the week. There are no happy hour specials and the atmosphere is not much different from most of the other bars in the neighborhood, so it’s hard to say exactly what the draw is. It must be just a French thing. To enjoy La Perle on the Cheapo, order a “bouteille” of wine for €9.

Behind the curtain at Bastille

Just around the corner from the Bastille Opera, the Rue de Lappe is teeming with bars. My favorite is le Bar Sans Nom (“The Bar With No Name”), found at number 49. The name is written in the window, which kind of defeats the purpose, but the red curtains one must pass through to enter add to the aura of mystery. Drinks are reasonably priced, with beer and wine priced at €5 and cocktails at €9.

Your favorites?

What’s your favorite Parisian nightspot? Tell us about it in the comments section!

About the author

About the author: Liz Webber is a freelance journalist living and working in Paris. She has previously worked for the International Herald Tribune and Budget Travel.

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One Response to “Paris: The best in casual nightlife”

Paula Joan says:

I lived in Paris for several years.0ne of my restaurants I knew we’ll was on rue Jacob.with the years he moved to rue Benoit and it is now a restaurant and it has a big white piano in the center.they have pianists come on weekends. For the life of me I cannot recall the name but my name is on the wall in the back where peple signed their names years ago.so if someone can go there before I do in April that would be great. Paula joan

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