Paris is at its most convivial on the last night of the year, when the famously prickly locals make merry on the chilly streets. Taxis will be impossible, and Métro trains, which run all night on December 31, will be packed after midnight strikes. The best recipe for an evening to enjoy: Dress warmly and stick to one easily walkable neighborhood. Here are three of the best.
Revelers crowd the Champ de Mars, the park bordering the Eiffel Tower, for views of the light show. For fireworks, you’ll have to wait till Bastille Day. Never mind—the symbolic center of town is still spectacular.
Jean-François Piège at Hôtel Thoumieux
Piège is happy to chat when he pops out of the kitchen (even after three seasons of running France’s version of Top Chef). Dishes change according to season and whim but have included pan-seared langoustine with black currant leaves.
If it’s booming bass you want, hit this multiroom dance club situated in an old stone warren underneath the Pont Alexandre III, between Les Invalides and the Champs-Élysées.
In Thoumieux’s 15 rooms, Farrow & Ball wallpaper clashes tastefully with graphic carpets and leopard-print throws. Aesop products, Samsung flat-screens and retro Illy espresso machines round out the amenities.
Formerly a self-contained village north of the red-light district of Pigalle, Montmartre was home to a who’s who of Postimpressionists. Now the artists are priced out, but the neighborhood’s curving streets and steep hills remain among the city’s most picturesque.
This bistro serves unpretentious, inventive dishes made with the best seasonal ingredients. Standouts include half-cooked foie gras with spiced quince and quenelles au chocolat.
The strength of this dive bar has always been the crowd—part boho, part expat, part freak.
Thierry Costes and graffitist turned artist and nightlife impresario Mr. André have skimped on nonessentials (TVs, phones) to give you what you need without breaking the bank (beds from the supplier to the Ritz, Kiehl’s products, attractive customers and staff).
The massive boulevard running from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde is Paris’s an3swer to Times Square. It’s traditionally the most festive (read: packed) place to ring in le nouvel an.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Robuchon has 26 Michelin stars spread across his global empire. His newest in town is in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, with sushi-bar-style seating for making friends and lounge tables for keeping them.
Le Crazy Horse
It’s the chicest of Paris’s legendary burlesque venues, and its dancers (above) have been muses to David Lynch and Christian Louboutin. When Dita Von Teese comes to town, this is where she performs.
Le Royal Monceau.
The spacious rooms at this elegant yet comfy Philippe Starck property are done up with pale colors and cushy furniture.