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New Year in Paris

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Paris

For many Parisians, the Saint Sylvestre (that’s New Year’s Eve to the uninitiated) is best spent en famille. Friends and loved ones gather at home for lavish feasts with generous spreads of seafood, foie gras and Champagne. That’s not to say that Parisians don’t give in to the festive spirit, too. During New Year’s Eve in Paris fireworks aren’t always guaranteed, but crowds still head to the Champs de Mars and the Champs-Élysées for impressive light shows and cheery street parties.

Most restaurants lay on extravagant festive menus for the night. Head to a new-gen brasserie for trad food on a budget. Bouillon Chartier has a listed dining room and dishes up festive treats alongside its regular affordable menu. If you’re feeling flush, plan ahead and bag a table at one of the Eiffel Tower’s restaurants for unforgettable views. Though many of the city’s sights and museums are closed on 1 January, a few remain open. Stroll from Notre-Dame to the Musée du quai Branly: a gentle walk down the Seine is the best way to start the year.

Top tips for New Year's in Paris'

Getting around Paris on New Year's Eve

Blissfully easy to navigate on foot, Paris puts on free transport from 5pm on New Year’s Eve to noon the following day. Metro lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 14 and all RER lines run through the night until 5.30am, when normal service resumes. Stations along the Champs-Élysées will be closed, so it’s worth planning in advance – particularly as taxis will be few and far between.

For party people

If you can’t rustle up an invite to a house party at short notice, most Paris clubs and music venues open their doors on the night, though it’s worth booking ahead. Badaboum near trendy Bastille has an excellent sound system, striking light installations and a cocktail bar. If you’ve got little ones in tow, the Cirque d’Hiver’s antics and acrobatics will easily keep them awake until midnight.

For quiet souls

For a night out with some gentler beats, cosy up in one of the city’s legendary jazz clubs. Le Caveau de la Huchette in the Quartier Latin has hosted the likes of Sidney Bechet and Lionel Hampton. Bobo La Bellevilloise opens its loft and terraces for the occasion. Or book ahead for the Opéra Garnier’s gala concert: the venerable institution is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year.

The morning after

Get some glow back in your cheeks with an energising walk up the Butte Montmartre during the first day of the New Year in Paris. Forgo the funicular and embrace the resolution-friendly stairs instead – they’re steep, but particularly photogenic in the winter. Brunch purveyor Marcel, on serene Villa Léandre, has the cure for any lingering regrets: eggs scrambled and poached, virtuous smoothie bowls and towering stacks of French toast.

Local traditions

  • Prep your best cheesy moves: the farandole (a sort of Provençal conga line), la danse des canards (a.k.a the Chicken Dance) and the Madison are bound to make an appearance.
  • Have a bisou under the mistletoe: it’s a Nordic tradition for a joyful year.
  • Start the year on a generous note: nannies, concierges and cleaners appreciate holiday tips called étrennes.

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