Unlike Berlin or London which are reputed for their excellent nightlife scenes, decent nightclubs in Paris are rather hard to come by. They tend to come with a lot of hype, high cover charges, excessive posturing and, sometimes, bouncers who can be rather unpleasant—or even discriminate unfairly. Here we’ve tried to separate the wheat from the chaff to come up with a list of the Paris dance clubs—not necessarily always the most well-known of the lot, or the ones with the flashiest facades—but the ones actually worth forking out a few euros for to dance the night away.
Featuring low ceilings, mirrored and tiled walls, and a distinctively 1930’s-style decor, Chez Moune caters to the Parisian branché (fashion-conscious hipster) crowd. DJs mainly spin trendy electro-rock tracks and beats here. Unlike the majority of Parisian nightclubs, this one is free, so expect a big queue outside filled with young 20-somethings looking to stay up until dawn and through the petit matin (early morning hours).
Blending a traditional Celtic pub style with a “micro-club” ambiance, this hipster hotspot in the Grands Boulevards neighborhood features indie, electro-pop, and punk music spun by well-known musicians and DJs until 5 a.m. Crammed and cozy, with a majority of anglophone dancers, the club also serves as the spot for after-show parties for crowds spilling out from the nearby (and legendary) Olympia concert hall.
Featuring sunken dance floors and an international crowd often in search of a mood-altering experience, the Rex Club easily recalls the big techno-grunge clubs of London. The music here is usually bass-heavy house and electronica, while crowds don’t start pouring in until well after the metro has closed. The bouncers here are known to be temperamental and grouchy at times, though, so come dressed the part and make sure to toe the line when in line.
Set beneath the stately Pont Alexandre III, this may be the only club you’ll ever set foot in that’s literally nestled under a bridge. A stylish, “BCBG” crowd, usually with champagne bottles at close hand, dance to DJs and live bands while taking in iconic, sparkling views of the Seine at night. While live bands are all over the genre map, DJs tend to stick to sets of house, electro, and disco beats.
Heading over to the much grittier northeast, the next nightclub we can’t get enough of is La Bellevilloise. Once the home of Paris’ first workers’ co-operative, this off-the-beaten-path club/art space/restaurant boasts dance floors on two levels. The club regularly hosts live DJs or bands playing rock, reggae, and every indie genre in between.
The downstairs level frequently hosts an 80s theme night, while you can catch your breath on the upstairs lounge, which includes a lovely terrace. A favorite among the indie-rock set who eschew the mainstream scene of Grands Boulevards and the ostentatious bling of the western clubs.
This three-floor club and live music venue near Pigalle and Montmartre have reinvented itself over the years with a dash of decadence. The main dance floor, dubbed “La Chaufferie”, once served as the Moulin Rouge’s boiler room. The main room, or Le Central, holds up to 1000 people for a night of clubbing and up to 800 guests for live techno and electric DJ sets. The Terrace (The Bubble Bar) and The Roof are more intimate spaces for anticipated launches or aperitifs with friends.