Paris is even more magical than usual on the last night of the year. You can watch great firework displays, light shows on the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees and join wild street parties where the bars and clubs have spilled out onto the pavements. Ranging from expensive meals with 12 courses in gourmet restaurants to taking your own picnic to the parks surrounding the major landmarks, Paris is the perfect place to see in the New Year.
When to arrive: Try and get to the city at least a day before the 31st so that you can get your bearings and figure out where your hotel is in relation to the big parties before the crowds arrive. Not travelling on New Year’s Eve will make your trip cheaper too.
The best hotels: The Bradford Elysees Hotel is in a handy location for the big night – right between the Champs-Elysees and the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore (supposedly one of the most fashionable streets in the world – although the shops won’t be open again for the sales until the 2nd). Make sure you book early as rooms in all the hotels will fill up quickly.
During the day: Ride the Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde, which towers the size of a football field, to get some of the best views of the city. If heights aren’t your thing then the ice skating outside the Hotel de Ville is free (you just have to pay to hire skates) and is within walking distance to all the bars and cafes in the lively Marais district. For a bit of culture, catch a matinee performance at L’Opera Bastille, the more modern of the two main opera houses in Paris.
On the night: If you’re on a budget, take your own champagne and plastic flutes to the Eiffel Tower for the light show on the tower. The areas around the Champs-Elysees also have a great atmosphere, just bring a picnic and something to sit on – the Champ de Mars Park in front of the tower has the best atmosphere, but you need to get there early to get a space for your picnic rug! The Montmartre street party and the steps outside the Sacre Coeur are a bit calmer and have less crowds but still have great views of the city.
On a budget: If you want to eat out in Paris on NYE then the best thing to do is have your main meal at lunchtime and pack your own treats for the evening celebrations. This is because most restaurants hike up their prices for the evening meal and the courses usually go on past midnight. Luckily, there are no restrictions on taking your own food and drink with you to public spaces on the big night.
Getting around: You won’t need to worry about getting back to your hotel on NYE, as public transport is free of charge from noon on the 31st December, to noon on the 1st January. The metro will be running until around 2.15am with some services running continuously throughout the night.
The next day: A lot of the main streets are still closed to traffic from the night before so New Year’s Day is the perfect time to explore the parks and wander round the city to blow the cobwebs away from the night before. Most museums and galleries will be shut, but there will be a few cafes and bars open so grab a slap up brunch and a strong coffee whilst people watching from one of the pavement cafes – remember to wrap up warm!
Choosing Paris to see in the New Year will be an unforgettable experience, so wrap up warm, head outside and explore this beautiful city on one of the liveliest nights of the year! For more information about Paris holidays click here.