When people ask me how to spend the evenings in Paris, I immediately recommend to go stand on one of the bridges of the Seine: Alexandre III, Pont Neuf or the arts bridge, watch the sparkling Eiffel tower for a few minutes, and then… go to sleep (after a good dinner, of course). It may sound a bit boring, but after walking more than 10 km every day, whether with other visitors to Paris or in my endless journeys to discover the secrets of the City of Lights, there is nothing more wonderful than spending the night in a soft and extra comfortable bed.
However, for those of you that are smart enough to conserve your strength (which is not a simple task, because there are so many places to go to in Paris), the City of Lights can offer you a wide selection of spectacles, cabarets and shows. Exactly for such people, I have gathered the best evening spectacles of Paris, starting with the famous Moulin Rouge, and ending with less famous (but no less interesting) spectacles. Since it is highly recommended (and sometimes a must) to buy tickets in advance, I did my best to provide more than one option to purchase tickets for each and every spectacle, and remember that different websites can sometimes offer different prices, so it is always worth to check them all. So wear your jackets or your evening gowns, put on some perfume, and… here we go!
Who isn’t familiar with the Moulin Rouge cabaret, whose windmill has become one of the symbols of Paris, no less than the Eiffel tower? The truth is that there is something in common to both of these Parisian symbols: they both exist since 1889. Joseph Oller, the first owner of the Moulin Rouge, created a winning spectacle that contains music, singers, cancan dancers, and… a professional farter. Over the years, many of the greatest performers from France and outside it performed here, for example Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Édith Piaf and many others, which turned this club, residing in Boulevard de Clichy, into a first degree tourist attraction.
It is true that today you will no longer find professional farters in the Moulin Rouge (perhaps some amateurs, though), but all the rest is still there – singers, cancan dancers, and if you like, you can also have dinner there. Everything is sparkly, magical, and very impressive.
Please note: from what I understand, the tickets to the Moulin Rouge shows run out very quickly, and therefore it is very recommended to order them as early in advance as you can, to avoid disappointment.
Address of the Moulin Rouge club
82 Boulevard de Clichy
Tickets to the Moulin Rouge spectacle
If you tell a Parisian that you went to the Moulin Rouge, he will snore in contempt at your direction. However, if you tell him you went to the Crazy Horse, you may well win his respect. Although this club is no less famous than the previous, the French are quite fond of it and even go there themselves. The club, which resides not far from the Champs Elysees, was once a row of 12 wine cellars, which in 1951 were connected together, and under the lead of Alain Bernardin have become one of the most successful cabarets in Paris.
The secret of the Crazy Horse is the combination between erotica and a spectacular show, including dancers that are hand-picked to look exactly like the others, which creates an impressive uniformity. This spectacle is created by some of the greatest choreographers in France, such as Philippe Decouflé and Dita Von Teese, and when you see it, you will understand why this club remains so successful, despite the changing tastes of the audience, and the owner’s suicide in 1994 (today the club is run by his sons).
Address of the Crazy Horse club
12 Avenue George V
Tickets to the Crazy Horse spectacle
The Lido club, located at the Champs Elysées, is one of the oldest cabaret clubs in Paris (established in 1946). The club was owned by the brothers Joseph and Louis Clérico until 2006, when it was bought by the Sodexo corporation, which in 2014 invested dozens of millions of Euros to build the new artistic program, launched in 2015.
Similar to the Moulin Rouge, here you will also find the magical combination between music, singing and dancing – and dinner. The spectacle comprises 10-20 mini-shows, which together last about an hour and a half. During the spectacle you will see the famous dancers called Bluebell Girls, dressed in feathers that cost thousands of Euros, as well as acrobats, and even spectacles that take place entirely on water (the stage can be turned into an ice skating rink or a pool). In short, this is a huge and magnificent show like only this club, which inspired all the cabarets in Las Vegas since 1955, could provide.
Address of the Lido club
116 Av. des Champs-Élysées
Tickets to the Lido spectacle
Although this is a much less famous cabaret than those I reviewed before, the Paradis Latin is, without a doubt, the oldest cabaret in Paris. Its early version was built in 1803, but was burnt in 1870 and was rebuilt not far from the restaurant Tour d’Argent in the Latin Quarter (by the way, the building was constructed by no less than Gustave Eiffel). The current cabaret exists since 1977, which happens to be the year I was born in. This club featured performances of many of the leading singers in France, including Michel Berger, France Gall’s husband, who was responsible for quite a few French pop hits in the 1970s and the 1980s.
The current artistic program of the club is called Paradis à la Folie, and it includes a combination of players, singers, and of course – how can you have a cabaret without the cancan dancers. You can combine all this, like in the rest of the shows, with dinner, although from looking at the menu of the place, personally I would give it up.
Address of the Paradis Latin
28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine
Tickets to the Paradis Latin spectacle
Oh! César is the name of the most recent spectacle of the César Palace club. Unlike the previously mentioned shows, which separate between the actual spectacle and the meal, this is a combination of the two, and the singers and dancers perform their entertainment shows during the meals, combined with audiovisual effects. The price of the show and the meal in this club, which is located close to Montparnasse tower, is considered lower than the price of other spectacles of similar style, and it can definitely constitute a good alternative for people who wish to watch a spectacle, but don’t want to spend more than 100 Euros per person.
Address of the César Palace
23 Avenue du Maine
Tickets to the Oh! César spectacle
And now, as the Monty Python group said, to something completely different. How would you like to spend your Parisian evening at a… drag club? This club is located at the less touristy 11th Arrondissement, and it offers dinner combined with a show (unlike other shows, dinner here is “obligatory”, but from a glance at the menu, it seems to be very well worth it…)
During the performance, drag queens inspired by several of the greatest French singers, including Mylène Farmer, Charles Aznavour, and Mireille Mathieu, will give you a real show. The entire spectacle is not only meant to impress you and have you enjoy the 1970s and 1980s hits, but mainly to make you laugh, and if one should judge by the success of this show with the local audience, they’re probably doing a pretty good job.
Address of Artishow club
3 Cité Souzy
Tickets to Artishow
If you’re looking for a spectacle without any meal or feathery dancers, but with lots of laughter, this show is for you.
This is actually a stand-up act of the actor Olivier Giraud, in which, for one hour, he constantly laughs at the Parisians and their ways and manners. In a simple, funny way, you will understand the source of the misanthropy that is oh-so characteristic to the Parisians (especially their service providers), and while at it, you’ll have a wonderful evening. The entire show is presented in English so that even those who don’t understand French can enjoy it.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of attending this show myself, and I highly recommend it.
Address of the Theatre
24 Boulevard Poissonnière
Tickets to How to Become Parisian in One Hour
If Olivier Giraud’s show wasn’t enough, you can always check out his feminine version, Julie Collas. In the course of the spectacle we will accompany her to a day in the life of a Parisienne (Parisian woman), in which she will have to deal with annoying children, distressing tourists, an overstuffed metro, the colleagues in the office, and we haven’t even mentioned the dinners with her friends. The entire show, which is also presented entirely in English, deals with the French clichés, and while I haven’t had the chance to watch it myself, it seems pretty funny (if I can judge according to the video above).
Address of the Theatre
19 Boulevard Saint-Martin