If New Year’s Eve is about celebrating in style, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place than Paris to do it in. There’s nothing quite as alluring as the idea of clinking that glass of champagne with friends or kissing your special someone as the clock strikes midnight against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. We’ve drummed up seven tips and suggestions to help you enjoy the festivities to the fullest and make your last evening in Paris 2013 a memorable one.
If you’re looking for maximum energy and activity then the Eiffel Tower, Place du Trocadéro, and the Champs Elysées are for you. Expect people to start vying for real estate around 9pm or even earlier. If pin-balling your way through an excited mob isn’t your idea of a good time, try finding a more personal-sized spot when the clock strikes midnight, for example one of the city’s charming bridges (our favorites are Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Arts, and Pont Neuf), from which you can catch views of the Eiffel Tower’s light show.
Notice we said “light show” and not “fireworks” – despite what certain questionable travel writers are claiming, Paris will have no official fireworks display for New Year’s Eve. Instead the Eiffel Tower will be lit up with a light show (the punchy pyrotechnics are reserved for Bastille Day on July 14th). But that’s not to say there won’t be the occasional smattering of private rockets shooting up above the city, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled.
Night owls rejoice! Not only will certain lines of the Paris Metro and RER systems be operating all night long, but the service will be free of charge from 5:00pm Dec. 31st until noon Jan 1st. The Metro lines offering continuous service will be lines 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 14, in addition to both the RER A and RER B lines. During late-night hours trains will bypass some of the smaller station stops, so be sure to check that first. Another tip: expect extra time to get home after the festivities, as large groups of cork-popping passengers tend to slow things down a bit.
In the hours leading up to the big moment, why not indulge in a unique wintry Parisian activity? We recommend carving a few figure-eights around the ice rink in front of Hotel de Ville with your special someone, made all the more magical by the illuminations of the City Hall building in the background. Who knows, with a little luck you might even get a few falling flakes to perfect the mood! The rink is free and open until 10pm, with skates to rent for €5.
For an alternative perspective when the New Year’s bell tolls, trek up to the top of Montmartre where you’ll not only have a great vantage point of Paris as it celebrates 2014, but the atmosphere near Sacré Coeur and Place du Tertre is sure be a lively one. For a peek at the Eiffel Tower, head to the nearby iron gate at the bottom of rue Saint-Eluthère. There are sure to be plenty of bars in the area ready to welcome you in for a night cap or two after midnight.
Another way to say goodbye to the Paris of 2013 is to leave it all together: the Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde will whisk you several stories up into the air for €10 per person. As you soar high above the lights of the Champs Elysées, the Pyramid of the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay you can pat yourself on the back for totally rocking New Year’s this year. Tickets must be purchased in cash only, but there’s an ATM machine nearby if need be.
When the clock finally hits midnight, be ready to embrace your fellow Parisians – friends and strangers alike – in a wave of cheek kissing and warm wishings of “Bonne Année” (bun ah-nay). It’s common for folks to bust out a bottle of champagne or wine to celebrate the moment in French style. If you too plan to partake, be sure to buy beverages earlier in the evening before stores close, use only plastic or paper cups, and keep it discrete and respectable.
From all of us at Localers, have a safe and Happy New Year!
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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