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A jet-lagger’s guide to Paris by night

Paris. City of Light. Of Lovers. Of Art. And for many visitors to this world-famous destination, torturous jetlag, too. When time zones and lack of sleep wreak havoc on your natural rhythms and you find yourself up at four – or still wide awake at midnight – don’t head for the hotel bar or stare at telly. Get out there and see what Paris has to offer, no matter the hour.

Here, in an extract from travel guide 24 Hours Paris, author Marsha Moore picks out her best tips for embracing your jetlag. So set that flash on your camera and get started on your Paris break, inmediatamente!

12 a.m.
Midnight Movies
Get your fill of film at the midnight hour at Le Champo Cinéma, where you can watch not just one but three movies – and have breakfast, too! Choose from two concurrent programmes at this art-house cinema, founded in 1938 in an old bookstore. Then slide into the crimson-red chairs and away to fantasy until morning.

Le Champo Cinéma: 51 Rue des Écoles, 75005, +33 1 43 54 51 60. Métro: Odéon, Saint-Michel. Midnight movies every Saturday at 12 am. Price: €15 (€12 if purchased in advance); €6 concession.

Late-Night Philosophy
Want to get existential? A favourite of Sartre and Beauvoir, at Café de Flore you can sit yourself down in the same seats as the great thinkers. The Art Deco interior hasn’t changed since World War II and while the fare isn’t cheap or particularly remarkable, it’s worth a venture in to soak up the past. If you can, get a seat on the terrace and ponder the meaning of life as the world goes by.

Café de Flore: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006, +33 1 45 48 55 26. Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Open: daily 7 am to 2 am.

1 a.m.
Balls Up

If the kids can’t sleep, take them to Le Bowling Mouffetard where you can throw some balls around in the eight bowling lanes until the early hours. Join in the theme nights, from Carnaval to Beaujolais, for extra fun. And if bowling’s not your thing, you can always hit the billiards table.

Le Bowling Mouffetard: 73 Rue Mouffetard, 75005, +33 1 43 31 09 35. Métro: Place Monge. Open: Mon to Fri 3 pm to 2 am; Sat, Sun 10 am to 2 am. Price: from €3.30 to €6.50 per set; shoe hire €2. Under 16s must be accompanied by adults.

Best of Both Worlds
Fashioned after his two popular bars in New York, native Parisian Hervé Rousseau finally brought his champagne-bar concept home. Flûte l’Étoile combines New York glamour with the refined elegance of Paris – in other words, cocktails with champagne. Couples can cuddle in the curtained booths or groove out in the open to live jazz each Wednesday. Grab your drink from either side of the pond, straddle the time zones, and enjoy the pleasant mix of two very different cultures.

Flûte l’Étoile: 19 Rue de l’Étoile, 75017, +33 1 45 72 10 14. Métro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, Ternes. Open: Mon to Sat 5 pm to 2 am.

2 a.m.
Be Selective
It’s full of tourists now, but from the early to mid-twentieth century Le Select was the place for artists to eat, sleep (waiters were told not to wake them) and argue. Opened in 1925, the café was a favourite of Henry Miller, who wrote about it in The Tropic of Cancer. Hemingway and Picasso were regulars, too. It was the first café in Montparnasse to stay open all night, and even today you can still visit in the wee hours.

Le Select: 99 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006, +33 1 45 48 38 24. Métro: Vavin. Open: Sun to Thurs 7 am to 2 am; Fri, Sat 7 am to 4 am.

Dance on Deck
For more than ten years, big red boat Batofar has been home to some of Paris’ best after-hours parties. With DJs spinning everything from experimental to techno, you can join the crowd on the dance-floor or hang around in one of the suspended hammocks on deck. Just watch where you spin or you might end up in the drink!

Batofar: 11 Quai François-Mauriac, 75013, +33 1 53 60 17 30. Métro: Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Quai de la Gare. Club open Wed to Sat 11 pm to 6 am; terrace Tues to Sat 9 pm onwards. Price: free entry for terrace before 11 pm; from €10 for the club.

3 a.m.
For Whom the Bell Tolls

If it’s your stomach that’s making alarming noises, head to La Cloche D’Or (The Golden Bell) to tide you over ‘til morning. Once a hang-out for Edith Piaf, Cocteau and Kessel, it remains a draw for nearby Moulin Rouge dancers and actors, with Depeche Mode spotted, too. Grab a seat on one of the three floors, warm your hands by the fire and feast on the filling fare from foie gras to steak tartar.

La Cloche D’Or: 3 Rue Mansart, 75009, +33 1 48 74 48 88. Métro: Blanche or Pigalle. Open: Mon to Sat until 4 am.

Board the Bus
Missed the last métro? Hop aboard night-bus service Noctilien to get back to your bed. With over 40 routes, the service runs through many Paris hotspots and suburbs, connecting to most major transport hubs. From around 12:30 am to 5:30 am (depending on the route), a single ticket costs €1.60. Watch the city lights flash by as your head begins to nod.


4 a.m.

Champ Champers
See the Eiffel Tower sparkle and sip some bubbly at Parc Champ de Mars. One of the largest parks in Paris, it was originally used by the École Militaire for military drills. Today, it features winding paths, ponds and lots of benches to gaze upon its greatest feature: the Eiffel Tower. With no gates – and therefore no closing time – it’s a great place to see the Tower light up, no matter the hour. Listen for the cry of the tawny owl at night; this park is one of the few places where the elusive bird can be found.

Parc Champ de Mars: access from Quai Branly and Avenue de de la Motte-Picquet, 75007. Métro: École Militaire. Open: daily 24 hours.

Hit the Wall
Blink and you might miss it: a leg, a torso and a man’s head coming out of a wall. Tucked away in the winding streets of Montmartre, this sculpture – Le Passe-Muraille (or Walker through Walls, in English) – depicts one of writer Marcel Aymé’s most well-known characters, a man who uses his newfound talent for less than altruistic means. A nearby resident until his death in 1967, Aymé was interested in the dark side of the human character. Pause for a second and ponder what you’d do with superpowers.

Le Passe-Muraille: Place Marcel-Aymé (corner of Allée des Brouillards and Rue Norvins), 75018. Métro: Lamarck – Caulaincourt or Abbesses.

5 a.m.
À la Mondrian
For a true tequila sunrise or a drink before bed, head to Le Mondrian. Serving cocktails around the clock, it’s a cosy place to duck into if you’re craving something less polished than the usual Saint Germain fare. If you don’t want to greet the sun with a hangover, grab one of their famous milkshakes and start off with some carbs instead.

Le Mondrian: 148 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006, +33 1 46 33 98 35. Métro: Mabillon or Odéon. Open: daily 9 am to 7 am.

Market with the Most
Billed as the largest fresh-produce wholesaler in the world, Rungis Market started life in the twelfth century at Les Halles. Known as the stomach of Paris, the legendary market fell into
disrepair and in 1969 was relocated to the southern suburb of Rungis. Sadly, with its move went much of its convivial spirit. The new market is worth a look, though, even if just to marvel at its sheer size. Covering over 570 acres, with more than thirteen thousand people working there every day and selling almost two tonnes of goods annually, it’s definitely the market with the most. Where else can you buy all your food groups before 7 am and some fresh flowers to boot?

Rungis Market: Rungis, 94152, +33 1 41 80 80 00. Métro: from Place d’Italie, take Métro line 7 to end of the line, then bus 185 to Rungis Market. Open: Mon to Sat, but check the website for specific market hours for fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, meat, poultry and wild flowers, pots and decoration.

6 a.m.

Walk On
To stroll on your own no matter the time, download an audio guide from With 16 areas and attractions to explore, you can pound the pavement day or night. If you’re venturing out in the dark, it’s always a good idea to bring someone with you. Price: 16 tracks for €4.95.

Lotta Love
Set your sights on love at the I Love You Wall. The brainchild of Frédéric Baron, the wall consists of over 1000 ‘I love yous’ written in more than 300 languages. Assembled by artists Claire Kito and Daniel Boulogne on 612 tiles of enameled lava, the wall is not just about love: the splashes of colour here and there represent broken hearts. Grab a coffee and start the day with a little – or a lot of, in this case – love.

Le Mur des Je t’aime: Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, 75018. Métro: Abbesses. Open: daily, 24 hours. Price: free.

7 a.m.

Float Away
Take a dip in a floating pool and wash away your worries at La Piscine Joséphine Baker. Named after the famous American performer and war heroine, the pool is the closest thing to swimming in the Seine itself – something that, with the current levels of pollution, is certainly not advisable. The pool draws its water from the river but don’t be afraid: it undergoes a rigorous cleansing treatment first. With a retractable roof and sundeck, it’s the ideal place for a summer-time splash but it’s open all year too.

La Piscine Joséphine Baker: Quai François Mauriac, 75013, +33 1 56 61 96 50. Métro: Quai de la Gare, Bercy, Bibliothèque François Mitterrand. Open: Mon 7 am to 8:30 am, 1 pm to 9 pm; Tues 1 pm to 11 pm; Wed 7 am to 8:30 am, 1 pm to 9 pm; Thurs 1 pm to 11 pm; Fri 7 am to 8:30 am, 1 pm to 9 pm; Sat 11 am to 8 pm; Sun 10 am to 8 pm. Hours vary, especially during the summer and holidays; check website for details. Price: €3.

Sugar-rush Hour
It’s never too early (or late) to tickle your taste buds, and what better way to wake up to the world than with sugary sweet macarons? In Paris, you’re rarely more than a stone’s throw away from these vividly coloured drops of heaven, but if you’re around Saint Germain it’s worth popping into Gérard Mulot. Pick out your goodies, grab your little pink box and get ready for the sugar rush!

Gérard Mulot: 76 Rue de Seine, 75006, +33 1 43 26 85 77. Métro: Odéon. Open daily (except Wed) 6:45 am to 8 pm.

Marsha Moore is a travel writer based in London, England. 24 Hours Paris (Prospera Publishing £9.99) is her second book, and follows the first in the series, 24 Hours London.

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