What to do in Paris: An Evening Out in Paris

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Looking for ideas about what to do in Paris ? Read on for ideas for a night out around Monmarte and Pigalle.

what to do in Paris

Pigalle, Paris:

Pigalle is Paris’ red light district.  Soldiers during World War II nicknamed the place “pig alley” because of its seedy reputation, but it was actually named after a French sculptor.

Pigalle has had a long reputation of being a place where prostitutes were stationed on every street corner and criminals abounded, but in our recent visit, we did not many signs of illegal activity.

Perhaps this is due to recent efforts by the French government to clean up this popular tourist destination in Paris.


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When you take the Metro to the Pigalle stop, you emerge right in the center of the action, near the world famous Moulin Rouge.   My husband and I came here for an evening stroll on our recent trip to Paris.  We came mostly out of curiosity and a desire to snap a tourist photo of the Moulin Rouge.

We weren’t sure what to expect.  Our only foray into a red light district had been in Amsterdam, and while it has been interesting, the pot smoking and legalized prostitution gave it a little bit of an out of control sort of feeling (probably why people like going there for wild parties.)

Pigalle had a classier sort of feeling than the feeling that we had gotten from Amsterdam.  It was cleaner.  There were more people walking around that seemed like they were having a relaxing night out with friends for dinner and some drinks and less people that looked like they were hell bent on a wild party.

Here are some great ideas accommodation in Paris, including bed and breakfasts, hotels, hostels and other specialty lodging.


There were many normal, middle aged looking couples, dressed up nicely, that looked like they would belong in a classy neighborhood in New York city.

what to do in Paris

Of course, there were still lots of sex shops, sex shows and the like.  It felt like a place where one could straddle the line between normal and risque…like you could dip your toes into the dark pool that is the sultry seductive pool of Paris’ other side.

Reading about Pigalle online, I notice that there have been some safety concerns reported there.  I am not sure how recent some of these scams and such have been happening.

I am under the impression that there has been a major effort in the last few years to clean this area up, and indeed, we felt very safe in this area at all times.

As a precaution, I would suggest making sure to take your partner or a friend with you in this area if you are unsure or feel unsafe.  Many of the scams seem to involve a single person being lured into a bar or club for a drink by a beautiful woman, then being forced to pay a ridiculously high bill.

Use common sense; if there aren’t any other patrons in the bar or restaurant and all you see is the restaurant’s employees inside, pick a different place.  Stay in places where there are other people around you.  I have also read that things like this are less likely to happen if you are with a date or your spouse.

Here are some ideas for a what to do in Paris in the Monmarte and Pigalle area (note-this itinerary is not intended for children.  If you are looking for a family friendly tour of the area, check out this link for some other great options for Paris Sightseeing Tours!)

I would start your evening by heading up to the steps of Sacre Couer Basilica to see the sunset.  The view of Paris is amazing from here, and this is a wonderful way to start your evening (you can get to Sacre Couer by taking the Metro to the Anvers metro stop and walking north up Rue de Steinkerque to get to where you can either walk up the stairs to the foot of the basilica or pay a small fee of a couple Euros to take a tram).

The Basilica itself is open seven days a week until 10:30pm, so while you are here waiting for the sunset, you will have time to check it out.

what to do in Paris

Views of Paris from the stairs of Sacre Couer

Sacre Couer:

  • Address: 35, RUE DU CHEVALIER-DE-LA-BARRE; 75018 PARIS
  • Metro Stop: Anvers (walk north up Rue de Steinkerque to get to where you can either walk up the stairs to the foot of the basilica or pay a small fee of a couple Euros)
  • Hours: Every day from 6:30am-10:30pm
  • Cost:  Free entry into Basilica, dome and crypt 5 euros
  • Further Reading: Sacre Couer from the Europe for Visitors Website or a post from a friend of mine at Sharing My France: Sacre Couer

Unless you are planning on splurging on dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge,  I would suggest dinner at Restaurant Miroir (a 6 minute walk from the Sacre Couer Baslilca, according to Google maps).  This restaurant has gotten great reviews, serves traditional french cuisine and has reasonable prices.

Cafe Miroir:

  • Address:  94 rue des Martyrs, 18e, Montmartre, Paris, 75018
  • Metro Stop: Anvers (a 6 minute walk from Sacre Couer Basilica)
  • Cost:  Appetizer, main course and dessert for 32 euro, or 25 euro for appetizer and main course or main course and dessert.
  • Further Reading: A Review of Le Miroir from the Hip Paris Blog 

Here is a link to some great additional information about Monmarte written by Matt Barrett (whose travel guides are an excellent resource):  A Paris Guide by Matt Barrett

From here, you can decide which course the rest of your evening is going to take:

Musee de l’Erotisme:

    • Address: 72 Boulevard de Clichy; 75018 Paris
    • Metro Stop: Pigalle
    • Cost: 9 euros (3 euro discount for buying tickets online…look for the link on the website that says “Reservez on Ligne”)
    • Hours: Open everyday from 10:00am-2:00am
    • Website: http://www.musee-erotisme.com/

Lapin Agile:

While this is technically not off of the Pigalle Metro stop, it is only two stops away and I couldn’t resist listing it as a great stop for a budget evening.  24 Euros for the show and a drink is a great deal by Paris standards.  This traditional cabaret show includes singing, comedy in a traditional french cabaret atmosphere.  This is not an adult show, there is no nudity, but it promises to be a good time.

  • Address: 22 Rue Saules;  75018 Paris
  • Metro Stop: Lamarck/Culaincourt (2 stops away from Pigalle)
  • Cost: 24 Euros for show and 1 drink (extra drinks 7 Euro)
  • Website: http://www.au-lapin-agile.com/

The Moulin Rouge:

A splurge for sure, dinner and the cabaret show will run you approximately 175-200 Euros.  This is the mother of all French cabaret shows (and something that I haven’t experienced, but would like to, at least once.)

  • Address: 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
  • Cost: 172-200 euros for show with dinner and champagne; 95 euro for show without beverage,
  • Hours: Dinner is served at 7pm followed by the show at 9pm
  • Website:  http://www.moulinrouge.fr (english translation button on the bottom left corner

On a final note, if you are on a tight budget in Paris, there is great people watching here and one could spend a great evening just watching the river of humanity in this unique section of Paris.

Want to see what other travelers like to do while in Paris?


What are your favorite tips for what to do in Paris?

 If you enjoyed this, check out these other posts about Paris:



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What to do in Paris: An Evening Out in Paris

8 Responses

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit the Moulin Rouge, if for no other reason than to see if the girls in France do, in fact, wear frilly underpants. Thanks for the tantalizing post!

    Bret @ Green Global Travel March 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm #
  2. Hi Shanna,

    I came here by way of the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival and I’m really glad I did.
    I really enjoyed this article, and your writing in general. It’s so clear and pulls me right into the setting as if I’m actually there.

    I’d say you have a new fan!

    Tathata March 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm #
    • Thanks for coming over! I am really glad to hear that you enjoy my writing, and I appreciate your enthusiastic support.

      Shanna Schultz March 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm #
  3. Hello Shanna!

    I just wanted to say thanks again for submitting this to the BT Blog Carnival, and also congratulations. This article has been highlighted in the 11th BT Blog Carnival, which was published today. I enjoyed reading about your experience in the Red Light District, and I’ll have to keep those tips in mind if I ever go there!

    If you could retweet, stumble, or “Like” this edition of the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. 🙂 It would also help people discover your article, too; especially since your article is one of only 3 that I highlighted.

    Thanks again. Looking forward to your submissions next time! 🙂

    Andrew March 28, 2012 at 11:01 pm #
    • I am really glad that you enjoyed that piece, and I am so excited to be featured! Thanks again! Twitter, Facebook and Stumbleupon, done!

      Shanna Schultz March 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm #
  1. Byteful Travel Blog Carnival #11 – 2012 March | Byteful Travel - March 28, 2012

    […] An Evening Out in Monmarte and Pigalle Paris by Shanna Schultz is an interesting glimpse into Paris’ Red District, including some great safety tips. Interestingly, she describes it as “a place where one could straddle the line between normal and risque…like you could dip your toes into the dark pool that is the sultry seductive pool of Paris’ other side.” Definitely an interesting read. […]

  2. The Most Romantic City on Earth: Tips for Finding Romance in Paris - June 27, 2012

    […] Enjoy dinner in Monmarte and a romantic sunset from the steps of Sacre Couer, continuing on for dessert and drinks in Pigalle, Paris’ sexy red light district. […]

  3. Strategies for Budget Dining in ParisThere and Back Again - April 16, 2013

    […] and save so that when this happens, you can afford to eat at a decent restaurant and enjoy some great french food.  Towards the end of the trip, we did eat dinner at a moderately priced Paris cafe for about $25 […]

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