Looking for suggestions about Paris nightlife for adults? Read on for ideas for a night out for adults in the Paris Red Light District.
Looking for more Paris travel suggestions and reflections? Check out these other posts about Paris:
- Strategies for Budget Dining in Paris
- Driving in France: How I overcame My Fear of Driving in a Foreign Land
- Reverse Culture Shock: 8 Things that are Annoying Me Since I left France
Pigalle is the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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Is the Pigalle Area Safe?
Reading about Pigalle and the Paris Red Light District 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.
Before Dinner: What to See in Monmarte and the Pigalle Paris Red Light District
Here are some ideas for a what to do in Paris in the Monmarte area and the Paris Red Light District before dinner.
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! Here is a great piece if you are looking for suggestions for other things to do in 3 days in Paris (or more).
Sacre Couer Basilica: 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.
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
Le Mur des Je t’aime: This mural has “I love you” written in different languages. This would be a great place to stop for an Instagram worthy photo of you and your love (or your good friends) before your big night.
Metro Stop: Abesses
Where to Stay Near the Paris Red Light District
Here is a my short list of researched and recommended hotels in or near the Paris Red Light District.
- Hotel Carlton’s: This smart choice near Monmarte boasts budget prices with luxury touches. The hotel has rooms in a variety of sizes including family “suites” with two connecting rooms. I loved the fact that it has a rooftop terrace with Eiffel tower views. Reviews touted a great, free breakfast with a variety of hot and cold items.
- Le Regent Monmarte: This is a hotel/hostel is located in a beautiful old building in Paris that is close to the Anvers Metro stop. The completely renovated property has a wide variety of rooms to accommodate all sizes and configurations of families, from singles to quadruple rooms (some of the rooms have beautiful views of Sacre Couer. If you can get one of these, do it!) Free breakfast and shared kitchen round out this rare find. This is DEFINITELY on our shortlist next time we stay in Paris!
- Apart’hotel Adagio Paris Monmarte: This apartment hotel will provide all of the comforts of home and is conveniently located close to the Anvers metro stop. The bright, airy apartments can accommodate up to four people with enough space to feel comfortable. Cooking in its small but well equipped kitchen can save you money on food, which can get expensive in Paris. A solid choice!
- Le Pigalle Paris: This small, boutique hotel is a great choice for those looking to stay right at the heart of the variety of restaurants and nightlife in Pigalle Paris! This hotel has a hip, vintagey local vibe to it. It is decorated with local art, antiques and kitschy odds and ends.
Where to Eat Near the Paris Red Light District
Restaurant Miroir: If you aren’t planning on splurging on dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge, dinner at Restaurant Miroir (a 6 minute walk from the Sacre Couer Basilica, according to Google maps) is an easy choice. This restaurant has gotten great reviews, serves traditional French cuisine and has reasonable prices.
Address: 94 rue des Martyrs, 18e, Montmartre, Paris, 75018
Metro Stop: Anvers
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
Les Apotres de Pigalle: I have to be honest, this restaurant didn’t really jump out at me until I saw that it was ranked as the #3 restaurant in Paris on Tripadvisor. The restaurant features flavorful small plates to share based on South American cuisine. This looks like a great place to get some nibbles to share during a night out with friends and anything that ranks #3 on Tripadvisor is worth a try in my book!
Address: 2 rue Germain Pilon, Paris, France 75018
Metro Stop: Pigalle
Cost: Small plates to share 8-10 euros, planches of meat and cheese 15 euros
Hours: First seating between 6:30p-9:00p, second seating between 9:00p-9:30p, happy hour until 7:30p.
Le Poulbot: We love restaurants that serve unfussy, well portioned food at good prices. These tend to be harder to find in Paris. Le Poulbot is a hidden gem located in Monmarte that gets nothing but glowing reviews. The restaurant specializes in classic French cuisine – the menu is not huge been all dishes are deserving of praise. Reservations are almost always necessary for this popular spot.
Address: 3 Rue Poulbot, Montmartre, 750018 Paris
Metro Stop: Lamarck/Caulaincourt
Cost: Appetizers and desserts 8 euros, entrees 18 euros
Hours: Lunch 12:00p-2:00p, dinner 6:00p-10:00p
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
Entertainment Options in the Paris Red Light District
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)
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.) Even if you aren’t going to see the show, this is a must see photo opportunity for anyone visiting the Paris Red Light District.
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
Le Trianon Concert Hall
This epic and stunningly beautiful concert venue is located in Monmarte (not quite in Pigalle, but close). The theater is worth seeing on its own. It is packed full of ornate, baroque architecture. Seeing a concert here would certainly by a highlight of any trip to Paris!
Address: 80 Bd de Rouchechouart, 75018 Paris, France
Hours: Doors open for most shows between 6:30p and 7:30pm. The main show usually starts around 8:30pm
Les Trois Baudettes
This Pigalle entertainment staple offers a music hall with a stage, two bars and a restaurant. They feature a huge variety of French musicians in all genres. This is a great place to enjoy some drinks (great happy hour deals) and listen to music in a local environment.
Address: 64 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
Metro Stop: Blanche
Cost: Varies, not expensive (many shows seemed to be between 10-20 euros)
Hours: Restaurant open 6p-midnight on concert nights (happy hour until 8p), music starts at 8p
Recommended Bars in the Paris Red Light District
La Fourmi: Unpretentious and laid back with a great local atmosphere. Great burgers. Affordable. A nice bar that doesn’t have the same party atmosphere as some of the other bars in the area (no dance parties or DJ’s.)
Address: 74 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France
Metro Stop: Pigalle
Cost: Main courses 10-12 euros, burgers 12-13 euros, cheap drinks
La Glass: This unique Paris bar starts out quiet earlier in the night and gets more active after 8pm. It is a great place to listen to good music and dance well into the night. It is a little hard to find (an unmarked wooden door, sort of a “speak easy” thing going on).
Address: 7 Rue Frochot, 75009 Paris, France
Metro Stop: Pigalle
Cost: Cheap munchies (artisan chips and hot dogs 2-5 euros), beer 7-8 euros, cocktails 12-13 euros
Le Machine de Moulin Rouge: This is an epic experience for those looking for a whole night of partying and dancing. This club occupies three floors right next to the Moulin Rouge. If you are looking for a big night out of partying, this is a great place to head!
Address: 90 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
Metro Stop: Blanche