Paris might lag considerably behind Dublin or New York when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but March 17th is still a fun and lively date on the Parisian calendar. English speaking residents and French locals alike flock to the city's numerous Irish pubs to raise a toast to the man responsible for green Guinness and some of the world's liveliest street parades.
Puzzlingly, no true parades are scheduled in the French capital for the occasion-- but it's still worth celebrating. Mostly free of the cliches that sometimes characterized it in the past, it's feted by the city's increasingly large Irish community, giving it a degree of authenticity.
Whatever your tastes (and whether you choose to indulge in Guinness or enjoy the occasion without partaking of any alcohol), March 17th should not pass you by without some form of celebration. Paris has plenty on offer to ensure you have a Lá Fhéile Phádraig (Happy St. Patrick's Day).
Head to an Authentic Irish Pub
For many, March 17th is synonymous with Irish pub culture, so it's not surprising that most of the St. Patrick's Day action takes place at a table or terrace at one of Paris' numerous Irish pubs.
These watering holes make wonderful spots to celebrate St. Paddy's in the city of lights, and are generally frequented by expats, as well as anyone attracted by the laid-back, welcoming atmosphere often lacking in certain traditional Parisian bars and brasseries.
Regular bars will also be jumping on the Paddy’s Day bandwagon, offering specials to pull the crowds, but are best avoided in favor of an Irish equivalent, where you will be guaranteed craic, sport agus spraoi (fun and games).
We recommend pubs including Corcoran's, which has eight locations around Paris (including at St. Michel in the Latin Quarter, Bastille and nearby the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre.) The Galway Irish Pub is also a good choice. See our full guide to the best Irish pubs in Paris for more details and directions.
Some tips for enjoying your St. Paddy's Day pub outing this year
March 17th falls on a Sunday this year, so nightlife spots celebrating St Paddy's are likely going to be putting on some lively parties and special events like live music. It may be mellower, however, than on years when the holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday.
Be prepared for considerable crowds: It's still the weekend, so you're much more likely to have to battle for a spot inside! Arrive early if you want to secure a table at a pub playing live music or staging other special events for the holiday.
Drinking in Irish pubs is an expensive pastime, even by Paris standards, so if you’re fond of the black stuff, be prepared to fork out up to 15 or 20 euros for a pint of Guinness. Certain establishments offer special deals for March 17th, though: you may just get lucky!
Listen to Live Music at the Irish Cultural Center
Every year, the Irish Cultural Center (Centre Culturel Irlandais) hosts a lively festival in honor of St Patrick's Day, with live music, performances and dancing representing the most-attended events.
In 2019, you can enjoy spirited performances of traditional music over the long weekend from Saturday, March 16th to Monday the 17th. This is the program:
Saturday, March 16th, 7:30 p.m.: Strung (Traditional)
The traditional Irish group Strung will be performing a "Chapel Session" from 7:30 pm, playing original music from their first studio album of 2016. Tickets are 15 euros (12 for students with valid I.D.) and reservations are recommended.
Sunday, March 17th, 7:30 p.m.: Ye Vagabonds (Folk/Rock)
Hankering for something with a traditional folk sound? The Irish group Ye Vagabonds will be performing another Chapel Session for St. Paddy's Day proper. Renowned for their complex, stirring harmonies and eclectic influences (from Irish folk to 1960s folk rock and the vocal music of Appalachia, the band is sure to attract crowds this year. Make sure to reserve ahead to avoid disappointment. Tickets cost 15 euros or 12 for students.
Monday, March 18th, 7:30 p.m.: Altan (Traditional)
To wrap up this year's festival, don't miss this powerful performance from traditional instrumental group Altan. Tickets cost 20 euros and reservations are recommended.
For more information, visit the official website.
Enjoy a Parade, Facepainting and Other Family Activities
In addition to hosting live music on St. Patrick's, The Irish Cultural Centre has also planned a series of events designed for families and children as part of its weekend festival this year. The best part? Entry is free for all!
On Sunday the 17th from 12-5 p.m., visitors can enjoy a host of fun activities in the courtyard of the ICC: silly antics from a resident clown, free face painting, a small but cheerful traditional St. Paddy's day parade, and food stalls from local Irish restaurants and vendors.
Dance the (Green) Night Away at a Pub
Feel like getting your dancing shoes on? The Hide Pub-Club in central Paris is hosting an all-night party for St. Paddy's on Sunday the 17th, featuring several DJS spinning different styles of music across two different dance floors.
Also enjoy Happy Hour-priced drinks for the occasion: a pint of beer is 3 euros, while mojitos are going for 5 euros on pitchers of beer are priced at 10 euros.
Have a Family-Friendly St. Paddy's at Disneyland Paris
If, despite all this, you're still hankering after a real St. Patrick's Day parade, then there's nothing for it but to get yourself over to Disneyland Paris. It's located less than an hour outside of Paris and is easily accessible by the RER A commuter line train.
The kitschies — and arguably most fun — of all St. Paddy's Day parades awaits you at the beloved amusement park. Bask in the vision of green-clad Disney characters, Irish dancers, face painters and a dazzling green fireworks display to finish the evening in bright cheer.
This is a great outing for the whole family, and another good choice for revelers who want to celebrate the occasion while steering clear of alcohol-fueled events.