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Where to Dance the Night Away
Unlike Berlin or London which are reputed for their excellent nightlife scenes, decent nightclubs in Paris are rather hard to come by. They tend to come with a lot of hype, high cover charges, excessive posturing and, sometimes, bouncers who can be rather unpleasant-- or even discriminate unfairly. I've separated the wheat from the chaff to come up with a list of the top 10 Paris dance clubs- not necessarily always the most well-known of the lot, or the ones with the flashiest facades-- but the ten actually worth forking out a few euros for to dance the night away. Once you've browsed and bookmarked this list, peruse our guide to the top nightlife districts in Paris for more ideas on how to live the nightowl's life in the city of light. You might also want to check out our guide to LGBT nightlife/ gay and lesbian bars and clubs in Paris.
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Sitting on a converted barge floating on the Seine, Batofar is one of those Parisian clubs that has managed to stay fresh and relevant through the years, with crowds consistently showing up to line up outside. The lightship sways every evening till the early hours to beats of underground hip hop, rock, electro, techno, and dubstep. When you need to rest your feet and catch a bit of fresh air, check out the fantastic view from the club's bridge.
Read Related: What to Do in Paris at Night?
Address: Facing 11, Quai François Mauriac
Metro: Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand or Bercy, 13th arrondissement
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Featuring low ceilings, mirrored and tiled walls, and a distinctively 1930's-style decor, Chez Moune caters to the Parisian branché (fashion-conscious hipster) crowd. DJs mainly spin trendy electro-rock tracks and beats here. Unlike the majority of Parisian nightclubs, this one is free, so expect a big queue outside filled with young 20-something's looking to stay up until dawn and through the petit matin (early morning hours).
Address: 54, rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 9th arrondissement
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Dark and imposing on the outside while featuring a lush art deco labyrinth behind its mysterious doors, the Chacha Club offers the style of a private club, minus the onerous and elitist membership requirement. The hottest electro, pop, and techno DJs of the moment take over the posh dining room at midnight, while those seeking a bit of calm can escape into the in-house recording studio, fumoir, or the giant posh bathroom, complete with a huge claw-footed tub.
Address: 47, rue Berger, 1st arrondissement
Metro: Chatelet-les-HallesContinue to 5 of 11 below.
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Blending a traditional Celtic pub style with a "micro-club" ambiance, this hipster hotspot in the Grands Boulevards neighborhood features indie, electro-pop, and punk music spun by well-known musicians and DJs until 6 am. Crammed and cozy, with a majority of anglophone dancers, the club also serves as the spot for after-show parties for crowds spilling out from the nearby (and legendary) Olympia concert hall.
Address: 12, rue Feydeau, 2nd arrondissement
Metro: Bourse or Grands Boulevards
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Featuring sunken dance floors and an international crowd often in search of a mood-altering experience, the Rex Club easily recalls the big techno-grunge clubs of London. The music here is usually bass-heavy house and electronica, while crowds don't start pouring in until well after the metro has closed. The bouncers here are known to be temperamental and grouchy at times, though, so come dressed the part (avoid jeans and t-shirts) and make sure to toe the line when in line.
Address: 5 boulevard Poissonnière, 2nd arrondissement
Metro: Bonne Nouvelle or Grands Boulevards
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Le Social Club
Located in the smack center of the Grands Boulevards club scene, not far from the Rex Club (see #5), this electro venue boasts some of the hottest acts from the French and international DJ scene. Designed in a self-proclaimed "retrofuturist" style, the 500-person capacity club is housed in the same building that used to print George Clemenceau's "L'Aurore" newspaper. The music tends to be eclectic, but house, techno, disco, electro, and similar genres usually end up reigning.
Address: 142, rue Montmartre, 2nd arrondissement
Metro: Grands Boulevards
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Set beneath the stately Pont Alexandre III, this may be the only club you'll ever set foot in that's literally nestled under a bridge. A stylish, "BCBG" (yuppie) crowd, usually with champagne bottles at close hand, dances to DJs and live bands while taking in iconic, sparkling views of the Seine at night. While live bands are all over the genre map, DJs tend to stick to sets of house, electro, and disco beats.
Read Related: Best Rooftop Bars in Paris
Address: Port des Champs-Élysées, under the Pont Alexandre III
Metro: Champs-Elysees Clemenceau or InvalidesContinue to 9 of 11 below.
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Once housing the most expensive brothel in Paris, this small and exclusive lounge for 150 people serves as the "it" place for the international jetset crowd. Featuring original 1920's decor intact, including tiles painted with nude women, tasseled lamps, and red walls, the dance floor at Le Baron is one of the most packed in Paris. With some of the world's most beautiful people in attendance, befriending a regular still serves as the best way to get in.
Address: 6, avenue Marceau, 8th arrondissement
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Heading over to the much grittier northeast, the next nightclub we can't get enough of is La Bellevilloise. Once the home of Paris' first workers' co-operative, this off-the-beaten-path club/art space/restaurant boasts dance floors on two levels. The club regularly hosts live DJs or bands playing rock, reggae, and every indie genre in between.
The downstairs level frequently hosts an 80's theme night, while you can catch your breath on the upstairs lounge, which includes a lovely terrace. A favorite among the indie-rock set who eschew the mainstream scene of Grands Boulevards and the ostentatious bling of the western clubs. Avoid if you dislike faint fogs of patchouli and sweat.
Address: 19-21, rue Boyer, 20th arrondissement
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La Machine du Moulin Rouge
Following a substantial makeover in 2010, this three-floor club and live music venue near Pigalle and Montmartre has reinvented itself with a dash of decadence. The main dance floor, dubbed "La Chaufferie", once served as the Moulin Rouge's boiler room. Though the old pipes remain charmingly intact, the more recent Alice in Wonderland-themed decor allows for a memorable dancing experience, with room for 800 hipster types to let loose to techno and electro DJ sets.
Address: 90 boulevard de Clichy, 18th arrondissement
Metro: Place de Clichy