How can I have fun in Paris without being a total tourist?

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Answered by: Cassandra, An Expert in the Paris Travel - General Category
You've just arrived at either the Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport, or you could have taken a train to Paris. Maybe you've just finished high school, graduated from college, or decided you need a break. Either way, you are looking for adventure, and not one associated with tennis shoes and fanny packs. Don't get me wrong, visiting the museums and monuments is definitely a must. However, for some real fun in Paris, you need to check out the night life (and the day time too, but that's another story).

Oberkampf/Menilmontant, Grands Boulevards, and the Latin Quarter are all teeming with twenty-somethings looking for some fun in Paris. Though for the first night out, pace yourself. Let's pick the Obkerampf/Menilmontant area. Start in the 20th arrondisement, just above Rue Oberkampf, and work down to the 11th. Check out La Bellevilloise, which opened its door first as a cooperative in 1877. The owners and mission have changed over the years, but its impact on Parisian culture remains. This venue not only has a restaurant (complete with acoustic music and flowing wine) and a bar terrace, but it also hosts concerts throughout the year for up and coming artists. If you're still looking for a day time thing, check out their jazz brunch. What could be better after a long night? Another similar concert venue in the area is La Maroquinerie, which definitely worth a stop as well, as it hosts gigs for a relatively good price.

Moving down Rue de Menilmontant you'll pass a few cafés and bars. If you're looking for a real adventure, check out the club covered in graffiti and broken glass. The place is elusive and punk, so good luck trying to find info on the internet. Word of advice, wear black. If you would rather grab a bite to eat before commencing the night, keep walking down the street. Grab a terrace table at the brasserie with the fluorescent red sign, L'Entrepots. Sit with the locals, have an appertif and order the formule or the meal of the day.

Since nights in Paris don't start until midnight or end until the wee hours of the morning, make sure to have lengthy dinner before venturing down to the newest hot spot, La Feline. Be prepared for a slightly hipster vibe, with cigarettes, tight black pants, and rock-a-billy music. Young, fabulous, and maybe broke? twenty-somethings love this place for the music and the atmosphere.

If you would rather skip the rock music, keep strolling down to Rue Oberkampf past the Nouveau Casino and the green awning of the Café Place Verte terrace. Take a right on Rue Saint Maur, and keep going until you hit Espit Chupitos. As described by a local, this place personifies the Spanish/French border, the American equivalent of Spring Break in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. With only a few ingredients, they have a plethora of drinks and shots for cheap. Seriously, this place is very inexpensive and one of the best places to have fun in Paris. They have a decibel counter to measure the volume of party, and this number keeps growing into the night. Friendly Spanish bartenders will advise you on the best/most wild shots, but my advice, try the Boy Scout shot. You won't be disappointed.

As most bars close in Paris at two in the morning, you will have to go elsewhere for the after-party. To stay in the area, try L'Alimentation Generale for some Latin salsa music, or grab a taxi to Grands Boulevards where you can dance until the wee hours of the morning at Social Club or Rex Club. Though, as a disclaimer, don't make too much noise in the cab. They won't turn on Lady Gaga for you to car dance. And stay responsible!

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