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Paris is Not 24/7

A Few Tips to Make the Most of Your Time in Paris
Paris after dark
Last updated December 8, 2023
Don’t plan on running late night errands while in Paris and be prepared for a lot of bars, restaurants, and shops to be closed if you come in August. In addition to these general rules, here are few more helpful things to keep in mind when preparing your stay.

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I don’t know about you, but when I think of a bustling metropolis like New York, London, or Paris, I imagine them as cities that never sleep. Surely in a town with millions of people and tons to do, everything is open all the time, right? Wrong!

When visiting Paris, especially if your time here is limited, it’s good to know when things are open and when they aren’t. So you can make the most of your Parisian vacation and waste as little as time possible, here are a few timing tips!

What to know about the Parisian schedule:

The Paris Metro Doesn’t Run All Night

During the week, the last metro is between 12:30am and 1am; on weekends, the last departure is around 1:30-2:00am. If you’ll need to switch lines, be sure to leave a bit earlier so you don’t miss the other line’s last train. Or you could just stay out all night and catch the first metro around 5:30 in the morning!

Taking the metro for the first time? Our Dos and Don’ts will help you ride the metro like a pro!

Paris metro Bir Hakeim

A Lot of Places are Closed on Sundays and Mondays

If there’s a Paris restaurant, store, or sight you really want to visit, check their opening hours before heading there!Many museums are closed Mondays (the Catacombs and Musée d’Orsay for instance) or Tuesdays (the Louvre), with a lot of shops, bars, and bistros closed on Sundays and Mondays. So keep this in mind when planning your Paris itinerary!

Too much to keep track of? Let us prepare a personalized Paris itinerary for you!

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Prepare for Midday Breaks and Restaurants That Open Late

Many Parisian cafés and restaurants close — or at least don’t serve food — from 3-5pm. That’s right, don’t expect to eat dinner at 6pm here!

In Paris, most people take their lunch breaks between 1 and 2pm, with the typical dinner time around 7:30-9pm. If you’re hungry during off-hours, look for places with signs saying “Service Continu,” meaning the kitchen stays open all day. Also know that a lot of restaurants stay open quite late, with many serving until 11pm.

afés in Paris are now closed. Photo by Kasia Dietz.

Most bars in Paris close between 1 and 2am, just in time to catch the last metro. But if you want to stay out all night, clubs (known as boîtes de nuit) stay open until 6am, perfect for dancing the night away and then heading home on the first train!

While you can dine and dance late into the evening, shopping in Paris is different story. Stores close surprisingly early here, with most shops closing around 7:30-8pm, except in large shopping centers.

Employees start gently pushing people out about 30 minutes before closing time — something which would never happen in the United States — , so don’t wait until the last minute!

Paris street at night

The City Shuts Down in August

If you’re in Paris during the summer months, be aware that a lot — and I mean a lot! — of businesses close for the entire month of August. Their websites rarely indicate these closures, so call or send a Facebook message to make sure they’re not on vacation before you go!

Read more about What’s Open in Paris in August.

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