I don’t know about you, but when I think of bustling cosmopolitan cities like New York, London, or Paris, I imagine them all 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 that you can make the most of your Parisian vacation and waste as little as time possible, here are a few timing tips!
During the week, the last metro is between 00:30 – 01:00; on weekends, the last departure is around 01:30 – 02:00. 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 05:30 in the morning!
If there’s a restaurant, store, or museum you really want to visit while in Paris, check their opening hours before heading there just to find it’s closed.
Many cafés and restaurants close, or at least don’t serve food, between 15:00 – 19:00. Most Parisians take their lunch breaks between 13:00 – 14:00, with the typical dinner time around 19:30 – 21:00. The good news though, is that a lot of restaurants stay open quite late, many serving until 23:00!
Bars generally close between 01:00 – 02:00, just in time to catch the last metro! Clubs stay open until 06:00, 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 is another thing. Stores close surprisingly early here, with most shops closing around 19:30 – 20:00, except in large shopping centers. Employees start gently pushing people out about 30 minutes before closing time (something which would never happen in the US!), so don’t wait until the last minute.
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 there before you go!
Unlike in some countries where everyone gets in on this lovey-dovey holiday from the earliest age, in France, Valentine's Day is reserved for adults in love. Kids don't exchange cards and the French wouldn't dream of offering anything to their friends for this fête.