The city of lights isn’t just for lovebirds on their honeymoon – it’s a haven for music lovers who appreciate the amalgamation of contrasts: glossy and gritty, new and old, polished and rough.
Paris is where it all comes together in a wonderful, unabashedly unapologetic tangle. For beauty is everywhere; you just need to know where to look.
Wonders Of Light And Sound
Atelier Des Lumieres is Paris’s first digital museum of fine art, and despite having only opened in April 2018, it’s already making waves across the art scene. What used to be a foundry in the 1800s, producing cast-iron parts, became a beautiful work of digital art, five years after renovations commenced in 2013.
With up to five exhibitions at any given time, be sure to catch Van Gogh, Starry Night, an immersive visual and musical production, dedicated to the troubled genius known for his iconic paintings like The Potato Eaters (1885), Sunflower (1888) and Starry Night (1889).
Produced by Culturespaces and directed by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi, the famed Dutch painter’s expressive brushstrokes sweep across the hall, allowing you to enter the world of Van Gogh as a true spectator.
Eiffel Tower by night is also a welcome sight as you stay bundled warm, watching the 324m-tower come to life as the sun goes down. Every hour after sunset, the tower lights up for five minutes, sparkling like glitter thanks to 20,000 light bulbs installed by 25 professional mountain climbers over the course of five months.
Whether braving the crowd to watch the illumination from the base of the tower, or securing a more private (and comfortable) viewing spot (check out these genius locations suggested by Discover Walks) slightly further away, there’s simply no denying the magic of feeling your own face light up as you watch the tower twinkle over the city.
Drink And Dance The Night Away
It must be said that Parisians really know how to party. From jazz bars in caves to discos in the unlikeliest of places (under a bridge or in the catacombs), the culture of “dining, drinking and dancing” is second to none.
Lovingly referred to as a “ghetto museum”, Le Comptoir General is a bar, restaurant, art gallery and occasional film theatre rolled into one. Here, you’ll find a mishmash of things and people, chilling to the ever-changing sounds of whatever’s playing based on the different mood of the day.
If you never miss out on catching a performance while on holiday, you’ll love cabaret stage-turned-performance venue Caberet Sauvage.
Definitely not your typical polished concert-goer, teenybopper location, the red circus tent with its old-fashioned bar and wooden seats takes you back in time, then unapologetically zooms you back to the present with its enthusiastic and often eclectic performances, ranging from the likes of Ali Amran to Delain to La Rue Ketanou.
Located at Cite De La Mode overlooking the Seine, Paris’s fairly new establishment, Wanderlust, combines life’s little luxuries all under one roof.
With a bar, restaurant, club and art space, the building boasts a 1,600sqm terrace – home to a variety of activities like yoga classes, outdoor cinemas, brunch bazaars, artisan markets, and if the weather’s good, an open-air bar.
In wintertime, head on over to Nuits Fauves, an “underground” club in the same building, to escape the cold and enjoy great tunes.
Take To The Streets
The street music scene in Paris is a necessary experience if you’re visiting the city of lights. In areas where tourist traffic is heavier (think Metro stations, bridges or open squares), it’s not hard to find buskers plying their trade, playing music for people who are willing to slow down and take in an impromptu appreciation session on their way back home.
Le Marais in the 4th arrondisement (district) is a crowd favourite, with many a street performer setting up shop to showcase their talents to passers-by.
Grab a coffee, or score a table with a good view at these areas to enjoy some music for free: Right Bank (1st arrondisement), Republique (11th arrondisement), as well as Montmartre (18th arrondisement).
Be Captivated By Amazing Architecture
Whether innovatively fluid or unmistakably Baroque, there’s just something about French buildings that will take your breath away.
These majestic structures also play host to some of the world’s most prestigious acts: first up, Philharmonie De Paris, decked out in aluminium panels with a swirling basketweave design, clocks about 500 concerts per year, and offers a more in-depth look into music with its museum, as well as numerous year-round exhibitions and events.
Next, about an hour away from the heart of Paris is the resplendent Chateau De Versailles, which locals and tourists flock to during the summer months to catch the fountain shows and musical gardens.
There is also the 2,300-room Palace, where you can watch opera performances dedicated to baroque music before the French Revolution. If you’ve always wondered what it feels like to live like a king or queen (the Chateau offers luxe accommodation options too), this is a chance not to be missed.
Cover Image: Chesnot via Getty Images
Writer | Michelle Tan
Underneath her RBF, Michelle is actually a friendly raccoon. Loves collecting ugly things, changing her hair colour, and dinosaurs (not necessarily in that order).