Nothing can stop the City of Light when it feels the urge to celebrate.
Millennial scrooges claimed that every square inch of Paris, from
bars to parking spaces, would be booked solid for months in advance.
But more festivities seem to pop up every day; more than enough
to entertain Parisian revelers. Its definitely not too late to
make this New Year the party of the millennium. Heres our pick
of ways to say good-bye to 1999.
With the beautiful people
Paris stylemakers and their eager followers will make sure theyre
seen at a designer bar or club. Top five hotspots: Barfly, Barrio
Latino, Buddha Bar, Man Ray and the Batofar... All planning events
for the millennium, mostly in the 1,800F range, including buffet,
all-night entertainment and, if youre lucky, an open bar. The
fight is on over big name DJs and qualified staff the going
rate for technicians, waitresses and bartenders has, on average,
tripled for the night of December 31.
Au Virage Lepic, the somewhat crumbling corner bistro dear to
the local villagers of Montmartre, doesnt seem to have changed
much from the days when Montmartre was a down-and-out artists
enclave. Experience the turn of this new century much as it might
have been in the last: complete with accordion, dancers spilling
out into the cordoned off street and sing-along versions of French
musette favorites, with people who really know all the words.
Fit for a king
If nothing but the royal treatment seems fit for the new millennium,
you can spend New Years eve at the Château de Versailles. After
a stroll through the Hall of Mirrors and royal chambers, a gala
dinner inspired by Louis XIVs 280 course feast, and a fireworks
display at midnight, youll have a free rein of the ballroom where
musicians in 18th century costumes will play instruments from
the Sun Kings heyday. But, be prepared to part with a kings
ransom a cool 15,065F.
Up in the sky
New Centurys eve will be your last chance to get a high altitude
millennium perspective of Paris. The Ballon Fortis, the largest
hot air balloon in the world, tethered to the Parc André Citroën,
and the big ferris wheel at the place de la Concorde, will make
their last flights on December 31 at 7:30pm and 5:30pm, respectively.
Give yourself or the kids a birds eye view of the countdown to
Le Top à la Tour
Alpinists and city planners have been busy grooming the Eiffel
Tower for its biggest moment since its opening in 1889. The Tower
will be closed to the public December 30-31 in preparation for
an unprecedented 20,000 flashing lights and tons of fireworks
to be let off, as a giant clock completes its countdown to 0 hour.
On the most beautiful street in the world
Twenty ferris wheels, each one peopled with performers and creations
conceived by a different artist, will line up along the Champs-Elysées.
At midnight, just as the first fireworks explode over the Eiffel
Tower, each will be set in motion, tracing a reel of light and
live performances from the avenue George V to the place de la
Concorde. Expect music, dance, design, cinema and fashion until
2am, and brightly lit streets closed to traffic until dawn. Get
a sneak peak of the citys principal celebrations December 27-29,
as artists and performers rehearse for the big day.
New Years Eve Musical Parties
Alfredo Rodriguez Septet Hot Cuban combo plus DJs, dancing and champagne to celebrate the New Year
at New Morning.
New Morning, 7-9, rue des Petites Ecuries, 10e, Mº Château dEau,
tel: 01.45.23.51.41, 10:30pm to dawn, 300F.
Opus Special menu, live music, DJs, dancing, champagne and surprises.
Opus, 167, quai de Valmy, 10e, Mº Louis Blanc, tel: 01.40.34.70.00,
8:30pm to dawn, 980F.
LUltima Noche Its Carnival Time in Rio with latin mixes by DJ Claudio, samba
carioca with Duduna and tropical treats.
Le Divan du Monde, 75, rue des Martyrs, 18e, Mº Pigalle, tel:
01.42.55.48.50, 10pm-dawn, 300F.
Get a jump start on the holidays with these classic Paris festivities.
Holiday window displays featuring animated toys and other goodies at Le Bon Marché (24,
rue de Sèvres, 7e, Mº Sèvres-Babylone), Le Printemps (64, bd Haussmann,
9e, Mº Auber-Caumartin), La Samaritaine (19, rue de la Monnaie,
1er, Mº Pont Neuf) and Galleries Lafayette (40, bd Haussmann,
8e, Mº Auber-Caumartin).
Special holiday lights on the Champs-Elysées, rue du faubourg St-Honoré, rue Lepic,
the place Vendôme and rue de la Paix. The bridges of Paris will
be specially lit for the holidays.
A holiday ice skating rink has been set up for the winter in front of the Hôtel de Ville.
Access is free and skate rental 30F. (Parvis de l'Hôtel de Ville,
4e, Mº Hôtel de Ville, daily 9am to 10pm, tel: 01.42.76.43.43).
The Crèche of Hope at Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris, place du parvis Notre-Dame,
Barfly 49, avenue George V, 8e, Mº George V, tel: 01.53.67.84.60.
Barrio Latino 46-48, rue du faubourg St-Antoine, 11e, Mº Bastille, tel: 01.55.78.84.75.
Buddha Bar 8, rue Boissy dAnglas, 8e, Mº Concorde, tel: 01.53.05.90.00.
Man Ray 34, rue Marbeuf, 8e, Mº Franklin D. Roosevelt, tel: 01.56.88.36.36.
Batofar facing 11, Quai François Mauriac, 13e, Mº Bibliothèque, tel:
Au Virage Lepic 61, rue Lepic, 18e, Mº Blanche, tel: 01.42.52.46.79.
Le Bal du Roy Château de Versailles, 78000 Versailles, tel: 01.43.59.16.48, www.chateauversailles.fr.
The big ferris wheel 10:30am to 7:30pm, place de la Concorde, 8e, Mº Concorde, tel:
Ballon Fortis daily 9am to sunset, Parc André Citroën, 15e, Mº Javel-André
Citroën, tel: 01.44.26.20.00, 66F/33F.
Aux Portes de l'An 2000 midnight to 2am, avenue des Champs-Elysées from avenue George
V to the place de la Concorde, free and open to the public