Tour of Paris by Night

Tour of Paris by Night

My solo trip to Paris taught me many things. I was most pleased about how the trip took a turn for the better. It started with a turbulent beginning with a canceled flight, but by the end of my trip and the evening of my birthday, I was enjoying one of the best times of my life. Whoever said Paris was for lovers — well, ok — but I think its nickname stands true: La Ville Lumière (‘The City of Light’). I saw all of this on a Paris by night tour, learning about the monuments and history of the French capital with my brand new friend, Chris of Cédric’s Paris.

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” – Carrie Bradshaw

Paris by Night with Chris of Cédric’s Paris

Cédric’s Paris Tour

Paris is huge, and everybody checks out the Eiffel Tower first, but I wanted to see more of the French capital than just the touristy spots. A friend who is a regular visitor to Paris recommended this tour. Chris, Cédric’s brother, picked me up at my hotel in his 1977 classic green 2CV car, “Yuna,” the oldest of the collection, at 9:30pm.

I opted for the two-hour package as I am a history nerd who wanted an extra half hour to hear and see as much as possible. After all, this had been a dream of mine since the French classes of my third year at Florida Atlantic University. I dreamt of studying in France that year, but didn’t get the chance because the 9/11 terror attack happened in September. The uncertainty of the world’s safety put more than a damper on traveling at the time. Well, for me, it did, at least. Looking back, I realize I was young and had much to learn. However, at that age, we think we already know it all… don’t we?

Moulin Rouge 

The Moulin Rouge was the first stop on our tour. It was smaller than I had imagined. When I think of Moulin Rouge, I think of Nicole Kidman’s performance in the movie. I didn’t think about what the Moulin Rouge stood for. I guess that’s my naivety shining through. Chris explained that this neighborhood was not the safest to wander around past midnight. Looking at the nightclubs as we drove by, I thought: ‘Fair point’. 

In truth, it is probably best to stick to less “partyish” neighborhoods when traveling as a solo female, but I was glad to see this iconic neighborhood during my night tour of Paris. I missed my chance to see a Moulin Rouge show that first night because of my delayed flight. I probably won’t rebook that show, but it was great to see this part of the city at night.

And I recorded it for immortality. Chris pulled over and snapped a few photos of me in the car, and gave a detailed explanation of the area. And that made up for it, times 10. 

Moulin Rouge tour


After Moulin Rouge, we made our way to Montmartre. As Chris drove up the hill, I focused on the lit-up gem of Sacré-Cœur, the “Sacred Heart.” My eyes froze, and my heart stopped. Living in Europe, I had already developed an almost obsessive interest in cathedrals. Each is so beautiful and completely different from the next.


On the steps of Sacré-Cœur

We drove in silence, but a comfortable silence at that. Chris told me the best view in Paris was here, and the best time to view it was at night. He was not wrong. As he helped me out of the car, it all felt like a trance. I walked up the steps to the entrance and turned around. There she was: La Ville Lumière, the City of Light, and she was radiant.

I tried to capture it all in photos, but they don’t even come close to what it looked like in person, either the church, inside and out, or the view. I felt a pang in my heart — the good kind. It confirmed that I was happy and that this moment was one to hold close to.

sacred heart church

We got back into the car, and Chris drove me around Montmartre to see one of Paris’s only vineyards, and a small one at that! We drove past Place du Tertre, the square where Paris’s artists, going back to Picasso and Monet and even before that, traditionally hung out and drew on the sidewalk.


The Eiffel Tower

La tour Eiffel is best seen on a night tour of Paris, preferably at 11 PM. Chris explained that the Eiffel Tower sparkles with twinkling lights at the beginning of every hour, and he didn’t want me to miss it, so we hurried down the hill to get there as soon as possible. I was literally breathless! The Eiffel Tower was constructed between 1887 and 1889, and was built to be the entrance of the 1889 Exposition Universelle World Fair. Chris explained this as we captured its twinkling form from our vantage point in front of the River Seine. It is the most visited paid structure in the world; it is incredible that Parisians once hated it. WOW!

Eiffel Tower at night

Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde 

We completed our tour by driving around the Champs-Élysées through the Arc de Triomphe. From here, we drove from the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde, the city’s largest square, and returned to the hotel. I saw all this before on my first visit to Paris, on foot, but this was magical, something else entirely. I stay outside the touristy areas when I visit Paris, and would recommend that as it helps you immerse yourself in the everyday life of the Parisian.

Champs de Elysse

Chris stopped the car on the side of the Champs-Élysées to let me snap some more photos before we proceeded down to Concorde Square, which is situated at the end of the road. The buildings en route have witnessed centuries of French history, from royal dynasties to revolutions. If only the walls could talk, what would they tell you?

Solo Traveling Has Made Me Stronger

Paris was a blast and helped me to form that solid relationship with myself I so wanted. It might have felt odd if I had stayed in the United States and celebrated my birthday alone there. Others might be staring at me (this happens) to find out why I was all dressed up and alone, or it just might have felt strange to go out when I had friends around that I could have invited. Expats and those who solo travel can already appreciate where I am coming from.

My feelings in Paris were quite the opposite. I felt relaxed with my guide Chris. My 20-year-old self would have never gone to a foreign country, let alone by herself. But years later, here I was sitting in Paris, looking up at the stars and fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Cedric’s Tour paris france

Listen to Your Heart and Tour Paris by Night

Not only did I see Paris, I saw her come to life at night. I felt the very being of my soul open up to receive it. My life felt more complete, having accomplished a trip and celebrated my birth on time by doing something that meant so much to me. If you take away anything from what you’ve just read, my message to you is to defy social norms — eat dinner on your own — celebrate yourself on your own, because the more you are at peace on the inside, the less you are likely to care what others are doing or saying around you. The less you care what others think, the more you will have your sense of internal peace.

As clichéd as it sounds, we only have one life, and our time is limited. Live your life completely. Live it on your terms, and don’t listen to what others think you should do. Listen to your heart — let it guide you. May your next birthday bring you as much happiness as a solo birthday in Paris brought me (years after dreaming about it!)

“We are born alone, we die alone. Everything in-between is a gift.”- Yul Brynner 

Dreams Abroad’s founder Leesa Truesdell believes in inspiring others to pursue their dreams of travel. Make your own dreams of adventure come true with our perfect Paris itinerary

40 thoughts on “Tour of Paris by Night

  1. Thank you for showing your tour of Paris by night. It seems there is a lot to do around the area and for those who like to stay up late. 🙂 How much was the tour about? Also, was there a lot of traffic?

    1. Hi Denise,

      You would have to go to their website for their most recent prices. I went back in 2017 and it was a two-hour tour. I think they charge based on where you go and length etc. I did mine as a special occasion and birthday present to myself. It was around 100 euro plus a tip. But, again, it was a special tour of the city and a birthday present that I had been waiting my whole life to do. If you split the cost with a group, it’s cheaper and the car holds about three to four extra passengers. No, there was not a lot of traffic because it started after rush hour. Also, the tour ended around 11:30 pm. It wasn’t too late.
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Sounds like a great birthday night. My wife and I were in Paris on 911 and didn’t think we’d make it home. Seeing it on TV, we thought it was a Godzilla horror movie. Even Paris, and its people stood still in cafes and on the street with mouths agape and barely whispering to each other. A man at the next table had a complete break down…his office and co-workers fell with one of the towers, while he was on vacation.

    1. Hi Ed,
      It was a great trip becuase I was doing something I never thought I would do. It was magical. It was me living a dream that I never thought I would be able to do.

      About 9/11, I can’t believe that you were in Paris of all places. I remember where I was that day– in my car. It did seem like something that was not real. This is an interesting perspective, Ed. I am sure that American tourists abroad felt so helpless seeing this tragedy. I cannot even imagine how helpless that man felt at the table next to you… What I do remember from that time was people on our street coming together and holding signs up for those who passed in NYC. I remember driving up a busy street on my way to work and people stood on corners holding signs. America came together during a time of severe loss. Thank you so much for your comment and for reading. I truly appreciate hearing from you.

  3. It is a very nice post about such a historic and beautiful place. I have never been to Paris, but it is still a dream of mine to take the family. Italy, France and Germany are my next destinations in Europe for sure. Love your pictures!

    1. Hi Olga!

      I hope you get the chance to go to all of these places one day! I waited about 15 years to get to my dream. They do come true.

      Take care and thanks for commenting!

  4. Ah, Paris. Definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for making it feel like I was actually there. 🙂 Now I need to actually go there! haha

    1. Hi Matt,

      Thanks so much for reading about my trip. It was a great time. Paris is huge so you might want to identify what you want to see first then go from there. Thank you for taking the time to read about my solo travels.

    1. Hi Amber,

      Yes, the city of lights indeed. It’s magical and worth every moment that you take in. It’s gorgeous.

      I hope you go!

  5. Bonjour! It looks like you had an amazing time in the city of love. Paris is really one of the most fascinating places ever in the world. I have been there several times and just love and appreciate it. How did you like the food? Great blog post.

    1. Bonjour Sarah! I’ve been several times too. The city of lights is truly a magical place! This was my second trip and have been back a couple times since this trip. It took me awhile to write about it because like any experience I needed to reflect and then write. I LOVED the food. I thought the food was great. But, going back after this tour made me focus on which parts of the city I wanted to spend the most time in. Thank you for your comment!

  6. I have never been to Paris, France but I really want to go and experience the night tour you took. It’s def on my bucket list. For now I’ll live it through your picture. Where did you go to eat? I am sure their desserts are delicious!

  7. Great to see you had a great time on your birthday. You are a BIGGER person than I because I’m not sure I’d travel alone outside the US. I have never really wanted to go to France, but now I do. Great blog post and good lunk on all future travel abroad.

    1. Dear John,

      Thank you for reading. I feel honored that my post had an influence on your travels. Thank you so much– I am beyond flattered. If you need any tips or recommendations feel free to email us through the contact button on our website and I will send you whatever you need. I am happy to help those who are destined to have the trip of their lifetime. Cheers, Leesa

  8. I know I have commented on this blog yesterday and I will again simply because I wanted to ask you if you have ever been to the catacombs. I would love to travel all 300 miles of that. That is one of those understated bucket list goals I have.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      No– I have not been to the catacombs but that would certainly be a great trip to do too. I will look into it now that you mention it. Thanks so much for reading.

      Happy travels to you and come back to share soon.

  9. OMMMMMMG this looks like a fabolous and fun tour. I need to go back to Paris, as I think I missed out on some of the things.

    1. Hello and yes, it was a fun tour! I’ve been back to Paris since this tour and still haven’t seen everything. The city is huge. This tour gave me my second introduction to the areas that I truly wanted to spend time in on my third visit. And, when I went back on my third visit— I did just that! You will always see something new no matter when you go because there is a different event or exhibit going on etc. It’s such a great city!

  10. Sounds like you had a wonderful time there with all the exciting things you did and visited. Those areas are all amazing spots to go to in Paris.

  11. Oh wow, your pictures had my dreaming of being there myself. Paris is one of the few places that I have always wanted to travel but never visited. I told my husband a while back that we need to make our next big overseas vacation a trip to Europe 🙂

    1. Hi Britt,

      You should go and if need travel recs — send us an email and we will help you out.
      Best of luck with the planning,

  12. A dream of my family is to one day make it to Paris and spend some time there. I give you a lot of credit for doing it solo. I don’t even like traveling solo for business and eating at the bar by myself let alone touring the city the way you did. The cathedral looked breath taking and what can I say about the Eiffel Tower that hasn’t already been said numerous times.

    1. Hello, thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot. I felt the same way at first when I traveled solo. But, then, I began to realize that all of those little things that we think about not liking that you refer to … (sitting at the bar alone), are ingrained in us because of social norms. When you take out the social norms part maybe you might enjoy spending the evening with yourself. Try it. It’s easier to do in places that are more accepting of tourism and in larger cities. But, all in all, stepping out of our comfort zones is certainly a great way to achieve personal growth. Thanks again for reading. Leesa

  13. I have been to Paris twice. Once as a teenager backpacking and then later when i was interested in someone. This is an amazing city that never sleeps. You can spend a whole month here and not see everything. So much to do and visit and eat. You have grabbed the essence of Paris and really brought back some amazing memories. Jerry Godinho

    1. Hi Jerry,

      Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences with Paris. I am sure both of your trips were wonderful. Have you thought about going one more time? What would a third time be like…? Thanks for writing. Leesa

  14. I keep on saying Paris is always a nice idea. great guide! Ive been to Paris only once and i am not an evening person. sometimes I think I should be a little more

    1. Hi Lyosha,

      Thanks for reading. Sometimes, it’s nice to step out of our routines to experience something new and exciting. Thanks for reading.

  15. Me and my wife keep talking about going back to Paris because of only one reason. We were in Eiffel tower early evening when it started raining. It never stopped for 3 days and Paris was flooded and out of bounds for days together. We had a planned night tour but we missed it. Your post was a nice insight till we are physically back there.

    1. Hello and I wish you a trip back to Paris soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our articles. Enjoy Paris and be sure to read my post on touring the Eiffel tower. I give recs on that.


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