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How You Can Experience 1920s Paris Today


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Cammie Victor



Welcome to the enchanting world of 1920s Paris, a time when the city of lights became a hub of artistic and intellectual innovation. Known as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, this era saw an explosion of creativity and cultural vibrancy that still captivates our imaginations today.


From the bustling Montmartre district to the iconic boulevards of the city, Paris in the 1920s was a melting pot of artists, writers, musicians, and free spirits. It was a time when art movements like Cubism, Surrealism, and Dadaism were challenging traditional norms, and literary giants like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were finding inspiration in the city’s cafes and salons.


While we can’t turn back time and experience the 1920s firsthand, there are still plenty of ways to step into the footsteps of the past and uncover the spirit of this remarkable era. In this article, we will take you on a journey through time as we explore the best ways to experience 1920s Paris today.


Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, a fan of jazz music, or simply curious about the glamour and energy of the Roaring Twenties, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. So let’s embark on our adventure and discover the magic of 1920s Paris!


Exploring the Art Scene

One of the defining aspects of 1920s Paris was its thriving art scene. The city attracted artists from around the world, lured by the vibrant energy and avant-garde spirit. To experience the art of this era, start by visiting the renowned Musée de l’Orangerie, where you can marvel at Claude Monet’s breathtaking Water Lilies series and immerse yourself in the Impressionist movement.


For a deeper dive into the artistic world of the 1920s, head to the Montmartre district, the Bohemian heart of the city. Here, you can explore the iconic Place du Tertre, where artists like Picasso and Modigliani once roamed, and even have your portrait painted by a local artist. Don’t miss the chance to step inside the studio of Suzanne Valadon or catch a glimpse of the iconic windmill, Moulin Rouge.


Add a touch of modernity to your art exploration by visiting the Centre Pompidou, a striking architectural marvel that houses one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. From Picasso and Duchamp to Warhol and Basquiat, you’ll find an impressive array of works that showcase the evolution of art during the 20th century.


Immerse yourself further in the art scene by attending art exhibitions and gallery openings in the city. Paris is home to numerous galleries that feature both established and emerging artists, offering a glimpse into the contemporary art scene. Keep an eye out for special exhibitions dedicated to the art of the 1920s, as they provide a unique opportunity to connect with the spirit of the era.


As you wander the streets of Paris, you’ll also encounter stunning art deco architecture that pays homage to the 1920s. From the ornate facades of buildings to the intricate details of interior design, these architectural gems serve as a testament to the glamour and elegance of the time.


Whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply appreciate the beauty of creative expression, exploring the art scene of 1920s Paris will transport you back to a time when the city was a haven for artistic innovation and experimentation.


Sipping Cocktails at Famous Bars

No visit to 1920s Paris would be complete without experiencing the glamorous nightlife of the era, and what better way to do so than by sipping cocktails at some of the city’s famous bars?


One of the most iconic establishments of the time was Harry’s New York Bar, located near the Opéra Garnier. Frequented by literary giants like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, this bar was a gathering place for expatriate artists and writers looking to indulge in the delights of Paris. Order a classic cocktail like a Sidecar or a French 75, and transport yourself back to the era of jazz and joie de vivre.


Another must-visit destination is the legendary La Coupole. This grand art deco brasserie was a hub for artists and intellectuals during the 1920s. Step inside and marvel at the intricate decor while enjoying a drink at the bar. From champagne to absinthe, the extensive menu offers a taste of the libations that were popular during the Jazz Age.


If you prefer a more intimate and underground atmosphere, head to Le Baronne. Tucked away in a secret location, this speakeasy-style bar captures the clandestine vibe of the Prohibition era. Sample delicious crafted cocktails and soak in the ambiance reminiscent of the roaring 1920s.


For a taste of the past with a modern twist, visit the Experimental Cocktail Club. This trendy bar pays homage to the vintage cocktail culture with its expertly crafted drinks and speakeasy-inspired ambiance. Sit back, relax, and let the mixologists transport you to a bygone era.


As you indulge in the flavors of the 1920s, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating these vintage-inspired libations. The cocktails of the time were carefully crafted and served with elegance and precision, reflecting the sophistication and opulence of Paris in the Jazz Age.


Sipping cocktails at these famous bars not only allows you to experience the glamour of 1920s Paris but also provides a gateway to the social and cultural fabric of the era. So raise your glass high, toast to the past, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a bygone era.


Dining at Historic Cafés and Restaurants

Paris has long been known for its culinary excellence, and in the 1920s, the city boasted a vibrant café and restaurant culture that embodied the spirit and sophistication of the era. To truly immerse yourself in the ambiance of 1920s Paris, indulge in a dining experience at one of its historic establishments.


Start your culinary journey with a visit to Café de Flore, one of the oldest and most iconic cafés in Paris. Situated in the vibrant Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, this historic café was a favorite haunt of intellectuals and artists alike. Order a cup of rich coffee and soak in the atmosphere, imagining the lively discussions and artistic debates that once took place here.


For a taste of old-world charm, head to Le Dôme. This seafood restaurant has been serving delectable dishes since 1898 and was a popular gathering spot for artists and writers during the 1920s. Feast on fresh oysters, lobster, and other delicacies as you appreciate the timeless elegance that permeates the air.


Located in the heart of Montparnasse, La Rotonde is another must-visit restaurant that showcases the bohemian spirit of the 1920s. This historic brasserie was a favorite meeting spot for artists and intellectuals who fueled their creative energies while enjoying a meal or a drink. Sit in the same seats that were once occupied by famous painters such as Picasso and Modigliani, and let the history come alive as you savor the flavors of the past.


To fully immerse yourself in the world of gastronomy and elegance, book a table at Maxim’s. This iconic restaurant, founded in 1893, achieved legendary status during the 1920s. Known for its opulent Art Nouveau decor and gourmet cuisine, Maxim’s was frequented by socialites, celebrities, and high society members. Indulge in a sumptuous meal, accompanied by fine wines, and experience the refined dining experience that epitomized the Parisian lifestyle in the 1920s.


These historic cafés and restaurants not only offer exquisite gastronomic delights but also provide a window into the glamorous and intellectual world of 1920s Paris. As you savor the flavors and soak in the ambiance, you’ll feel transported to a time when Paris was a haven of creativity, culture, and culinary excellence.


Visiting Iconic Landmarks

Paris is renowned for its iconic landmarks, and many of these sites have stood the test of time since the 1920s. Exploring these historic and cultural gems will not only give you a sense of the city’s rich history but also transport you back to the vibrant atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties.


No visit to Paris is complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1889, this towering iron lattice structure has become synonymous with the city’s skyline. Take an elevator ride to the top and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, just as visitors did in the 1920s. Imagine the excitement and energy that filled the air during the Exposition Universelle of 1900, when the Eiffel Tower was unveiled to the world.


Another iconic landmark that has retained its allure is the Notre-Dame Cathedral. With its Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows, this cathedral has been a symbol of French heritage for centuries. While the devastating fire in 2019 tragically affected parts of the cathedral, it remains a powerful testament to Parisian history and resilience.


Stroll along the Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous avenues in the world. During the 1920s, this grand boulevard was a hub of activity, lined with luxurious shops, theaters, and cafés. Today, you can still experience the elegance of the era as you walk past iconic landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.


Step into the world of art at the Louvre Museum, home to the iconic Mona Lisa and countless other masterpieces. As you wander through the halls of this historic museum, ponder the impact that artists such as Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Vermeer had on the cultural landscape of the 1920s. Inhale the artistic spirit that permeates the air and appreciate the timeless beauty captured in the paintings and sculptures.


Lastly, pay homage to the bohemian spirit of 1920s Paris with a visit to the Montmartre neighborhood. Wander the cobblestone streets, admire the charming vineyard of Clos Montmartre, and visit the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica perched high on a hill. This vibrant neighborhood was a haven for artists, writers, and musicians during the Jazz Age, and you can still feel the creativity and energy that once flowed through its veins.


Visiting these iconic landmarks not only allows you to admire their architectural beauty but also provides a connection to the past. As you explore each site, imagine the bustling crowds, the vibrant conversations, and the sense of excitement that filled the air during the 1920s in Paris.


Shopping at Vintage Boutiques

If you have a penchant for fashion and a love for all things vintage, Paris is the perfect city to indulge in a shopping spree at its many charming vintage boutiques. These unique stores offer a treasure trove of stylish clothing, accessories, and curiosities from the 1920s and beyond.


Step into the time machine and explore the world of vintage fashion at Les Merveilles de Babellou. Located in the heart of the Marais district, this boutique specializes in clothing and accessories from the 1920s to the 1980s. From flapper dresses to retro handbags, you’ll find a wide range of curated pieces that will transport you back to the fashion-forward era of the 1920s.


For the true vintage aficionado, visit Free’P’Star. This popular thrift store is known for its eclectic collection of clothing and accessories from different eras, including the 1920s. You’ll have a chance to browse through racks of unique finds and create your own one-of-a-kind look inspired by the fashion trends of the Roaring Twenties.


Make your way to Didier Ludot, a renowned vintage boutique located in the prestigious Jardin des Tuileries. Specializing in luxury vintage clothing and accessories, this boutique offers a curated collection of designer pieces that reflect the elegance and sophistication of the 1920s and beyond. From Chanel to Dior, you’ll find iconic brands that have influenced fashion for decades.


Discover a hidden gem at Chez Chiffon, a charming boutique tucked away in the trendy Montmartre neighborhood. This small store is known for its carefully curated collection of vintage clothing and accessories, including beautiful dresses and delicate jewelry inspired by the 1920s. The knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect piece to add a touch of vintage flair to your wardrobe.


Another must-visit destination is Kiliwatch, a concept store that blends vintage with contemporary fashion. Located in the vibrant Les Halles district, this edgy boutique showcases an eclectic mix of vintage and new clothing, including pieces that capture the essence of the 1920s. Browse through racks of unique finds and let your fashion creativity run wild.


Shopping at these vintage boutiques not only allows you to discover hidden gems and unique fashion pieces but also provides a glimpse into the fashion trends and styles of the vibrant 1920s. So embrace your inner fashionista, try on some vintage attire, and bring a touch of the Jazz Age into your wardrobe.


Diving into the Jazz Age with Music and Dance

The Jazz Age of the 1920s was defined by its vibrant music and electrifying dance culture. To truly immerse yourself in the spirit of the era, partake in the rich musical heritage and energetic rhythms that dominated the nightlife of 1920s Paris.


Start your journey by seeking out jazz clubs and venues that pay homage to the music of the time. Le Caveau de la Huchette, located in the Latin Quarter, is a legendary jazz club that has been hosting live performances since the 1940s. Step inside this historic venue and be transported back to an era when swing and jazz music filled the air.


For a more intimate setting, visit Le Hot Club de Jazz. Bringing to life the sounds of Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France, this club is dedicated to preserving the traditions and artistry of gypsy jazz. Sit back, tap your feet, and let the jazzy melodies envelop you.


If you’re looking to try your hand (or feet) at dancing like they did in the 1920s, seek out dance classes or events that teach the popular dances of the Jazz Age. The Charleston, the Lindy Hop, and the Foxtrot were all the rage during this time. Join a dance studio or attend themed dance nights to learn the steps and let loose on the dance floor.


Immerse yourself further in the music and dance culture of the time by attending live performances or concerts that feature jazz bands or swing orchestras. Check out the program at venues like Le Bal Swing or Le Jazz Club Étoile, where you can experience the vivacious energy of live jazz music.


You can also explore the vibrant streets of Montmartre, where jazz musicians often performed in cafes and bars during the 1920s. Take a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and listen out for the sounds of talented street performers, keeping the jazz spirit alive.


To truly transport yourself to the Jazz Age, consider attending one of the many jazz festivals that take place in Paris throughout the year. From the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the Django Reinhardt Festival, these events showcase both renowned and up-and-coming artists, while celebrating the legacies of jazz legends.


Whether you’re tapping your feet to the rhythm of the music, learning the moves of iconic dances, or simply being captivated by the soulful melodies, immersing yourself in the music and dance of the 1920s will transport you to an era of artistic innovation and unparalleled energy.


Experiencing the Bohemian Lifestyle in Montmartre

If there’s one neighborhood that captures the bohemian spirit of 1920s Paris, it’s Montmartre. Nestled on a hill, this vibrant district was home to artists, writers, and musicians who embraced a carefree and unconventional way of life. Today, you can still experience the bohemian charm of Montmartre and get a taste of the artistic lifestyle that defined the era.


Start your Montmartre adventure by visiting the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This stunning white-domed church offers panoramic views of the city and serves as a symbol of artistic inspiration. As you climb the steps to the top, reflect on the creative energies that once flowed through this neighborhood and the bohemian lifestyles that took root here.


Wander the cobblestone streets of Montmartre and soak in the bohemian atmosphere. Explore the Place du Tertre, a picturesque square where artists gather to showcase and sell their work. Get your portrait sketched by a local artist or simply marvel at the range of artistic talents on display.


Indulge in the café culture that permeates Montmartre. Café des Deux Moulins, made famous by the film Amélie, is a charming spot to stop for a coffee and people-watch. Imagine the conversations that once took place here, as artists and writers sought inspiration over a cup of strong French coffee.


Continue your bohemian immersion by delving into the literary history of Montmartre. Trace the footsteps of writers like Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway, who were drawn to the neighborhood’s allure. Visit the iconic literary café, Le Lapin Agile, where poets and writers would gather to exchange ideas and share their works.


For a taste of cabaret and vaudeville that was popular during the 1920s, head to the famous Le Chat Noir. This historic cabaret venue once hosted performances by renowned artists and was a hotspot for the bohemian crowd. Even though the original building no longer exists, the spirit of Le Chat Noir lives on, so catch a cabaret show or performance to revel in the artistic ambiance.


Montmartre is also home to the iconic Moulin Rouge. While the cabaret was established in the late 19th century, it became synonymous with the risqué and liberated entertainment of the 1920s. Experience a mesmerizing performance that captivates the spirit of the Jazz Age, with its extravagant costumes, high-energy dances, and enchanting music.


By exploring the winding streets, visiting the cafés and cabarets, and immersing yourself in the bohemian atmosphere of Montmartre, you can get a glimpse into the artistic and unconventional lifestyles that thrived during the 1920s. Embrace the spirit of creativity, indulge in the freedom of expression, and let the bohemian energy of the era ignite your own artistic passion.


Enjoying Cabaret Shows and Performances

No trip to 1920s Paris would be complete without experiencing the excitement and glamour of cabaret shows and performances. These dazzling spectacles were a hallmark of the era, featuring extravagant costumes, mesmerizing dances, and captivating music. To truly immerse yourself in the spirit of the Jazz Age, indulge in the exhilarating world of cabaret.


Step into the legendary Moulin Rouge, perhaps the most famous cabaret in the world. Since its establishment in 1889, the Moulin Rouge has been synonymous with extravagant entertainment and seductive performances. Prepare to be dazzled by the colorful can-can dancers, impressive acrobatics, and elaborate sets. Let the music and energy of the show transport you back to the 1920s, where high kicks and lively rhythms defined the cabaret scene.


For a more intimate cabaret experience, visit Le Lido. Located on the Champs-Élysées, Le Lido has been enchanting audiences since 1946 with its grand-scale productions. With elaborate sets, stunning costumes, and a variety of performances including dance, magic, and aerial acts, Le Lido offers a night of pure entertainment and elegance.


For a taste of burlesque and vaudeville, head to the famous Crazy Horse. Known for its sultry and artistic performances, Crazy Horse showcases mesmerizing choreography and striking visual effects, making it a must-visit venue for those seeking a unique and sensual cabaret experience.


Immerse yourself further in the world of cabaret by attending one of the many smaller, independent shows that capture the spirit of the era. Le Secret Square, for example, offers a seductive and sophisticated cabaret experience in an intimate setting. With its tantalizing performances and fusion of music, dance, and comedy, it provides a unique glimpse into the underground cabaret scene of the 1920s.


As you watch these mesmerizing performances, you’ll be transported to a time of indulgence, artistic expression, and liberation. The extravagant costumes, the pulsating music, and the dynamic performances embody the vivacity and sensuality of 1920s Parisian nightlife.


So, reserve your tickets, sit back, and let the magic unfold before your eyes as you enjoy the thrill, glamour, and excitement of the cabaret shows and performances that continue to dazzle audiences to this day.


Getting Lost in the Literary Cafés and Bookstores

Paris has long been a haven for writers and intellectuals, and in the 1920s, the city’s literary scene flourished. To immerse yourself in the rich literary history of the Jazz Age, take a stroll through the charming streets and discover the literary cafés and bookstores that played a central role in shaping the cultural landscape of the time.


Start your literary journey with a visit to Café de la Rotonde, located in the heart of Montparnasse. This historic café was a favorite meeting place for famous writers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Allow the atmosphere to inspire you as you sip a coffee and delve into the pages of classic literature.


Continue your exploration by stepping into the iconic Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Founded in 1919, this legendary English-language bookstore quickly became a hub for expatriate writers, offering a sanctuary for wandering souls in search of literary inspiration. Browse through the carefully curated bookshelves, soak in the cozy ambiance, and perhaps strike up a conversation with fellow book lovers.


For a taste of authentic bohemian spirit, visit Le Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots, both located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. These historic cafés were gathering places for intellectuals and artists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus. Sit in the same seats where literary greats once sat, and let the creative energies of the past ignite your own imagination.


Explore the quaint streets of the Latin Quarter and discover Le Comptoir des Mots, a charming bookstore and café that exudes literary charm. This hidden gem is a perfect spot to find unique books and immerse yourself in a cozy reading nook, or engage in literary discussions with like-minded individuals.


Another must-visit destination is La Hune, a beloved bookstore that has been a cornerstone of literary life in Paris since 1949. With its extensive collection of books and lively atmosphere, La Hune has been a meeting place for writers, poets, and thinkers from all walks of life.


As you wander through these literary cafés and bookstores, you’ll feel the literary heritage of the 1920s come alive. The conversations, the exchange of ideas, and the passion for literature that once filled these spaces can still be felt today.


So, lose yourself in the world of literature, sip a cup of coffee, and lose track of time as you explore these literary sanctuaries that have nurtured the imagination of writers and readers alike throughout the centuries.



Stepping into the world of 1920s Paris is like entering a time capsule filled with artistic innovation, intellectual discourse, and extravagant revelry. From the vibrant art scene to the glamorous nightlife, this era continues to captivate our imagination and beckon us to explore its fascinating history.


By exploring the art scene, sipping cocktails at famous bars, dining at historic cafés and restaurants, visiting iconic landmarks, shopping at vintage boutiques, diving into the music and dance of the Jazz Age, immersing ourselves in the bohemian lifestyle of Montmartre, enjoying cabaret shows and performances, and getting lost in the literary cafés and bookstores, we can unlock the spirit of 1920s Paris.


Through the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Montmartre district, we can delve into the world of artists and glimpse the masterpieces that revolutionized the art world. By savoring cocktails at Harry’s New York Bar and Café de Flore, we can taste the elegance and indulgence that permeated the social scene of the time.


Visiting the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and other iconic landmarks allows us to connect with the grandeur and history that defined the city. Exploring vintage boutiques takes us on a fashion journey through the styles and trends that once graced the streets of Paris.


Indulging in jazz music, attending cabaret shows, and dancing the Charleston transports us to the dynamic and vibrant nightlife that filled the city. In Montmartre, we can embrace the bohemian spirit and retrace the steps of literary giants who left their mark on the neighborhood’s cafés and bookstores.


As our journey through 1920s Paris comes to a close, we are left with a profound appreciation for the cultural legacy that continues to shape the city. Paris remains a beacon of artistic inspiration, where the echoes of the Jazz Age exist alongside contemporary creativity.


So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a music aficionado, or simply a curious traveler, allow yourself to be enchanted by the allure of 1920s Paris. Immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage, indulge in its vibrant nightlife, and let the spirit of the Jazz Age transport you to a time of artistic brilliance, cultural revolution, and unabashed indulgence.