St. Patrick’s Day in France isn’t really noticed in most parts of France. That doesn’t mean there aren’t places where you can celebrate. Whether you want to find a pub to drink a pint of Guinness beer or listen to some Irish tunes and do the Irish jig, here are some ideas on things to do and places you can go to celebrate this iconic day in France.
I’m not Irish and don’t have an ounce of Irish blood in me; however, when my family moved to North America as a kid, I was fascinated by this fun tradition of pinching anyone who didn’t wear green on Saint Patrick’s day.
As I got older, I still put on something green for St. Patrick’s day but added drinking beer at local pubs with friends to my repertoire of Irish festivities, or watch the Irish parade In Montreal where there are a lot of people of Irish descent.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you might have had a similar experience.
I live in France now, and despite being physically closer to Ireland, St. Patrick’s day isn’t very popular In France. At least not to the extent it is in North America. You won’t find corned beef stocked up at the supermarket or 4 leaf clovers decorated here and there on St. Patrick’s day. If you see anyone wearing green, it’s most likely a coincidence.
Just because you’re in France doesn’t mean you have to forgo traditions or holidays that aren’t traditionally French.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of French people in France who celebrate or honour other customs, and it’s all right if you do too. It’s also fun to see how other cultures celebrate something you’re used to celebrating a certain way.
See also: Why the French hate Halloween
How to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in France
Before you go pub hopping, check out the Irish cultural centre of Paris. On their site, you’ll find a calendar of events that you can use to find all sorts of cultural things to do not only for Saint Patrick’s day but also all year round. Art exhibitions, concerts, dancers and more.
Places to celebrate St. Patrick’s day in Paris
The French connection to Ireland is strong. It’s estimated that there are over 30k Irish people who call France home, including more than 15k who live in Paris. As a result, the Irish culture has really influenced the Parisian drinking scene with a heap of Irish pubs spread across the city.
Here are a handful of Irish pubs in Paris worth a visit.
- Le Coolin, Paris
- Kitty O’Shea’s Le Pub Irlandais, Paris
- Connolly’s Corner, Paris
- Corcoran’s Paris
- Guinness Tavern du côté de Chatelet
- O `Sullivan à Montmartre
- Taverne de Cluny in the 5th arrondissement
- Celtic Corner Pub in the 15th arrondissement
- Obrien’s near the
- Shannon Pub
- The pure malt
I could go on.
Irish Pubs in other cities throughout France
If you’re not in Paris on St Patty’s day, all is not lost. There are usually a few Irish pubs in larger cities across France.
Smaller towns are another story. When we lived in La Garde, France, a small town in Provence, there was no Irish pub. However, Toulon, the next town over, had a few pubs to choose from.
Versailles is home to the Palace of Versaille, one of the most-visited sites in France, home to French Kings and queens between 1662 and 1789, and one of the most important landmarks in French history.
Conveniently located opposite Palace de la Versailles is O’Paris Irish Pub. It’s a little pricey, but the service and ambiance are good.
15 rue Colbert, 78000, Versailles, France
If you want a more authentic Irish ambience, head over to Rennes in Brittany. Rennes is pretty festive throughout the year, but it really comes alive around rue Saint-Michel, aka “rue de la soif,” where you’ll find a number of bars all waiting for you to celebrate St Patrick’s with them. Coincidentally “rue de la soif” translates to “thirsty street.”
Address: rue Saint-Michel, 35000, Rennes.
Montpellier is the 7th largest city in France in terms of population and also has the youngest population of all cities in France. The nightlife is pretty lively, especially in the medieval part (l’écusson).
Le FitzPatrick’s Irish Pub
The most Irish pub in Montpellier, where the staff is friendly, there’s music and plenty of Guinness which you can drink at the wooden bar.
5 Place Saint-Come, 34000 Montpellier, France
- The Shamrock
The Hop Store Irish Pub
Located in the old town of Antibes close to the beach. The menu is simple but delicious, with plenty of beer to choose on draft.
38 Boulevard d’Aguillon, 06600 Antibes, France
Bordeaux is a city famous for its wine, but its beer culture is growing.
The Frog & Rosbif
Built in the 16th century, this pub is housed in a former women’s prison and the first pub in Bordeaux to brew its own beers. The interesting thing about their name is Frog is what the English call the French, and Rosbif (roast beef) is what the French call the English. Tee hee hee.
23 Rue Ausone, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Other Irish pubs in Bordeaux:
- The Connemara
- Le Molly Malone’s
- The Blarney Stone
Lyon is the French capital of gastronomy. It’s packed with rustic-style restaurants called “bouchons” that specialize in the region’s local Lyonnaise cuisine: earthy meat- and fish-based cuisine.
- The Smoking dog
- Kelly’s Irish pub
Lille is an interesting city. It is located in Northern France and shares a border with Belgium. It’s one of the few French cities where Dutch was and still is traditionally spoken. It’s called French Flanders. Being so close to Belgium, it also has a very strong beer culture.
Tir Na Nog
This Irish pub and restaurant is in the center of Lille in the basement. They serve plenty of beer and food such as hamburgers and fish and chips.
30 Place Philippe Le Bon, 59000, Lille, France
The Galway Inn, Le Tonneau de Bière
Nantes has plenty of landmarks with plenty of trendy venues, but it’s probably best known for the Castles in the surrounding area.
Gigg’s Irish Pub
A small bar with plenty of music and beer.
4 Place Saint Pierre, 44000, Nantes France
Le Shannon Irish Pub
I’ve been to this bar several times, and around Saint Patrick’s, it gets crowded and really noisy, but the atmosphere is always festive.
56 Boulevard de Tessé, 83000 Toulon, France
- London Town
- Le Mulligans
Strasbourg sits on Germany’s border along the Rhine river and has one of the oldest and best Christmas markets in the world. Culturally speaking, it has a mix of German (Alsacian) and French culture, which is evident in the food. You can also rent a bike and ride over the bridge to Germany in less than 15 minutes from the city centre.
O’Brien’s Irish Pub
6 Place Saint Nicolas aux Ondes, 67000, Strasbourg, France
Antibes is a beach town in the south of France that’s a hop, skip and a jump away from Nice and Cannes and Grasse. French people love to vacation in Antibes.
The Hop Store
38 Boulevard d’Aguillon, 06600 Antibes, France
Find an Irish pub near you in France
If you’re not in a major city and want to find an Irish pub, try searching Google. You may have to search in French if you’re English search results pull up nothing.
Try typing these search terms in a search engine.
- “un pub Irlandais + name of your French town.”
- “où fêter St Patricks + name of your french town”
Go to Disneyland Paris and Disney Village for St Patrick’s Day
As cheesy as it sounds, you could go to Disneyland Paris on the 17th of March to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day. There are usually Irish dancers, a meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie in Irish costumes, musicians, free makeup, fireworks and loads of other things to get you in the mood. The is also decked out in Green.
Over 50 French Landmarks and places in France “Go Green” for St. Patrick’s Day
For years, Tourism Ireland has organized a Global Greening campaign where iconic landmarks around the world “go green” for St. Patrick’s Day.
Originally only 2 landmarks went green for the Irish national holiday when Tourism Ireland first started the campaign in 2009, but in 2021, 65 countries participated by illuminating some 690 places and iconic landmarks worldwide, including 50 in France.
Here is a handful of the 50 French landmarks and places that participated in the go green for Ireland’s St Patrick’s day.
- Paris: Sacre Coeur
- Strasbourg: Palais de l’Europe (seat of the Council of Europe)
- Montpellier: L’opera at place de la comédie.
- Calais: Dragon Company in France lit up the Dragon of Calais green- a mechanical dragon machine that can breathe fire, spit water. It’s manned by 17 people, weighs 72 tonnes, is 25 metres long and 15 metres high! And you can take a ride on it.
You can search for images on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag: #GlobalGreening.