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A Magnifique Paris-Themed Party in 11 Easy Steps, Plus 24 Real French-Inspired Parties We Love

When it comes to beautiful Paris-themed parties, we decided to go to the source and speak to luxury event planner Alejandra Poupel, founder of Alejandra Poupel Events based in Paris. Though she creates beautiful celebrations worldwide, Poupel is especially well-versed in what makes French parties so chic; here she offers advice on conjuring just the right amount of joie de vivre for your own perfectly Paris-themed gathering. “A French celebration always has a certain sophistication as well as elements of fashion,” affirms Poupel.

Then, read on to see real Paris-themed parties we love — from milestone birthdays to weddings and Bat Mitzvah celebrations to bridal showers —  even though they lie far from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

11 Steps for Planning the Perfect Paris-Themed Party

“Art, culture, fashion, and the French term ‘savoir faire’ are always closely linked in Parisian celebrations. The vibe always includes excellent service and gastronomy,” says Poupel. 

1. Pay Attention to the Menu

“The food menu should include foie gras or coq au vin, beef bourguignon, escargot, a buffet of cheeses and baguette breads,” she says, encouraging hosts to serve traditional (and delectable) French cuisine.

2. Sip Like the French

Poupel affirms that you should serve “good wine and great French Champagne for sure.” Don’t ignore detail, like the type of glass. “Champagne is always served here with open champagne glasses — the round circular ones [coupe glasses], not the typical flute,” she says.

3. Don’t Forget Dessert

Poupel suggests a luscious dessert buffet with “macaroon pyramids, chocolate eclairs — and millefeuille is a must.”

4. Include French Icons in Your Décor

“The element that instantly shows it is a Parisian party is, of course, the Eiffel Tower in many forms. It can be a photo-backdrop of flowers, an ice sculpture, or the shape of the dessert in chocolate,” Poupel tells us. 

5. Choose an Evocative Color Scheme

“If you’re going for the Moulin Rouge vibe you can have decor in black and red with the famous mill decoration that you see on top of the Moulin Rouge,” Poupel suggests. 

6. Incorporate French Words & Quotes

“Neon signs with Bonjour or Cest la fete [it’s a party] are fun,” says Poupel. She also shares an Audrey Hepburn quote that her team frequently uses on napkins: “Paris is always a good idea.” We agree.

7. Represent French Art

Art is at the heart of what makes Paris so special. Poupel suggests infusing art into your celebration by naming tables or signature cocktails after French monuments. She offers the following examples: “Arc de Triomphe, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Champs-Élysées, Opéra Garnier, and so on.” Or, she says you can evoke French art with artist names like, “Monet, Renoir, Watteau, Fragonard, Caillebotte, Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and Rodin.” 

8. Amp Up Staff Style

As Poupel affirmed earlier, excellent service is key. Take it to the next level with stylish uniforms for servers. She says, “Waiters should be dressed either in black tie with gloves (as we always serve in events here) or in Marie Antoinette-era outfits.”

9. Marry Form & Function With Great Service

“Service! Service is always a la franchise” at French celebrations says Poupel. “The waiter goes around with a silver platter of the main course and the vegetable sides in the same platter and the guests serve themselves. It’s very different from bringing the plates already decorated and ready to each guest. The advantage is that the guests serve themselves to their taste and quantity tastes.”

10. Offer Le Grand Amusement

Poupel says that when it comes to entertainment, “We often have the bands play music by Edith Piaf (La Vie en rose, Non, Je ne regrette rien), Serge Gainsbourg (La Javanaise, Je T’aime,…Moi Non Plus), Charle Aznavour (Emmenez-moi, La bohème), and Jacques Brel (La Valse à mille temps, Ne me quitte pas).”

She also suggests can-can dancers and notes that “Lido dancers are a regular at our events.” Parisian-themed events can be upbeat and fun with Poupel’s additional entertainment ideas of mimes and caricature artists creating face silhouettes. She adds, “If you go with a Moulin Rouge-style event, consider that type of cabaret entertainment.” You can even have a fashion show as a focal point since, as Poupel asserts, “Paris is fashion.”

11. Send Guests Home Happy

Conjure contentedness with Poupel’s suggestions of French perfumes or macaroons in trés-chic take-home bags.  

24 Paris-Themed Parties We Adore

Paris-Themed Bridal Showers

photographer: True Grace Photography

1. Coco Chanel & Paris-Themed Bridal Shower

North Barringon, Illinois

photographer: True Grace Photograhy | event planner: Christina Currie Events Inc. | floral/decor: Anthony Gowder Designs | venue: Wynstone Golf Club | AV/technology: Frost Productions, Boston | linen/chargers: BBJ Linen | stationery: Charmant Invitations | entertainment: BeatMix Music | party favors: ECBG Cake Studio | illustrator: Rosemary Fanti

 

photo courtesy of Instincts Design Studio, Ltd

2. Spring Parisian Bridal Shower

Oak Brook, IL

flowers & décor: Instincts Design Studio, Ltd | venue: The Drake Oak Brook | vintage china: Something Borrowed Vintage China Rentals

Paris-Themed Baby Showers

photographer: Riddle Road Photography

3. Perfectly Pink Parisian Baby Shower

Chicago, IL

photographer: Riddle Road Photography | event designer, floral & paper goods: A Perfect Event | venue: DL Loft | bakery: Toni Patisserie

 

photo courtesy of Honey Bee Weddings and Events

4. An American Baby in Paris (in America)

Chicago, IL

event planner: Honey Bee Weddings and Events | venue: Little Beans Cafe, Chicago | caterer: La Creperie | stationery: Courtney Callahan | cake: Urban Icing Cakes

Paris-Themed First Birthday Parties

photographer: Kristen Dee Photography

5. Picnicking in Paris

Dallas, TX

photographer: Kristen Dee Photography | event planner: Sarabeth Events | crepe catering: Tastefully Yours Catering | entertainment: Encore Productions

photographer: Jac & Jules

6. Poodles & Paris First Birthday Party

New York, NY

photographer: Jac & Jules | event planner: The Party Muse | florals: Floral Designs by Sofie | cake baker: Lulu’s Cake Boutique | calligrapher: Minted Feather | dessert caterer: Chocolati Bar | kids chair rentals: Petite Seats

photographer: Anny Photography

7. French-Themed First Birthday Soirée

Washington, D.C.

photography: Anny Photography | event planner & design: CG & Co Events | florals: Edge Floral Event Designers | caterer: Design Cuisine | cake & cookie favor: Buttercream Bakeshop | bar & backdrop: event revolution | balloons: All About Balloons | mimosa cart: OMG Paper Flowers

 

And One 3rd Birthday For Good Measure…

photographer: Nicole Jansma

8. Third Birthday Tea Party

Chicago, IL

photographer: Nicole Jansma | event planner: Bliss Parties | floral & decor: Splendor Of Eden | balloons: Paris312

Paris-Themed Birthday Parties for Milestone Celebrations

photographer: Sean T. Smith

9. 1920’s Parisian Birthday Bash

New York, NY

photography: Sean T. Smith | event planning & design: Kate Edmonds Events | band: Élan Artists | rentals: Party Rental Ltd.

 

photographer: Pamela Einarsen Photography

10. French Country Chic Sweet Sixteen

Fairfield, CT

photographer: Pamela Einarsen Photography | floral & event design: Ruth Ridgeway Designs | entertainment: Aldo Ryan Entertainment | catering: Marcia Selden Catering & Events

 

photographer: Braedon Photography

11. Vintage French 60th Birthday Bash

Los Angeles, California

photographer: Braedon Photography | event planner: Kristin Banta Events | venue: Perch

Paris-Themed Bar & Bat Mitzvah Celebrations

photographer: Paige Brown

12. Feminine Paris-Themed Bat Mitzvah

Boston, MA

photographer: Paige Brown | planner & event designer: Stephanie Stark Kent Events | floral design: Marc Hall Design | venue: Granite Links Golf Club | rental services: PEAK Event Services | balloon decor designer: J Barry Designs | dj: Siagel Productions

photographer: Partigliani Photography

13. Pink & Black & All Things Parisian Bat Mitzvah

Miami Beach, FL

photographer: Partigliani Photography | event planner: Life of the Party Events | florals: Gilded Group Décor | décor: Event Effects | venue: Emanuel Luxury Venue

photographer: Nadine Froger Photography

14. Un Soirée Á Paris Bar Mitzvah Party

Los Angeles, CA

photographer: Nadine Froger Photography | event producer: Warner Bros. Special Events | venue: Warner Bros. Special Events | production designer: Jakub Durkoth

Paris-Themed Weddings

photographer: Bauman Photographers

15. Cirque De Paris Wedding

San Diego, CA

photographer: Bauman Photographers | design: Brilliant Event Design | florals: Flowerchild | venue: Luce Loft | rentals: Lauren Sharon Vintage Rentals & Design | market lighting: LG Productions LLC  | marquee: My Marquee SD | iron gate stand: The Allstar Group | cakes & desserts: Sweet Lydia’s

photographer: Jeremy Lawson Photography

16. Shades of Blue & Paris Too

Chicago, IL

photography: Jeremy Lawson Photography | wedding planner: LK Events | event design + floral: Kehoe Designs | venue: Chez | catering: Entertaining Company | Cake: Elysia Root Cakes | entertainment: Bluewater Kings Band

photographer: One July Photography

17. French Valentine Wedding

Cincinnati, OH

photographer: One July Photography | event planner: The Gifford Collective | florals: Two Little Buds | venue: The French House | linens: BBJ Linen | paper goods: Jen Kruskamp Calligraphy | candle holders: Queen City Vignette | cake: Haven Cincinnati | rentals: Cincinnati Event Rentals

photographer: Fig Media- Photography

18. Paris on the Pier Nuptials

photographer: MILLER + MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY

19. Black Tie & Parisian Glamour Wedding

Chicago, IL

photographer: MILLER + MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY | event planner: Oliveaire with Ashley Carpenter | floral: Natural Beauties Floral | ceremony venue: Holy Name Cathedral | reception venue: Waldorf Astoria Chicago Hotelcake & party favors: Alliance Bakerydj: The DJ Firm | lighting: Luxe Productions | transportation: Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. | ice decor: Nadeau’s Ice Sculpture | cocktail hour entertainment: Three String Trio

Paris-Themed Corporate Events

photographer: Spoon Photo and Design

photographer: Brandi Gard

21. L’Oréal Paris’ Galentine’s Day

New York, NY

photographer: Brandi Gard | event production: AGENC | venue: West Edge | caterer: Creative Edge Parties

photographer: Nelson Lee

22. Lancôme Paris in Napa

Napa, CA

photography: Nelson Lee | event planner, designer & floral: Patrick J Clayton Productions | venue & caterer: Calistoga Ranch | rentals: Bright Event Rentals | rentals: Acme Scenery Company

Paris-Themed Gala

photo courtesy of Chicago Casino Suppliers

23. Casino La Royale

One Last Paris-Themed Party Idea

photographer: Jonathan Boncek

24. French Country-Inspired Holiday Celebration

Charleston, SC

photography: Jonathan Boncek | venue: Cannon Green