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
1. Coco Chanel & Paris-Themed Bridal Shower
Paris-Themed Baby Showers
Paris-Themed First Birthday Parties
7. French-Themed First Birthday Soirée
And One 3rd Birthday For Good Measure…
Paris-Themed Birthday Parties for Milestone Celebrations
Paris-Themed Bar & Bat Mitzvah Celebrations
12. Feminine Paris-Themed Bat Mitzvah
15. Cirque De Paris Wedding
17. French Valentine Wedding
19. Black Tie & Parisian Glamour Wedding