Paris revellers to elect first ‘Nightlife Mayor’

Paris night-owls sick of early closing times, pricey pints, and a lacklustre atmosphere can finally do something about it as the capital holds its first (unofficial) election for Mayor of Nightlife on Saturday, with similar ballots in Toulouse and Nantes.

Paris revellers to elect first 'Nightlife Mayor'
Voters will have the choice of six candidates for "Maire de la nuit" or Night Mayor. Photo: waitscm

A total of 45 pubs across the French capital will swap bottles for ballots this Saturday night in order to elect the first “Maire de la nuit" or Mayor of Nightlife.

The election is unaffiliated to Paris city authorities, which means anyone who wants to can vote, French culture website Les Inrocks reported.

Voters will have the choice of six candidates, all of whom have unique and varying connections to the capital’s nocturnal world, including a home caterer, a Radio France producer and a former punk rock band member.

The six were whittled down from a list of 13 candidates in a first round of votes that took place on Facebook.

None of them appear to have any political party connections but rather stand to represent the party-goers of Paris.

Although the position offers no specific administrative power, candidate Damien Lorenzi, who sees himself as the “clubber’s Ambassador”, promises nicer bouncers to nighttime revellers, while Clément Leon R pledges an all-night metro for Paris night owls, according to the website.

Other issues high on the agenda for the six nominees are later opening times, cheaper drinks and increased availability of taxis.

Eric Labbé, one of the organizers and a spokesperson for the independent collective of nightlife professionals behind the election, is a long-time-habitué of the Paris nightlife scene and runs public relations for the renowned Showcase and Zigzag clubs.

"I want them [the public] to have a say in the price of drinks, security, music and transport," he told Les Inrocks. "There are many instances where they may have different ideas to those of professionals."

The campaign for a better night scene began in 2009 when a wave of complaints led to the closing down of a number of bars and clubs.

In response to the complaints, Labbé co-wrote a petition titled: “When the night dies in silence” which got over 16,000 signatures.

Unfortunately, progress was fairly minimal and Labbé was left disappointed.

Today, Labbé is more optimistic, telling Le Point: “Paris nightlife is doing better, mostly thanks to a revived interest in electro music amongst the Paris youth.”

The initiative was in fact born in Amsterdam when the first Night Mayor or "Nachtburgemeester" elected in 2003.

This isn’t the first time that the idea of a Maire de la nuit has been mooted in the French capital. In August mayoral candidate Anne Hidalgo included it when outlining her 150 ideas for the city of Paris.

The cities of Toulouse and Nantes have also followed suit and are set to hold their own elections for a Maire de la nuit.

Any Paris revellers out this weekend should check the Facebook page for their nearest voting station-bar so they can cast their vote for Paris’ new Night Mayor. 

Those in Toulouse, should consult this Facebook page, and Nantes night-owls check out this one.

By Naomi Firsht.

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