Friday, May 8, 2009
Paris bars - for the young, and young at heart
Summer must be just around the corner. Do you know how I can tell? Because suddenly I am receiving emails from left, right and centre from friends, acquaintances and people who once sat on a bus next to someone who might have known me, asking for travel tips for their upcoming visit to Paris.
Where's a good place to stay? Any tips for restaurants? How can I get off the well-trodden tourist trail and experience the real Paris?
One email from a friend this week was on behalf of her sixteen year old niece, who will be travelling to Paris in a month's time. She wanted to know the coolest bars and nightclubs in Paris - the places where the cool kids hang.
Now it must be said that given that I am hurtling towards 40 (which I am reliably informed is the new 30), and given that I recently became a daddy and hence my days of staying out until sunrise have been seriously curtailed, I still have a VAGUE idea of what the kids get up to around here.
So I threw together a list for my friend's niece, and figured I would share it with you all.
Now, in the interests of keeping this blog family friendly, I will say that sixteen is kind of young to be going to bars. And in the interests of 'keeping it real' and appearing to be 'down with the kids', I will add that of course we were ALL sneaking off to bars at the age of 16, trying out our fake IDs. Ah, those were the days...
And so, movers and groovers, allow me to present my guide to Paris's grooviest bars and clubs. For the young, and young at heart, amongst you ...
'Experimental Cocktail Club' -- Rue St Saveur, 2nd arr. Groovy cocktail bar with DJ. Small
but but perfectly formed, and always packed with cool kids.
Cafe Etienne Marcel - crnr Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Montmartre in the 2nd
- dead groovy bar where the beautiful young Parisians have their apero (aperitif).
La Perle - crner Rue du Vieille du Temple & Rue de la Perle - in the 3rd. Frequented nightly by a so-hip-it-hurts fashion crowd - lots of young kids with assymetrical hair-dos. You can imagine I blend in, chameleon-like.... La Perle is very down at heel and casual - but in a fiercely fashionable way. On weekends, there's barely elbow room.
Chez Jeannette - crnr Rue Elzivir and Rue Faubourg St Denis in the 10th -
the natural successor to La Perle. As La Perle starts to become yesterday's bar du jour, Chez Jeanette is emerging as the next drinking destination du choix among the Parisian kids. It's a groovier than thou old skool Paris bar
that has mysteriously become the most fashionably drinking hole in Paris for
the 18-25 trendsetter set. The neighbourhood is borderline grotty, and hardly the most salubrious spot after dark - but the drinks are cheap, the fashion is hot and the crowd is ineffably cool. Of course, I always feel like someone's father whenever I go there ... hang on, I am someone's father...
It must be said at this point that the last time I went to a club Depeche Mode were on high rotation (well, not really, but you get my drift ...). That said, I have it on reliable authority that the following clubs are the perfect spots to techno, emo or rock the night away (see that seamless, effortless use of the kiddie lingo?)
"Showcase" - under the bridge at Pont Alexandre III on the Seine (near
Invalides/Grand Palais) - top DJs, great location, open late.
'Social Club' - rue Montmartre, 2nd - THE club for the young 'uns -- techno heaven, emos and goths
and fashion plates all come together in an orgy of post-pubescent hormones.
'Alimentation Generale', rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, near Ave Parmentier, 11th - noisy, rowdy, heaving bar, often with live bands - always packed.
Am I in touch with the kids or what?