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Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris

Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris

by Stéphanie Rivoal and Jacques Garance

Dine in the home of a perfect stranger, enjoy your meal on an extraordinary, little known terrace looking Out on the Parc de Monceau, eat lunch at a restaurant that’s totally invisible from the street, have a drink at a bar next to a man taking a shower in a glass box, join a band of artistic squatters for an afternoon barbeque, visit a Royalist bar, catch up with a moveable feast, get unbeatable value for money at a hostelry school, and experience numerous other timeless venues and atmospheres…
Beyond the traditional Parisian restaurant, this guide highlights 150 wonderful and unusual bar and restaurant venues in the French capital.

Extracts From The Book
Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: In the name of the King Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: Keep it to yourselfSecret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: A Magnificent secret terraceSecret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: A rare and precious venue that must be savoured slowlySecret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: Usual suspects

In the name of the King

Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: In the name of the King From the outside, Les Templiers is one of the French capital’s countless PMU (licensed betting) cafes, without any character other than offering its regular customers somewhere to partake of their small glass of white wine at 9am in the morning. But once inside, it's a different story. Every square centimetre of wall surface is covered with statues, photos, portraits, paintings, and objects of all sorts whose common denominator is the fact that they sing the praises of the kings of France and their present-day descendants. Les Templiers is the only Royalist bar in Paris and proud of it. Jacques Serre, the current proprietor, simply kept the cafe's name, bequeathed by the previous owner. Hence the medieval order of the Templars now finds itself curiously associated with French royalty. An astounding allusion when one recalls that Louis XVI was held in the Temple prison before being beheaded...

On ordinary days, leaning on the bar in front of your beer, your attention will thus oscillate between
this strange little Royalist museum and the bettors who are far more excited about the results of their
horses in the races than by portraits of the Comtede Paris, the current heir to the French throne.
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Keep it to yourself

Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: Keep it to yourself If you ask residents in the neighbourhood what lies behind the black window on the corner of rue de Conde and rue Regnault, most of them will tell you that it's a hostess bar with an unsavoury clientele that's best avoided.

Don't believe a word of it. Ring the bell and enter one of the least-known but most pleasant bars in the French capital. Some even say it's the best bar in the world! Be that as it may, the fact is we've never met anyone who didn't like this drinking venue.

Opened in 1982, Le Bar hasn't changed its decor since its opening and that's all to the good. Soft lighting, Asiatic statuettes illuminated by tightly-focused designer spotlights, very cosy leather sofas...
Adding to the appeal, the cocktails are superb (starting at €9). Ideal for a romantic meeting or a last drink before better things.
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A Magnificent secret terrace

 Paris Secret Bars & Restaurants: A Magnificent secret terraceThis bridge club tucked away alongside the Monceau park is an exceptional and surprising venue. From the outside, there’s absolutely nothing to indicate the presence of a restaurant open to the general public within the walls of this distinguished establishment. The first glimpse of the inner courtyard is already a delight to the eye: the building is in the same style as the place des Vosges. Straight ahead of you, a small stairway leads up to the first floor and the entrance to the club. Upon entering, one finds the bar, behind a first gaming room where one can admire a handsome fireplace. To the right is the main room, and to the right again, another small room used principally by those wishing to dine.

The atmosphere is inimitables. Numerous bridge tables occupy an entirely smoke-filled room. The players curse or cheer one another on. It’s like being in a bridge version of the Colour of Money. When ordering a bite to eat in a nook of the dining room, you find yourself feeling the tension that floats in the charged air. The croque-monsieur still goes down nicely,
however, accompanied by an agreeable glass of Brouilly. Obviously, the clientele is neither
trendy nor very young.
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A rare and precious venue that must be savoured slowly

Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: A rare and precious venue that must be savoured slowly Mademoiselle Li's tea room is a rare and precious venue that must be savoured slowly, like the Chinese tea that is served there. First of all, pay the €2.50 fee at the main entrance to the Jardin d'Acclimatation, which you won't regret. Located in a former warehouse with a surface of 350 m2, the tea-room is decorated with antique Chinese furniture, traditional lanterns, wooden and lacquered panels, and obviously some tables and chairs. There are very few customers on this spring Saturday, the weather is fine, people are outdoors, and it's usually on Sundays that the tea-room is busiest. It's an ideal opportunity to become acquainted with Hippolyte Romain, artistic director of the Jardin d'Acclimation and founder, ten years ago, of this magical, timeless establishment.

About sixty years old, Hippolyte is quite a character. If you strike the right note and he takes a liking to you, he'll willingly abandon the painting he's working on to tell you a multitude of fascinating stories
about China, Venice, Rome, or his life in general. A
life that has been richly filled, after having spent
some time in the fashion scene. He frequently visits Beijing, where he owns an old house, and
Venice, which he adores.

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Usual suspects

Secret Bars & Restaurants In Paris: Usual Suspects A true monument of Parisian night-life, Pierre Carre is THE star of Pigalle. At the age of 70 or 80, nobody knows for sure, squeezed into his unreal red suit, with an oiled quiff like that of Lucien (the famous rocker character of French bande-dessinee) in his better days, he belts out the old songs from the heydays of Montmartre with a sly sense of humour that can never go out of fashion.

Don’t be put off by the banal appearance of the front entrance, it’s all happening in the back room under the timeless glints of the inevitable mirrorball. There’s a wonderfully mixed, shady crowd of the usual suspects, made up of regulars, elderly nostalgic fans, a few stray tourists, and residents of the neighbourhood. You frequently have strange encounters there that will bring a smile to your lips when you recall them in the following days...

Drinks are fairly expensive (beer €9 and spirits €12) but it’s worth it to have an unusual, off-beat time that combines naffness, simplicity, and good humour. If it’s too much, you can always go and have your
demi at the bar out front (€4).
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