High Life

photo: arc de tromphe, 2 july

In Paris, in daytime, on Friday, 2. July.

From Dark To Dawn, Even in Summer

Paris:- Friday, 2. July 1999:- There is no rule that says you have to go back to the hotel, hostel or camping site after having dinner on a barge beside the Seine. After getting really mellow, maybe trying to remember the words to a song, you can idle along to a warm summer-night terrace, and settle the evening with a couple of after-dinner good shots.

But there is no rule that says you have to do this either. You can hop in the métro and ride out to the eastern wilds of Bagnolet - wild! Bagnolet! - to the popular and currently 'in'-tip, La Flèche d'Or, a onetime local train station, and catch some truly wild music not even your kids or grandkids have heard yet. You can get ripped up! Absolutely legally.

True that you can also get some tickets for the Moulin Rouge or the Lido from the Paris Tourist Office, and if you have been dreaming of this for a long time, you'd better do it. But if you are a 'Dolce Vita' type, you owe it to yourself to do something a little different. Below, the Seine's spots followed by the 'white nights;' and on the companion 'Good Clean Fun' page - condensed lists of some of Paris' summer attractions:

Bread by the Waters

Seine cafés that don't cruise are a summer way of taking the waters without risk of capsizing, but with the risk of movingphoto: au trou normand to Paris forever. None of the below are fish and chip joints - their 'additions' may make you think Paris is too pricey for residence. Once at least, as a visitor, very affordable.

Note: nearly all of the following serve lunch until 14:00 or 15:00, which means you shouldn't expect to get a seat for the entire afternoon. Midday is first-come, first-served, but evening dining may require reservations.

The names and where they are:- The exception to the siesta rule above is the Rendez-Vous des Quais, 10. Quai de la Seine, Paris 19, near La Villette. Métro: Jaurès or Stalingrad. Le Grand Bleu is in the Port de la Arsenal, and is also known locally as a fresh-air zone. Métro: Bastille, exit direction the Opéra Bastille, and cross back. Le Calife gives a rear-view of Notre-Dame - without scaffolding - and is about the level of 5. Quai Montebello, Paris 5. Métro: Maubert-Mutualité.

The Port de la Rapée has two cafés, La Barge and Le Ruban Bleu. Paris 12. Métro: Quai de la Gare, Bercy or Gare de Lyon. For lots of sun try the Six-Huit and La Balle au Rond, just beyond the Pont des Arts, beside the Louvre. Almost but not quite out of town, are La Plage Parisienne and Le Pavillon Panama, both in the Port de Javel, Paris 15. Métro: Javel, and head for the Pont de Grenelle along the quay.

Right out of town but still close by in Boulogne-Billancourt, is Le Cap Sequin, which should be between the métro exit at Pont de Saint-Cloud and Pont de Sèvres - with a bit of a walk along the Quai Alpfonse Le Gallo.

Les Pieds Dans l'Eau is on the Ile de la Grande Jatte - as are several other restaurants. The closest métro is the Pont de Neuilly and there is a little foot-bridge to the island from the Boulevard d'Argenson, from which you turn right. The bus 82 goes to the American Hospital, which is only a two blocks from the Pont de Courbevoie, which you cross to get to the Boulevard du Parc on the island.

Quai Ouest is opposite the Bois de Boulogne in Saint-Cloud; so it requires a car or taxi to get to 1200. Quai Marcel-Dassault. The tram from La Defence to Issy runs close by and the stop may be called Les Coteaux.

Le Pinocchio de Monte-Carlo is on the Bois side near the Longchamp racetrack, between the Pont de Saint-Cloud and the Pont de Suresnes. My map shows a footbridge crossing from Saint-Cloud called the Avre, so the tram line may be good here too. No pizza at this Italian restaurant.


Country Joints: - Guinguettes are informal, outdoor restaurants, usually with some form of music and some place to dance after lunch. Places to wear straw boaters and possibly, silk shirts. Here's two: La Guinguette de l'Ile du Martin-Pécheur, at 4. Quai Victor Hugo, Champigny- sur-Marne. Take RER 'A-2' to Champigny. Daily from noon to midnight, except Sundays. Info. Tel.: 01 49 83 03 02. L'Auberge Charmante, 20. Quai de la Rive Charmante, Noisy-le-Grand.Take RER 'A-4' to Noisy-le-Grand-Mont d'Est. Open daily except Mondays. Info. Tel.: 01 45 92 94 31. Phone both for precise directions. And don't forget Metropole's own finds on the Ile des Impressionists at Chatou. Go west on RER 'A' to Reuil-Malmaison or Croissy-Chatou.

Cocktails, Loud Music, Delirium

Not All Zincs are Pewter

'Out' is 'In' and 'In' is 'Out' very quickly in Paris. Popular places can be both at the same time - 'In-and-Out' or 'Out-and-In' - whilephoto: cafe richard lenoir doing cross-overs from one public to another. Places of no extreme character in particular are always 'Out-Out' and these can be handy too, as hideouts from too much heavy In-Outism.

Out-Out - Before the, as the artist who used to be known as Prince used to say, "Let's Go Crazy" - let me say that Paris is all things for everybody. For example, masses are held in the Notre-Dame cathedral many times a day and in the evenings too and anyone can be a participant or a spectator. I've never been to a mass but I plan to go someday. It is debateable whether or not Notre-Dame is of 'extreme character.' If you think it is, then it is not 'Out-Out.' 'In' or 'Out,' what follows is mainly open.

Los Cantinas Electricidados

How many bars are there in Paris? Only the city's license department knows for sure. How many bars are 'in' at the moment? Like grains of sand in the desert, they shift. Like grains of sand, there are more than two. Like grains of sand in the wrong place, 'in' and 'out' are irritating. Uncontested winner at the moment is La Flèche d'Or, 102 bis. Rue de Bagnolet, Paris 20. This is 'the' place where - everything! - is happening, right now! Atmosphere, acts, music, entertainment; La Flèche d'Or has it all. At least for the next 15 minutes.

Where?. While the Marais is still popular, Bastille is on a slide and, of course, the new 'in' area of Oberkampf is headed towards its predicted 'out' status - but it hasn't quite got there yet. Nova Magazine's silly 'Open This Summer' guide proposes all sorts of 'chic' places for visitors, but Nova would normally steer clear of these. At another end of the spectrum, the TV-guide Télérama has its own city guide, which has 'discovered' Oberkampf - so, no more than 15 minutes left there.

Centre: - Le Steps, 13. Rue Tiquetonne, Paris 1. Nova says, "80's parties on Thursday nights." Marais: - Le Petit Fer à Cheval, 30. Rue Vielle-du-Temple, Paris 4. Chez Richard, 37. Rue Vielle-du-Temple, Paris 4. In all guides so it must be nearly 'out.' Les Etages, 35. Rue Vielle-du-Temple, Paris 4. Nova says, "Intimate on the third floor if necessary." Bastille: - Le Sanz Sans, 49. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris 11. A place where I've been, by chance. I think it may be Nova's cantina. La Liberté, 196. Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, Paris 12. Nova says, "You want to check popular Paris style? This is the place. At night, they sing. At lunch, you meet people." Cool. Oberkampf: - the authentic Café Charbon, 109. Rue Oberkampf. La Favela Chic, 131. Rue Oberkampf. La Cithéa, 114. Rue Oberkampf. Le Gibus, 18. Rue Faubourg-du-Temple, all Paris 11. Latin Quarter: - You find the Rue des Canettes and in it you find Chez Georges at number 11, Paris 6. If you can't get in because it's full, look around a bit. The next open door is less than five metres away. Boondocks: - Télérama plugs L'Abadidon, 144. Rue de Bagnolet, in Paris 20; so if you come the way out you can test drive the nearby Flèche d'Or at 102 bis. Rue de Bagnolet - at the same time.

Some Nova Picks and Prose:

Nova says this about La Fourmi, "Retro-industrial decor and trip-hop deejays." 74. Rue des Martyrs, Paris 18. Nova's flights of fantasy in English are - mistakes? - accidents? Such as "Cool but no cheap" for the Viaduc Café, 43. Avenue Daumesnil, Paris 12. Right by the Louvre, but hardly Nova's part of town, there are the Café Marly, in the Louvre'sphoto: au peche mignon Cour Napoléon, Paris 1. Nova says, "Very snobbish hanghout near Le Louvre" - and Le Fumoir, 6. Rue Admiral de Coligny, Paris 1. Nova says, "Check your wallet. You can be part of the cool elite for twendy bucks minimum," while giving the wrong arrondissement number. 'Paris One' is correct.

Other Nova choices and comments: for the very 'in' restuarant, Le Spoon, 12. Rue Marignan, Paris 8. Closed 23. July to 23. August. Nova: "60 dollars, is too much for you?" Little Italy Café, 92. Rue Montorgueil, Paris 2. Nova: "Fashionable and cheaper than others." Pizzeria Positano, 15. Rue des Canettes, Paris 6. Nova: "The hippie place. The best pizza in Paris. Food is just like a true Napolitan trattoria." Swann et Vincent, 7. Rue Saint-Nicolas, Paris 12. Nova: "Another Italian fashion style with less visible stars." Depends on how much grappa you take.

Hot Music, White Nights

Nova's Jazz and Club Picks: - La Paillotte, 45. Rue Monsieur le Prince, Paris 6. "The best place to listen to jazz music." Le Batofar, in front of 11. Quai François-Mauriac, Paris 13. "Electro post-discotheque with dumping prices. 'Supple entry and fills up fast.'" Le Divan du Monde, 75. Rue des Martyrs, Paris 18. "World music's sono cradle and always creative. Special shows are a must." New Morning, 10. Rue des Petits-Ecuries, Paris 10. "See Divan du Monde." La Chapelle des Lombards, 19. Rue de Lappe, Paris 11. "More than 20 years old; still without wrinkles. For tropical music a reference. One comes to dance, drink and make laid-back pickups, from everywhere; the suburbs, the provinces, the Antilles." What's Up Bar, 15. Rue Daval, Paris 11. "DJ's bar with programming to match. Drinks pricey and poorly served. Getting in is the door prize." Possibly closed in August.

Latino: - Dancing: Les Etoiles, 61. Rue du Château-d'Eau, Paris 10. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday; open July and August; from 21:00 to dawn. La Java, 105. Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple, Paris 10. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday; open for July and August; from 23:00 to 05:00. La Coupole, 100. Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris 14. Every Tuesday throughout July and August; from 21:00 to 02:00.

World Music: - Nova says Paris is the centre of this music and Nova may be right. I'll check it out soon in person. There are three major influences: North Africa, the big part of Africa, and France's offshore territories, which include the Caribbean. Raï comes from North Africa and draws huge crowds in Paris and Algiers. Africans from the big part mix with brothers from the Caribbean, with refreshing if loud results. Coming soon: Africa Folk You with Dioghai Sakho, Moriba Koïta, Djeli Moussa Condé, Sophoto: chez paul Kalmery, Mangala Kemang Kanoute; at La Flèche d'Or, 102 bis. Rue de Bagnolet, Paris 20. From 21:00 to dawn, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 16, 17 and 18 July. Info. Tel.: 01 43 72 42 44.

Samba in Pigalle: - at the Shéhérazade, 3. Rue de Liège, Paris 9. Every Friday throughout July and August; from 23:00 until dawn. Also at the Divan du Monde, 75. Rue des Martyrs, Paris 18. Every Saturday during July and August; from midnight to dawn. 'To dawn' means you should sunglasses in case it is a bit bright in the morning.

Slightly Unwired: - the Opus Café, 167. Quai de Valmy, Paris 10. Every Saturday in July and August; from 23:00 to dawn.

With Boris Vian

Jazz came to Paris after the First World War and after the Second World War there were a lot of jazz fans waiting for the second wave. While they waited, Parisian fans improvised. One of them was Boris Vian. In addition to the festivals at La Villette and at the Parc Floral, the following clubs have - mini-festivals, at least to the beginning of August.

Paris Jazz: - the Petit Opportun, 15. Rue des Lavanderies- Saint-Opportune, Paris 1. New Morning, 7-9. Rue des Petites-Ecuries, Paris 10. The Sunset, 60. Rue des Lombards, Paris 1. Duc des Lombards, 45. Rue des Lombards, Paris 1.

This Summer's Bigger Festivals: - La Villete Jazz Festival, at La Villete and the Cité de la Musique. Paris Jazz Festival, Parc Floral de Paris, métro: Château de Vincennes. For these two, check 'Scene' for dates. Hôtel d'Albret, 31. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 4: Caratini Jazz Ensemble, 21 July; Brad Mehldau, 26. July; and Daniel Humair, on Monday, 2. August. The Sunset, 60. Rue des Lombards, Paris 1: Mark Turner, 23 and 24. July; Greg Osby, 27 and 28. July; George Cables and crew, 30 and Saturday, 31. July.

All photos©Erickson
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