Last night I went to La Gaîté Lyrique, a newly opened concert venue/museum in the 3rd arrondissement (3 bis Rue Papin). I checked in on Foursquare as soon as I got there (because I have a problem) and read the tips, which translate to, “beware of hipsters.” Duh. I’m here and as a former colleague unfortunately informed me, as a young(ish) music fan who looks for the cool new places and ironically uses the word bro, I’m a hipster. Fine.
La Gaîté Lyrique is seriously much cooler than me. This week they celebrated the week Infiné, which included the concert last night featuring Aufgang, Agoria, Terry Francis – Fabric Resident. Word to the wise: the first act went on at 10pm, the second at midnight and the third at 2:30am. It stays open until 4am and draws the likes of Christophe, a Parisian style Iggy Pop we decided. Come here to party.
The concert hall is completely modernized with top notch acoustics. The bar next door is a more traditional style Parisian salon with massive vertical windows and ornate crown molding. The modern decor includes modular lights that also serve as seating. The building dates back to 1862. Besides hosting such notable notes as yours truly and Christophe, Victor Hugo had is 70th birthday here. It almost fell about in the 1980s and has been mostly dormant until this year, when it reopened as a museum dedicated to electronic arts and music.
Experimental Cocktail Club fits right in on the narrow and dimly lit Rue Saint-Saveur, a classic Parisian street barely wide enough for one-way traffic. Just off Rue Reamur in the trendy 2nd arrondissement, this location provides the ideal setting for this quietly dangerous cocktail bar.
Sample from a menu of tempting house specialties like the Experience 1. This drink combines Wyborowa Exquisite vodka, lemon juice, basil, lemongrass and Edlerflower Cordial. These are the type of drinks you really feel after just one or two and really feel great after four or five.
The décor is romantic in the way only Paris can be with authentic exposed-brick walls, antique mirrored tables. A fresh breath of modernity from the acrylic chandeliers casts a glow on the crowd of traders from the nearby Bourse, retro girls indulging in the speakeasy culture and what one assumes to be digital entrepreneurs the likes of Mark Zuckerburg given their low-key hoodies and designer jeans.
Experimental Cocktail Club is located on 37 Rue Saint Saveur. Best to get there on the earlier side as the place only seats 40 and has a loyal following.
This Valentine’s day, seduce your special someone in true French fashion with a visit to the former residence of Serge Gainsbourg at 5 Bis Rue de Verneuil in the seventh arrondissement.
Gainsbourg is a national treasure known just as much for his sultry singing and prolific songwriting as he is for his famous love affair with Brigitte Bardot and marriage to Jane Birkin. His former home is a living tribute to both sides of his reputation, covered in street art, quotations from his music and personal messages of love.
Gainsbourg grew up an ugly duckling with the nickname Cabbage Head. Just the same, he landed ladies like Jane and Brigitte so you know he was doing something right.
He entered the music industry and quickly gained notoriety for his poetic style, experimental records and for releasing a song (Je T’aime ”¦ Moi Non Plus) that featured the sounds of Jane Birkin having an orgasm. The Catholic Church condemned it; the radio banned it; but the youth of the sexual revolution embraced it and catapulted him to international stardom.
Gainsbourg’s eccentric, artistic and amorous style is synonymous with French sexuality. Think Olivier Martinez, Carla Bruni and I’m including Johnny Depp here because he lives in Paris and fits the profile.
Visitors to the Gainsbourg home are mostly local Parisians and usually only a few at a time. That won’t be the case this Satuday, February 19 as the fan group Gainsbourg.net organizes a FlashMob there to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gainsbourg’s death. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They say they would love to have some Americans join them. Leave a comment if you’re interested. I certainly am.