Untapped Paris is excited to announce a new partnership with Girls Guide to Paris, an online city-guide showcasing the best of Parisian shopping, food and style. This article, by Girls Guide to Paris founder, Doni Belau, takes you inside a new secret bar near Place Vendà´me.
As if it wasn’t enough that Delphine Alcover and Magali Marian of Bistro Volnay recently opened a new upscale bistro, Les Jalles to rave reviews they have also opened a very unique and secret bar upstairs dubbed L’Etage. You definitely need to know about it in order to boldly walk through the elegant bistro, past the attentive waitstaff and up the stairs to the Prohibition-style cocktail lounge, which is one of the newest and coolest retro bars in Paris. As you climb the stairs, it seems as though you enter a time different from your own. Paris of the 20’s or 30’s and far more romantic than 2012. Is Ernest Hemingway lurking around the corner?
The intimate bar is cozy; emptiness is never a problem, yet the space is large enough that you are not a part of your neighbor’s conversation. Dimly lit, it’s adorned with low-to-the-ground lounge chairs covered in plush velvet. After taking a seat, the professional mixologists will swiftly bring you a unique cocktail, or even a small bite to eat if you just happened to miss dinner. While the drinks are on the pricier side–16 euros for a cocktail–they are inventive and well thought out, something that is still a struggle to find in Paris. Simon, the bar manager has poured in locales outside of France, so he knows a thing or two about a proper cocktail. While each of these aspects makes for a fabulous night out, what sets the bar of Les Jalles apart is not just its crisp beverages or smoky atmosphere; but rather it’s the entertainment. When we were there the cabaret singer Caroline Nin was performing old-fashioned French chanson, some Marlena Deitrich ballads and a little Cole Porter thrown in for good measure. This tender style of cabaret crooning is making a comeback, and Ms. Caroline Nin definitely has the voice to jump-start the genre back into popularity. Or perhaps every generation must discover these songs for themselves.
As we sat in the velvety, sexy surroundings we nearly forgot it was a Monday night. A very chicly dressed woman exuding glamour glided into the bar, it turns out to be the editor of Australian Vogue. We also noticed Caroline Nin’s spectacular corset. It was a piece that would have worn most other women, but instead she wore it with elegance. Later in the evening, we learned that it was one of a kind, handmade by her seamstress out of curtain fabric. Trendy, talented and unique: some women just have it all. After a few moments of prep, she stood coolly next to the polished piano with its talented pianist from New York, introduced herself in a soft and sultry voice, then began to sing.
Even if you don’t know all the songs, Caroline’s voice can bring you back in time. Her voice is so delicate and soothing, never faltering for even a moment. She could belt those high notes and croon the soft ones. But what was so spectacular was how her performance so perfectly complemented the feel of the venue. We were back in the Paris of the 20’s, looking around for Bogie and Bacall. It made us all long for a time when we all had to really dress up for a night “out on the town”. The atmosphere in its entirety made you feel hopelessly in love, as if simply being in Paris didn’t already do just that.
Call ahead to see who’s performing on the night you plan to go. They are open 7 nights a week until 2am.
14 Rue des Capucines
01 42 61 66 71
This article was originally published on Girls Guide to Paris.