posted on November 15, 2009 18:00
In hope rather than expectation, thousands of Irish people are coming to France this week. We need not dwell on it except to say that your correspondent feels strangely optimistic and calm.
Anyway, if you'll be in Paris this week, welcome! Whatever the result, hopefully you'll have a good time here. To this end we've decided to give you a quick guide to going out Seine-side.
(A preliminary word: a pint of stout or lager will cost you around €7.00. Most French people don't drink pints, so tourists get caught out. A bottle of wine is cheaper than in Ireland and much better value. But if you must have beer, most supermarkets and small shops sell it cheaply.)
If you're here on Tuesday night then you can catch Imelda May playing at a small venue near the Bastille called Le Reservoir. Given that these days she's playing large Irish venues for large Irish ticket prices, seeing her in an atmospheric Paris club for only €15 would be a bit of a coup. (Imagine her surprise at going onstage in chic Paree to be greeted by a gang of Sligo Rovers lads on tour.) Gig-wise it's quiet in Paris this week - though next Tuesday there's a fantastic line-up at the Nouveau Casino: The Antlers and Cymbals Eat Guitars and Liquid Architecture, all for €15. Paris is great.
Apart from concerts, where are good places to head out in Paris? Well, rather than any bar in particular we recommend you pick an area and do a bit of a tour. Have you got a metro map to hand? Right:
Towards the east, between the stations Parmentier and Menilmontant, you've got an area known to us Paris-residents as Oberkampf. In fact, it's two parallel streets - rue Oberkampf and rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. No tourists here - Oberkampf is where Parisian indie kids go out. (It's the spiritual home of the Takeaway Shows; many of the early ones were filmed in that area.) You'll find a choice of action-packed little bars with live rock, samba, jazz, folk, electronica and loads more.
For a bit of Montmartre, change at Gare du Nord and take the line 2 west to Pigalle. Shielding your eyes from the sleaze, turn right just before the Moulin Rouge and head up rue Lepic. (On the left you'll pass Les Deux Moulins, the bar from 'Amélie'. They serve Guinness there!) At the top of the hill is Abbesses, the part of Montmartre where Parisians go out. You'll find plenty of lively restaurants and bars around there.
Similarly, across the city, behind the Panthéon and the Irish college, there's rue Mouffetard with an enjoyable night-time ambience to its eating and drinking. The restaurant with the model cow outside it (we never remember its name, but you'll find it) makes warm and filling specialities from the Alpine region, all at affordable prices.
if you want a really wild night of mixing spirits and dancing on tables, head to Bastille and especially rue de Lappe. You'll feel like you never left Temple Bar. (There's a plastic Irish pub there called The Hideout. We like a little bar at the quiet end of the street called le Bar à Nenette - Cork people, they serve Murphy's there!)
The Latin Quarter, around Saint Michel, is really a tourist trap full of kebab restaurants. But jazz fans may like to visit the Caveau de la Huchette, a legendary and long-standing venue and club, and you're right near Notre Dame and the famous Shakespeare and Co. bookshop. On the other side of Saint Michel, on rue Saint André des Arts, there's an Irish bar called Corcoran's that stays open until 5 a.m.
That's enough for one trip. If you're in the Stade de France or around town, feel free to drop us a line via Twitter: http://twitter.com/french_letter. If you're unlucky enough to have any serious problems, best give the Irish Embassy a shout at + 33 1 44 17 67 00.
Allez les verts!More ...