Paris well deserves its moniker as a city of romance — so why not celebrate it on Valentine’s Day with a nod to its chic and comfy cocktail lounges? Start your romantic evening with a sip of champagne or taste a very dry martini before going on to one of the city’s treasured restaurants…or you may choose to linger, as I was compelled to do. Either way, it will be a memorable February 14th. I have enjoyed the many merits of each of the following cocktail destinations and have dashed off quick notes to accompany the pictures below. Wishing I were going to be back in Paris on the 14th…
George V – Le Bar
A “rendezvous incontournable” as the French love to say about this luscious spot. Much thought has been given to the decor, which always draws one back. No detail overlooked, and one I particularly love…separate little spots to “nest” with your friends.
The George V’s second Bar: La Galerie: Scrumptious says it all for this larger lounge that truly serves as the heart and soul of this grand hotel, defined by Flemish tapestries, objets d’art and19th-century paintings and furniture. Great people watching, plus a pianist! And in summer, La Galerie serves lunch, cocktails and dinner in their garden courtyard.
Le Bar du Bristol
You can just move right in for your whole stay! I love the subtle, so comfortable mix of classicism and modernity…with a fireplace, of course. Who would want to leave, especially with a head barman who excels at custom-made cocktails with a flawless execution?
Le Meurice – Le Bar 228
“Named after the hotel’s address on rue de Rivoli, this space is sophistication personified…deep leather armchairs with a backdrop of dark wood panelling and frescoes will lure me in every time! But the real showstopper is the Ara Starcke (daughter of Designer Philippe Starcke, who re-imagined many rooms in Le Meurice) ceiling-hung painted canvas in the adjoining grand room which can be seen through Le Bar’s French doors.
Ritz Bar: Smallish, with an Art Deco bistro feel. I love the fact that you can start here with an early breakfast and stay on ’til your last nightcap at 2am. Very Parisian and relaxed. Across from Hemingway Bar which, unfortunately, was too crowded to even squeeze into.
Bar Vendôme: Just a few steps from the hotel’s entrance, the warm and dressy bar opens into the centerpiece of the Ritz…a delicious take on an open air orangerie with its spectacular glass canopy and sliding roof that transforms this space from winter garden to sunlit patio whenever the weather permits.
Prince de Gaulles – Bar Les Heures
As they like to say, “the bar offers its guests timeless elegance at any hour.” When I stopped by late Sunday morn, a beautiful and more than extensive buffet was on display. Quite a setting under the extraordinary chandelier and coloured frescoes. Just off this fairly grand space that used to be the bar’s entry hall, an interior garden beckoned with an impressive canvas “umbrella” that stretched across the entire courtyard. Paris has an elegant way of accommodating entertaining given any time of the year.