Le Nouvel Observateur top picks


As you may remember, I still haven’t seen any of Paris’s nightlife fauna (All Dressed up and No Place to Glow, BnA Travel Guides), but prospects are looking good. Except for the fact that I’m not physically, at the moment, IN PARIS. However, time and place is irrelevant. What I do have is – A GOOD LEAD. That is our dashing upstairs neighbor. (I don’t know why he’s not a movie star – he should be). Govind knows the Paris club scene and has promised to take Chris and I on an all night expedition – in the Spring.

Meanwhile, the Nouvel Observateur came out with a listing of the top 400 ‘plus branches’ spots in Paris. Or the coolest places to see and be seen. Branche means literally ‘plugged in’. The trouble with being ‘plugged in’ in Paris also means that you usually need a bundle of Euros in your pocket before you can get ‘plugged in’. You also have to pass the dress code at the front door. That’s okay, if I want humiliation, I don’t have to do that – all I have to do is go to the SNCF train station. (They have asked me TWICE now if I would like to renew my senior citizen card – Chris IS a seventy-five year old senior. I am NOT. In fact, I’ve not even turned fifty. Have I been living that hard?

God help me trying to pass the ‘door dress code’ at a Paris club. Unfortunately my 1976 sheepskin coat which had been gathering dust in the basement for too many years finally was sacrificed in massive spring cleaning – just BEFORE sheepskin coats came back in style. That’s okay, I think the eighties styles are starting to make a comeback. So, I’m good for Spring.

Getting back to going to cool spots in Paris:

If you’ve been reading BootsnAll Travel Guides, you already know about one of the ‘plugged in’ cafes, Cafe d’Enfer on Rue Daguerre. Several seasons ago, I recommended this place for its laid back ambiance and their scrumptious chocolate cake – ‘le fondant’. Cafe d’Enfer has another thing going for it – it’s relatively affordable compared to the rest of Nouvel Obs – ‘top 400 cool spots’.

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Another place that is REALLY CHEAP is the Centre Pompidou Library which is FREE. Even better is the FREE internet access (but only for research, not e-mail). I also learned, from Le Nouvel Observateur, that it’s the cool place to get picked up or pick someone up.

So, THAT’s why that guy scooped up a sheet of paper I had dropped on the floor in front of the coffee vending machines and that’s why he made such a big deal running down the corridor after me. And I was thinking he must work for the SNCF.

Seriously, though, if you’re in Paris, and you haven’t checked out the Centre Pompidou library, it’s the greatest place. It has its own separate entrance from the rest of the building. You can find tons of books (in English as well as French) on furniture design, art, etc., language tapes, etc. Spend an afternoon there.

Then, if you’re feeling like a complete spendthrift, go to another ‘cool spot’ Le Georges which is located on the Centre Pompidou roof. Le Georges is the Costes brothers latest offshoot. When you hear Costes, just think, overpriced. But really, Le Georges on a sunny afternoon is, well, let’s face it, ‘simply divine’. It IS an incredibly cool place to hang out – if you’re wearing the right shades and if you don’t mind spending the price of a meal for a cup of tea. The compensation for this outrageous charge is the one perfect single rose placed at each table. Don’t forget to check out the bathrooms. I really liked Le Georges, but one visit in a lifetime is probably enough.