Halloween has come and gone to Paris in more ways than one. The gatekeeper at Castel’s assured me that, “No one EVER wears comes here dressed in costumes” (Halloween or no Halloween). I concurred that certainly, that made his job much easier – can you imagine trying to discern a Leonardo de Caprio if he were to arrive as the Great Pumpkin?
Judging by the dearth of costumes around St. Germain-des-Pres on Hallowed Eve, the only living creature that seemed to be celebrating the night of ghosts and goblins was a black cat that literally did cross my path.
That’s not to say that everyone wasn’t out on the streets and jammed into every bar with available breathing space. We started off at the Moose Sports Bar and Grill at 16, Rue des Quai des Vents, 6eme. Metro: Odeon.
In spite of their advertisement in the free English advertiser, FUSAC, at 9 pm, the Heaven & Hell Halloween Party attracted few revelers in costume. (BTW ‘costume’ in French would mean ‘formal attire’ as opposed to ‘dequise’ for the English version of costume).
We had arrived too late to find a table so we worked our way back toward St. Germain-des-Pres and Cafe Mabillon where were able to squeeze our way into a table for glasses of Moet & Chandon, rather than Guinness.
Whether you’re a beer fan or champagne junkie (that would be me), you’re sure to find a favorite spot to hang out in the St. Germain-des-Pres/Odeon neighborhood. I was greatly impressed by our reception at the Cafe Mabillon – and therefore would most DEFINITELY RECOMMEND this as a place to while away Paris nights, watching the passing parade.
Likewise the staff at MOOSE were ADORABLE. The bar crowd was jovial and the languages were French and English.
So here’s the story on the demise of Halloween. Several years ago, it looked like Halloween was going to cross over the Atlantic and find a permanent place in the halls of French holiday-making, but no, it never really took. November 1st, All Saints Day and November 2nd All Souls’ Day is a time to honor one’s dearly departed.
Halloween frolicking, the very night before a day of thought and reflection does not sit well with a large portion of the population. And with good reason. Many of those out in the streets on the eve of All Saints Day have perhaps not lived long enough to think about the meaning of life and to reflect on life in the hereafter.
A few of us choose to face black cats in our path with bravado (even though we may tremble on the inside). I will reserve my day to visit loved ones in the cemetery when all the November 1st flowers have faded. When the sky is metal grey and the spirits can speak with no regrets for an autumn sun.
16, Rue des Quatres Vents 6eme
164, boulevard St-Germain
Paris 75006 France
Tel. 01 43 26 62 93
(Reviews of the Cafe Mabillon on Yahoo vary greatly. Although some reviewers complained that they were rushed, this was definitely not our case. If anything, the waiters went out of their way to try to find a place for us at tables that were already brimming.
My advice to bar hoppers, the way you choose to dress in this city really does make a difference. If you underdress for a night in Paris, don’t expect waiters to treat you well. Yeah, this city is unfortunately (or fortunately depending about your perspective) about image.)