Paris by Morning
It’s 9 a.m. Saturday morning. We’ve decided to cut the ‘evening’ short which began about 2 a.m. “Paris by Night” is really an anachronism to clubbers who are oblivious to the planet’s rotation.
It’s below freezing level outdoors but you wouldn’t know it by the heat generated from the mass of gyrating bodies that weave their way from the dance floor to the bar to mixed-sex toilets and back again to the dance floor.
Our flat neighbor Govind has kindly agreed to take Chris and me out for a taste of the Paris club scene, starting with a private party at Maxim’s. (We are recovering from two weeks in Mali, Senegal, and the Gambia – so we’re beginning this excursion in our drug-induced state, that is, antibiotics and antiparasitics – which should mix nicely with any alcoholic consumption).
Clubbing was not an intended part ofour rest and recovery stay-over in Paris, but if you recall (BNALL Paris Guide article “All Dressed Up and No Place to Glow”, for several years now, I’ve been on the hunt for the ideal “night spot”. If anyone can show us the way, it has to be Govind. He automatically dismisses two or three clubs within spitting distance of our Montparnasse starting point. His criteria are good music and a sophisticated crowd.
We head for the Right Bank in a NIssan borrowed for the night “owned by my better half,” he explains. “I’ve had it with owning a car in Paris. It just gets all scratched up, ” he adds. (You do need wheels for this kind of an excursion. Taxi cabs are expensive and they aren’t plentiful. (Paris, when are you going to keep the metros running 24/24 for those that never sleep?)
Overcoats are best left in the car (the check-in line for coats can be long). As we settle ourselves into a table in the plush Art Nouveau decorated interior of Maxim’s, we can, for a few hours, discreetly glance at Paris’s ‘golden children’, the bon-chic-bon-genre, and young aristocrats at play. Definitely a well-groomed lot with not a bare chest in sight (male or female).
But it all goes downhill from here. So Govind assures us. And maybe that’s a good thing.
The decibel level is conversation-friendly. the music progresses from retro to techno. the crowd ranges (on average) from early twenties to mid-forties. the women exude an aura of good health that comes only with frequent weekends in the country. A surprising number of early balding men with dark-framed glasses -ahh, the downside of those recessive genes popping up.
Well, how does one get invited to an aristocrat’s private party? Through the internet of course, that is, if you have the good fortune to be on the right list. The real reason we’re here isn’t to ‘see or be seen’ (we’re just passing through) but Govind has perfectly orchestrated this evening – and Maxim’s is his way that we start the evening off nice and easy. Someplace tame and unintimidating for two uniniated clubbers.
For Chris and me, Maxim’s is a nostalgia trip considering that the way back in pre-millenium 1987, we sat at the very next table for a dinner date. Our first foray together in Paris.
This is DEFINITELY are a plush jump-off point with one funny side-note.
The ladies’ room toilet (no mixed facilities in this fine establishment) has a little window (wood, not glass) that can be opened and overlooks the main dance floor. Hmm, just so you don’t miss out on anything.
“Let’s try some place a little naughty,” G. suggests as we zip over the the Champs, headed for Le Queen.
Friday nights tend to be a mixed crowd while Saturdays are more gay, G. stipulates, but there are no hard and fast rules. As the crowd ebbs and flows so does the blend of male, female, homo, hetero, older, younger, clean-cut, predatory. At Queen, the lines begin to blurr.
(More to follow on Paris by Morning
in my next post! Ciao for now.)