Nightlife in Paris: Apéros
Ah, the French: masters of the apéro. Fact is, a good chunk of any Frenchie’s nightlife in Paris is spent elbow to elbow with a group of friends enjoying a nice glass of wine around a tiny table. Moreover, the full-blown apéro experience features some sort of antipasti or deli platter to share on the side. Whether you’re just enjoying an after-work swig, indulging in a lofty apéro dînatoire or planning to segue into a big night out, this selection of apéro spots will point you to the perfect place to start practicing the art of mastering this French skill.
Le Bar du Marché
75, rue de Seine, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 43 26 55 15.
Open daily, 8 a.m.–2 a.m.
Nestled in the heart of the elegant quartier Saint-Germain, this corner café keeps it classy without taking itself too seriously. Occupying the lively corner of the rue de Seine and the rue de Buci, the (somewhat cramped) terrace provides a lovely view of a busy, mini- market street during the day. At any given time, a small brigade of Super Mario look-alikes in suspenders and red T-shirts waits on the diva-esque clientele under a candy-cane awning—a truly amusing sight. The range of satisfactory wines starts at 5 euros a glass. In the summer, kick back with a refreshing glass of organic Brouilly—served cold.
The Bottle Shop
5, rue Trousseau, in the 11th Arrondissement. 01 43 14 28 04.
Open daily, noon–2 a.m.
Nightlife in Paris gets pretty funky at the Bottle Shop, a dive bar with an artsy twist. With everything from indie film screenings to innovative DJs on the menu, you’ll quickly understand why this hipster hangout is one of the coolest happy hour spots on the rive droite. A propos happy hour—it lasts a generous three hours (5 p.m.–8 p.m.) and offers all cocktails and pints on the menu for only 4.80 euros. For your information, it makes a mean Tom Collins.
148, rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, in the 10th Arrondissement. 09 81 29 83 38.
Open Mon–Fri, 10 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sat–Sun, noon.–11 p.m.
A sunny day in Paris should never be taken for granted. Spend your happy hour basking under the sun at the very trendy Café A, nudged between the Gare de l’Est and the canal Saint-Martin. Today this former convent houses the café as well as the Maison de l’Architecture. The sunny terrace and architectural exhibitions provide a twofold opportunity for an afternoon escape. After all, even Parisians can catch the city blues. Grab a Norwegian wrap or even a hot dog for a modern supplement your apéro.
La Folie en Tête
33, rue de la Butte aux Cailles, in the 13th Arrondissement. 01 45 80 65 99.
Open Mon–Sat, 5 p.m.–2 a.m.; Sun, 6 p.m.–midnight.
If you’re suffering from a glamour overdose, stop by la Folie en Tête for one of the most relaxing happy hours that nightlife in Paris has to offer. Tucked away in the quaint Butte aux Cailles neighborhood, this establishment doesn’t care to fawn fabulousness. The five-euro cocktails and pints at half-pint prices even take the strain off your wallet. Stripped of all feathers and fur, it’s the perfect place to enjoy tasty, reasonably priced drinks and planches in a friendly atmosphere bursting with oomph. Try a homemade ti’ punch, made with your choice of fresh fruit.
Au Rocher de Cancale
78, rue Montorgueil, in the 2nd Arrondissement. 01 42 33 50 29.
Open daily, 8 a.m.–2 a.m.
Squeeze in some serious people watching at the legendary Au Rocher de Cancale, where the terrace conveniently faces the rue Montorgueil’s wacky pedestrian traffic. The passersby parading on this charming, cobblestoned street provide an exhaustive sample of Parisians—really! As you linger over a delicious planche mixte paired with a lovely wine, you’ll catch glimpses of devastatingly beautiful prima donnas, nutty grannies walking teeny dogs, vibrant street performers, tourists wielding maps and much, much more!
La Mer à Boire
3, rue des Envierges, in the 20th Arrondissement. 01 43 58 29 43.
Open Mon–Sat, 11 a.m.–2 a.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Soak in one of the city’s best views at la Mer à Boire, idyllically located at the peak of the Parc de Belleville, in the 20th Arrondissement. This green retreat has led a surprisingly incognito existence, little known to visitors and Parisians alike; hence, neighborhood locals make up the bulk of the clientele. The unrivaled view is worth the trek, and the refreshments do the job. We’re confident that you’ll apérouve!
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