Saturday, July 5, 2014

Taking On The Marais with Lily and Vicki

Back in my partying days, I'd bar hop all over town. Now I'm lucky to have one drink at one bar because with two kids under two I just can't party all night long like I used to.

Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a few mid-afternoon drinks with fellow writer and lover of Paris, Lily Heise. I may not be able to party into the wee hours of the morn' but one perk of maternity leave is afternoon drinking!

Lily Heise and Vicki Lesage
Lily clearly has an awesome hide-the-sleep-deprivation filter on her camera, for which I am eternally grateful.

Now Lily and I have teamed up to take on the Marais. Check out her awesome guide for a night out in the Marais, then hop on over to her blog to see my take!

Lily Takes On The Marais

The Marais is definitely one of the most charming neighborhoods of Paris. Perhaps more fitting for a date, with its quiet dimly lit streets to stroll down hand-in-hand and discreet corners to sneak a few kisses, it's also full of lively spots for girls just wanting to have fun. With that in mind, an evening in the district your favorite filles could go something like this...

Start out with apéro at the Pick Clops (16 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris). While they don't have a happy hour special, they do give out generous baskets of popcorn and their prices are generally quite reasonable. I've always liked this quirky bar, with its semi-1950s retro decor with mosaic-ed walls. The cute, friendly waiters are an added plus.

Vicki and Lily Take on the Marais: Pick Clops
Pick Clops, in the Marais

Or if it's Thursday night September-June, one of my favorite apero options is to do a little art opening crawl in and around the upper section of rue de Vieille du Temple. Best of all worlds: taking in culture, enjoying free beverages and possibly flirting with some handsome artsy garcons. More info on the schedule can be found on the Association des Galeries d'Art de Paris website.

When you're ready for a bite to eat, settle in at Chez Marianne (corner of rue des Rosiers and Hospitalières Saint-Gervais). A long-time fav of my circle of gals, you can design your own assiette of delicious Mediterranean specialties piled high with hummus, falafel, feta, grilled eggplant and more. They also have large sharing plates which can be fun when in a group. Don't forget to order a bottle of their own "Marianne" gamay wine, not so shabby at all. It's better to reserve in advance, but they do take walk in clients; the main room, back room or the terrace are nicer than the room across the street, if you can squeeze in that request.

Vicki and Lily Take on the Marais: Chez Marianne
Chez Marianne, in the Marais

If you're in the mood for a nibble on the go, grab a falafel at the world's absolute best spot, L'As du Falafel (32-34 Rue des Rosiers, I'm craving one just writing about it!). Otherwise, in the Upper Marais you could be to gobble down a veggie burger at M.O.B. (30 rue Charlot) or some tacos at Candelaria (52 Rue de Saintonge) then get a cocktail at their not-so-secret-anymore hidden bar.

Vicki and Lily Take on the Marais: L'As du Falafel
L'As du Falafel

Carry on your fun by loitering around with your verres de vin or mojitos outside Café la Perle (corner of Vieille du Temple and rue de la Perle), the dive-iest cool bar in the Marais where you'll rub shoulders with the area's hipsters. Just watch out for designer John Galliano, this is where his infamous insult incident took place in 2011, though I doubt he'd show his face around after that.

The Marais itself does not have tons of dancing options - well, at least not for girls, I mean girls not into girls (there are several options for the latter and pourquoi pas?). The best option I'd recommend for this, and for a fun time regardless, would be the Lizard Lounge (18 Rue du Bourg Tibourg). While it looks like a rather average bar from the street level, descend down to the basement for the actually lounge atmosphere. It's got happy hour cocktails until 10 pm and a DJ and some dancing until 2 am.

There are a few other fun dancing places technically not in the Marais, but on its border. Alternative souls could amble to the Pop In (105 Rue Amelot), located just on the east side of the Marais off of Blvd Beaumarchais. I used to live down the street and like "popping in" here every now and then. If you haven't been before, there is are grubby-cool drinking areas, but it's down stairs (you have to go up, then down) where the concerts and dancing take place. I haven't been in a while, but I'm sure it's still a good time.

Or end your night dancing on the tables at the Favela Chic (on the other side of Place de la Republique at 18 rue du Faubourg du Temple). Featured in my book under a different name (in the Bad Brad and Foxy chapters), many entertaining and naughty nights have been had among filles on the dance floor or on the table tops.

Sounds like a blast, non? Now check out my take on the Marais over on Lily's blog!

About Lily

April Lily Heise, a Canadian, has been living in Paris since 2000. Ever since, she's been trying quite unsuccessfully to stay out of romantic trouble. This is her first book, however, her romantic musings are shared via her blog Je T'Aime, Me Neither. She has been contributing to various travel publications including Frommer's Paris and Frommer's France guides, the Conde Nast Daily Traveler blog, Lonely Planet blog and others. In addition she has written two business English guides and has extensive experience translating, two books by noted French intellectual Jacques Attali.

About Je T'Aime Me Neither

Is Paris really the eternal City of Love? Dumped suddenly by her Parisian boyfriend, sultry expat Lily is left wondering if je t'aime still exists. Instead of crying into her glass of wine, she decides to heal her bruised ego and quash her romantic doubts with a carefree summer fling... or as the French call it: une aventure.

Supported by her faithful friends and trusty Saint Amour wine, Lily embarks on her presumably easy quest. Little does she know what—or whom—this adventure has in store! Rather than guide her into the arms of a perfect summer amoureux, the sexy streets of Paris lead her from one impossible candidate to another: disappearing foxy Frenchmen, unavailable Latino heartthrobs, overly-mysterious world travelers, mistress-hunting married men, and not-so-single amnesiacs—oh la la!

As her amorous mishaps accumulate, Lily gradually re-evaluates her strategy. But will her good intentions be enough to lead her to the right homme... one who might last out the summer—and maybe even beyond? Or will she continue to get embroiled in more mésaventure? This novelized memoir tells the tantalizingly true romantic odyssey of a 21st-Century young woman caught in the mire of desires—which is only intensified by the passion of Paris.

Note: I've read Lily's book and it's a fun account of what it's REALLY like trying to find love in Paris. I found myself nodding along to each situation, totally picturing the same thing happening to me. Pick it up and see for yourself!

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Vicki Lesage, Author