Paris, France — Things are getting into the swing again and it is happening just right now during fashion week. But cocktails are on the agenda during any week in Paris and with widespread vaccinations and the corresponding health pass being required in bars, restaurants and a host of other venues, the cocktail hour(s) is emerging on the scene once again in the French capital with palatial and upscale hotels being a favorite haunt. Discrete, elegant and often the repair of those who want to avoid the crowd scene, they offer a great alternative for enjoying diverse libations.
You might want to step into the sweeping bar of The Charles at the Burgundy Hotel, a bar which celebrates the French poet Charles Baudelaire. All the classic cocktail are there ranging from the Old Fashionneds to A Negroni or a Mai Tai. But the bar also features some rather hedonistic suggestions like the flower-filled Alice in Wonderland or the Fleurs du Mal, the title of Baudelaire’s most famous collection of poems, The Flowers of Evil. Both are from the house’s Exquisite Poisons Collection of cocktails.
The Ambassadeurs at the Hotel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, there is an extensive champagne and wine by both the glass and the bottle menu in addition to serendipitous cocktails. The current cocktail menu features ten signature drinks inspired by iconic Parisian locations. The bar overlooks the Place de la Concorde and the ambiance is muted and elegant. There is also complimentary live music proffered by the house’s ensemble of three female musicians.
Head bartender Mathieu Le Feuvrier officiates at the bar-library of the Saint James Paris on the western edge of town in the 16th arrondissement. The place exudes a clubhouse atmosphere and is offers up a delicious cocktail dubbed Mat’s Hat, a savant blend of rosé wine from Provence, blackcurrant creme liqueur from Dijon, lime and agave sirup with a pinch of Timut pepper, shaken not stirred. There is also a nice selection of one of The Gourmet Gazette’s favorite champagnes, Taittinger. There is also an extensive parade of rums, whiskies, bourbons and well just about everything. Here one is ensconced in a universe of wood panelling and cosy velvets filled with old leather-bound books.
For a bar with a view the Sequoia rooftop bar at the Kimpton Saint-Honoré is a fine choice with front-row 360 degree views onto the Opera House, the Sacré Coeur of Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower. Inside the marble bar is an aesthetic wonder. And this is a recent addition to the Parisian cocktail landscape as it just opened last August. The menu features six signature cocktails and a selection of champagnes and wine.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette