Pizza, in Paris? What was I thinking?
Pizza is Italian, it should be eaten in Italy, or at any London based Pizza Express when I have a 2 for 1 Orange Wednesday code. It should NOT be eaten in Paris.
In Paris I should be out and sampling exquisite French food – blood red rib eye steak, warm and crusty breads, heavenly duck confit, vibrant macarons and chocolate smothered pastries. Oh dear god, the thought of all that good stuff doesn’t half set the taste buds going.
To tell you the truth, I had never planned to eat the pizza whilst in Paris, but there I was, my first night in the city and I chomping away on a lovely parma ham number. The original plan had been to simply walk straight through this particular pizzeria. The plan had been to eat fondue for dinner, in a completely different restaurant in a completely different part of town, and only then venture to this specific pizzeria. However owing to the fondue suppliers unwillingness to open on time, said fondue restaurant was cast aside for another day, and instead pizza was gleefully, if not slightly sheepishly consumed.
I love pizza, I mean full on love it, adore it. Morning, noon or night I would usually consume the cheesy beast with no guilt or hesitation, but on this one occasion that was simply not the case. Not because I actually didn’t want it in my mouth, I did, I always do, but on this occasion I did not want to order and eat pizza because I knew it would give the game away, reveal the secret I had been keeping from my girlfriend whom I had bought to Paris for her birthday.
To be fair, the pizza was good, damn good. But, in between each tasty mouthful I could see her eyes wander from across the table. The pizzeria in which we sat and dined was not a big place, and it would have been harder not to notice a certain trend taking place amongst those that walked through the front door. A trend which I didn’t want her to catch onto, but that which she did.
What’s through those doors? Where are those people going? Can we go?
Yes, yes we could go, and yes we would go, for that was the plan all along. What looked like a set of doors to an innocent restaurant refrigerator were merely a ruse, a lie, a gateway to something else hidden in plain site, and what hid behind said doors was a thing of beauty I had wanted to keep as a surprise.
I love the idea of a secret venue, somewhere that only a select few know of and can access. Admittedly I learnt about the location of this particular venue via the internet, but I hoped it was still little known enough to hold onto that which made it special, and it was. Finishing our meals, asking for and then paying the pizzeria bill in grade D French, pushing through those two huge swing refrigerator like doors was potentially my favourite part of the weekend spent in Paris. Whilst I knew almost exactly what hid behind them I was still giddy with excitement.
Through those huge swinging doors and then through another smaller set we made our way. Small efforts, but with huge reward, fore what we found on the other side was a bustling yet cool room of cocktail sipping locals. Dim wall lights, candles and small speakers playing soft jazz set the mood, this was speak easy at its best, and best of all, it was hidden away from the world outside.
The bar was already busy (owing mainly to its small size) and seats were few and far between, but that deterred us not and we took hold of one of the prized of cocktail menus. Now I am not usually a cocktail drinker, my usual tipple is either beer or cider, but on this occasion and even though there was a beer tap, I thought it silly to go for anything other than a artistic blend of liquids. My first choice was poor, it contained whisky, I hate whisky! But on attempt number two I got it just right, a rum based number that leaned towards being a mojito, but which was still its own drink. Served up in the most manliest of glasses and with lashings of ice it was an alcoholic masterpiece in my mouth and I savored every last sip.
What a drink!
What a bar!
What a find!
So where is this secret bar?
Well I will tell you that the bar is not 5 minutes walk from Bastille metro station, but no more. Like I, if you are really determined to find such a gem, you need to work for it. Search the internet well enough and you wont be more than a few clicks away … should you search the rights words. Enjoy!