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Paris By Night

The best places to go after dark in the City of Light, as recommended by the concierge of the Ritz

  • Mr Woody Allen and Ms Goldie Hawn in Everyone Says I Love You (1996). Photograph by The Ronald Grant Archive

It may be the City of Light, but Paris is also a great metropolis to explore after dark. And who better to guide you through the night-time rues, allées, and arrondissements than Mr Michel Battino, chief concierge at the legendary, soon-to-reopen Ritz Paris? “I’m looking forward to the unveiling of our new garden, Chanel spa and our Imperial Suite,” he says, “but mostly I’m looking forward to getting back to my desk and helping our guests make the most of this beautiful city.” And if a stay at the Ritz would bust your budget slightly, fear not. MR PORTER has persuaded Mr Battino to share a few of his insider tips for exploring Paris la nuit – from the best place for a first date to the best route for a post-sundown stroll. Bonne soirée!

FOR A NIGHTCAP

  • Photograph courtesy of CopperBay

“CopperBay is a beautiful place in the 10th, near to République. It’s trendy, chic, but not at all formal. A place to go after dinner around 11pm and you can stay until 2am (sometimes they stay open later). Guests are met with big smile from Aurélie Panhelleux, the co-founder, who used to work at the W Paris-Opéra’s bar and is among the top 50 bartenders in France. The vibe is a bit Scandinavian – there are huge glass windows, you sit on high stools, and there are hand-written seasonal menus on scrolls hanging above the bar. But the crowd is very French. There are also classic cocktails, such as whisky sours, margaritas and old-fashioneds and a more intimate, private corner if you would like a seat. The music is contemporary R’n’B hits from Beyoncé mixed up with classics by Madonna.”

CopperBay
5 Rue Bouchardon
copperbay.fr

What to wear

  • Sandro Suede Jacket

  • Lanvin Leather Derby Shoes

FOR AN IMPROMPTU DANCE

  • Chez Castel. Photograph by Mr Louis Teran. Espresso Martini, photograph by Ms Helen Cathcart/Alamy

“Without a doubt, Chez Castel. This is a very select, I would even say iconic, club that opened 1962. It’s been renovated recently, but the original decor is intact – all dark Chesterfield sofas and cityscape murals with light-up starry skies. It also has the original piano that Serge Gainsbourg regularly played, complete with the marks made by his Gitanes cigarettes. The crowd is very Rive Gauche – writers, showbiz people, entrepreneurs, a mix of ages. It’s a private club, and the membership cards are very sought after, but if you are staying at the Ritz, we will be able to get you on the list. I would suggest dressing très chic – good jeans, a nice jacket and smart shoes (definitely no trainers).”

Chez Castel
15 Rue Princesse
castelparis.com

What to wear

  • Berluti Stretch-Denim Jeans

  • J.M. Weston 180 The Moccasin Leather Loafers

FOR PEOPLE WATCHING

  • Septime. Photograph by Mr François Flohic

“Michelin-starred Septime is a restaurant that everybody’s talking about at the moment. It’s run by Bertrand Grébaut, a chef who trained with Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse, and who presents unstuffy and balanced food that mixes tastes and textures. It’s out in the trendy Bastille area and has an outdoor patio in summer, which is a great spot to see and be seen. Again, it’s very informal – you can wear jeans and a shirt if you choose, or a suit if you prefer – but it has a very house-party-in-the-country style that Parisians find quite surprising and very charming.”

Septime
80 Rue de Charonne
septime-charonne.fr

What to wear

  • Maison Margiela Dark-Grey Slim-Fit Puppytooth Wool Suit

  • Kingsman + George Cleverley Leather Oxford Shoes

FOR AN EVENING STROLL

  • Caffè Stern, photographs by Mr Fausto Mazza, courtesy of Caffè Stern

“I would wander to the Pont des Arts for a view of the city, then through the courtyard of the Louvre, across the Rue de Rivoli and into the Jardin du Palais-Royal, a lovely, romantic spot that’s open until 11pm in summer. From there, I would walk up to the 18th-century Passage des Panoramas, which is the oldest covered passageway in Paris and one of my favourite places in the whole city. It has a very particular old-world atmosphere, with lots of vintage stamp and postcard boutiques, but it’s being reinvented with new restaurants opening up. I think the best are Passage 53, a two-Michelin-star Japanese restaurant, and Caffè Stern, designed by Philippe Starck and housed in a beautiful old engravers’ workshop. You could come here for a late-night coffee and admire the decor, including the stuffed lynx and wolf in the doorway, and the shelves of books suspended from the ceiling.”

Passage 53
53 Passage des Panoramas
passage53.com

Stern Caffè
47 Passage des Panoramas
caffestern.fr

What to wear

  • Officine Generale Blue Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Seersucker Blazer

  • AMI Lemon-Print Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

FOR A FIRST DATE

  • A lemon tart at Verjus. Photograph courtesy of Verjus

“I would suggest Verjus. It’s a charming restaurant near the Palais-Royal frequented by a great mixture of locals and in-the-know tourists. There’s very much a word-of-mouth feel about it – you reach it via an unmarked gate on the Rue de Richelieu – and the American couple who run it are known for their light, inventive, precise cooking (very different from traditional Parisian fare), which they present in an eight-course tasting menu. It’s very sophisticated, but also completely relaxed and informal. They also run a tiny wine bar on the floor below, where you can get small-plate versions of the restaurant dishes alongside a large selection of hand-picked wines. Both places are definitely charmant enough for a first date.”

Verjus
52 Rue de Richelieu
verjusparis.com

What to wear

  • Wooyoungmi Slim-Fit Grandad-Collar Cotton-Seersucker Shirt

  • A.P.C. Slim-Fit Cotton Chinos

FOR A LATE-NIGHT CULTURE FIX

  • Fondation Louis Vuitton, with “L'Observatoire de la lumière” by Mr Daniel Buren in situ. Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. © DB-ADAGP Paris. Photograph by Mr Iwan Baan/Fondation Louis Vuitton

“One of the things I like best about Paris is that the museums and galleries have late openings, which is often when they’re a lot quieter. One of my favourites is the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne, which is open until 11pm on Fridays, and often puts on concerts and special events alongside its art shows – or you can just explore its amazing Frank Gehry-designed building. I also love its Nomadic Nights, when films are shown and bands play. A new place I would recommend is the Philharmonie de Paris, a concert hall designed by Jean Nouvel, which is out in the Parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement. It’s a beautiful hall and it has a stunning rooftop restaurant, Le Balcon, with great views of Paris and the park.”

Louis Vuitton Foundation
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
fondationlouisvuitton.fr

Philharmonie de Paris
Cité, 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès
philharmoniedeparis.fr

What to wear

  • Lanvin Silk Sweater

  • Dries Van Noten Water Snake-Trimmed Grained-Leather Pouch