Best Clubs in Paris 2012

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Tis the season to recap the best clubs in Paris for this year, 2012. Santé!

5. Titty Twister (above): A new club for your black leather nights. Inspired by the Rodriguez/Tarantino biker bar in From Dusk Til Dawn, this is the perfect club to bust out that Hell’s Angels look.  Right in the heart of club district at the end of rue Ponthieu, its one of the few clubs in Paris to offer a pool table in the spacious fumoir. Scantily clad employées also dance on the bar, but that’s the only place you’re likely to see much dancing as there is no real dance floor just roomy tables. Viva americana.

4. VIP Club: This big club is nothing very original, but the space is huge and there is a festive ambiance with a lot of highrollers you might see again during the summer in Saint Tropez. If bling is what you are looking for, VIP and its impresario Jean Roch have that covered. You might catch a spontaneous concert by the Black Eyed Peas, Busta Rhymes, or FloRida.  Dinner in the restaurant, Gioia, is a surprisingly nice experience for kicking off a night of partying.

3. Matignon: Whether you are finished your meal or not, the restaurant at Matignon turns up the music to club levels around 11pm, and from then on, expect lots of champagne popping, sparklers, and dancing. Thursday-Saturday, this place is booked, especially during fashion week. Downstairs the club is small but hosts regular tables of fashion models and chic Parisien types.

2. Raspoutine: A club for all ages. A rare mix of the fashionable and accomplished, the ancien regime and the new. Kate Moss drops in during fashion week, and Mick Jagger parties there until 4am on a Thursday night. Raspoutine is decadent, fun, and ‘members-only.’ Once a club of ill-repute, its now the place to see and be seen in Paris.

1. Cirque de Bonheur: A little bit of Ibiza in Paris. This giant space (formerly the Man Ray) is home to guest DJ’s and elaborate parties. It attracts equal parts posh and bohemia, and is known for it’s ecclectic themed parties and sideshows featuring fireblowers and midgets. At the helm of this club is Danish impresario, Rasmus Michau, who’s creativity and enthusiasm (and Viking good looks) have helped reinvigorate Parisian nightlife.

Best clubs in Paris – 2011

Last year Parisians went into crisis mode after a well-publicized petition claimed that Paris nightlife was on the verge of a slow death. They even coined the expression, “City of Sleep.” L’horreur!

While we may have been facing a party downturn in recent years, Petite Brigitte is happy to report that Paris nightlife is still going strong and 2011 is shaping up to be a year of crazy fêtes (starting with Kate Moss at Raspoutine in February).

Here are your top 5 hottest clubs du jour, but keep in mind: if you aren’t on a list and are going it alone, keep your finger’s crossed and arrive before 11:30. A few attractive girlfriends can’t hurt either.

1. Bagatelle: Built as a hunting lodge on a bet between Marie Antoinette and the Count of Artois, the elegant Bagatelle Chateau and Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne hosts the wildest parties of the summer, such as the notorious Eurotrash Disney party (you’ll never look Mickey in the eyes again). It is a hike getting out here to the western edge of Paris, but well worth it on a warm summer night, especially if there is a good guest DJ. Arrive for dinner or near 11pm to avoid the crowds. Costumes are commonplace, and leave your Louboutin’s at home- it’s a jungle out there.

2. Chez Raspoutine: This red-velvet cocoon of Paris’ most posh noctambules is located just off the Champs-Elysées. The music isn’t great, the dancefloor is petite, but it’s the place to see & be seen, and weekends see a smattering of Europe’s top models mixing with heirs of the luxury industry. Dress to kill.

3. L’Arc: This club near the Arc de Triomphe may not be as classe as the chichi Raspoutine, but the music is better and the lovely outdoor garden is a welcome addition in the summertime. The management have a Riviera sense about them when it comes to partying… not surprising as they are from Cannes! It’s a steamy club with a long bar, and a decent restaurant on the top floor. Great for groups of friends as other clubs tend to turn away larger groups. Opt for tables in the VIP section.

4. Le Baron & Montana: These sister clubs are so exclusive you probably won’t get in unless you are with Karen Mulder or Sean Lennon. With their quirky music, film industry clientele, and celebrity walk-ins, the Baron and Montana are the havens of cool for the right and left bank, respectively. Don’t dress to kill here because looks don’t matter. In fact, the hairier and more unkempt the better. Flannel shirts welcome.

5. Cirque du Bonheur: You might have known this location as the Mandela Ray, but forget all of that because now it is the ‘Circus of happiness’. Think fire breathers, midgets, acrobats, and guest DJ’s from Ibiza like Tim Rustow mixing among a thousand youthful Parisians. This was the hot club of winter 2010/2011 but will close down in mid June as most of this party crowd heads to Bagatelle.

La Villa: Best bar near Champs Elysées

Between shopping excursions on Ave. Montaigne and business lunches on rue Faubourg St. Honoré, Petite Brigitte is no stranger to the enigmatic neighborhood of the Champs-Elysées. It’s a quartier littered with tourists, banal shopping (except for Montaigne and “le 66“), overpriced restaurants, cheesy clubs, and yes… les marcheuses (prostitutes).

Having tired of the usual places to get some bubbly in this neigborhood–  Café Chic, l’Empire du 8ème, Pershing Hall, etc –  a recent outing to La Villa came as a welcome suprise.  Situated a short walk down from l’Arc de Triomphe, the bar/resto, open since 2009 yet still largely undiscovered by many Parisians,  boasts a hip piano bar frequented in equal parts by local residents, international businessmen, and trendsetters.

Cocktails are pricey (13-20 euros), the staff is beautiful (especially the ruggedly handsome ex-model DJ who plays between piano sets), and it is the perfect place for a fancy springtime drink on the ample sidewalk terrasse.

Don’t worry, the only marcheuses on this corner of the Champs are wearing Louboutins.

La Villa
37 Avenue de Friedland
75008 Paris
01 82 28 75 08

Jack’s back to Costes

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Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman dropped in on Paris this week to promote their new film called “The Bucket List,” in which they play two old geezers who meet in a hospital room and decide to take the road trip of a lifetime on Jack’s private jet.

Jack hung out at Hotel Costes on Thursday evening, where he was surrounded by heavy hitters in the French social scene— like Yves Saint Laurent and Gilles Lellouche, who were both dining with separate parties at the hip venue.

50cent in the 75

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The rapper 50-cent graced Paris with his presence last night and hosted a private party celebrating the end of the French leg of his European Tour. 50 played at Bercy earlier this week, and then returned to Paris after making a tour of France. His party was at 22 Place Vendome, where he apparently keeps an apartment (and otherwise known as the outpost of Van Cleef & Arpels).

50 made the headlines recently for breaking his vow to “retire” if Kanye West’s album went number one over his new release. When calls came for him to follow through on his promise, he responded, “Hey man, I’m the number one album in Europe!”

21st century Ritz

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A photo of the new Ritz Bar (with the lights on).

It’s the most exciting thing to happen at the Ritz in a long time. The new Ritz Bar (formerly the Cambon Bar) opened its doors this month to a surprisingly hip clientele, and Petite Brigitte is becoming a fast fan.

Extremely dim lighting (it takes a few minutes to adjust it’s so dark– perfect for an illicit rendezvous) and some innovative lounge music give this bar a modern vibe, but the decor keeps in tune with the luxurious comfort synonymous with the famed hotel. Decadent red velvet and black lacquered tables are set against oil paintings and ornate glass trees. The feel is a bit 1920′s gentleman’s club, with antlers adorning some walls, but if it brings in George Clooney then PB is all for it! Cocktails by world-class bartender Colin Field round out the chic spot.

Famke hot at Costes

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Dutch-born actress and former model Famke Janssen enjoyed dinner at Hotel Costes this evening in the company of her longtime boyfriend, Cole. Lets hope we all look like her at 42 years of age!

Looking casually chic and absolutely stunning, the Bond girl visited the famed eatery/bar while in between filming schedules— she just wrapped production on The Wackness, starring Ben Kingsley and Mary Kate Olsen.

Earlier this week she took her  Boston terrier, “Licorice,” for a walk in the Jardin des Tuileries, and managed time to get frisky with her boyfriend in the boxwood maze.

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Showcase showdown

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Le Showcase, the giant club located underneath the Pont Alexandre III, played host to the antics of Alexander McQueen and his entourage on Friday night– another party in the long list of fashion week festivities.

Naomi Campbell, in the company of Kanye West, strutted into the VIP around 1am in true diva fashion to pay her regards, but left less than 30 minutes later.

And in the other VIP (yes, there are two… so that clashing entourages can have their space), was yet another party for the opening of Le 66, the hot new boutique on 66 Champs Elysees.

Above Magazine at the VIP room

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After an exhausting day of covering the shows (well, ok… four shows: Gaspard Yurkievich, Vivienne Westwood, Dior, and Fatima Guerrout), PetiteBrigitte rallied for an evening of fashion parties around the Champs-Elysées.

VIP room hosted the launch party for Above Magazine‘s 7th volume, entitled ‘Opulence.’ The magazine targets the new generation of style conscious fashion consumers, and provides fresh commentary and original photo spreads. It’s so chic it doubles as a coffee table book. This issue features Rose McGowan on the cover, and contains a beautiful layout and interview with brit-aristo-trendsetter Daphne Guinness. Several contributors and photographers were on hand to celebrate the new issue, including Parisian photographers Les Deux Garçons, who were busy snapping away impromptu shots of party-goers.

In attendance (surprisingly): fashion editor Hamish Bowles, Michael Brown of Vanity Fair, and photographer Ellen von Unwerth (featured above).

For those unfamiliar with the VIP room, it is one of the least enjoyable venues in Paris, yet for some reason still takes in some big parties like this summer’s Longoria/Parker festivities. Last night was a hot mess: after a humid day of destroying our shoes in the Tuileries mud, all we wanted was a tall drink and some cool ventilation. And, as usual, VIP did not deliver. Thank heavens for the open bar, even if we did have to sideline a few models to get a drink.

Indian Playboy rocks the Monaco Prix

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(Yacht featured in background of photo, taken from 2007 Kingfisher calendar)

Kingfisher mogul/playboy Vijay Mallya, aka the King of Good Times, threw the biggest bash of the Monaco Grand Prix on board his superyacht Indian Empress. Don’t think his wife was there.

Mallya, who is known for his overly glamorous lifestyle, organized the party on the 95m yacht, currently said to be the 5th largest in the world.

The guest list included Bernie Ecclestone, Tadashi Yamashina, Flavio Briatore, and Jay Z. Early arrivals scarcely had time to catch their breath and grab some champagne before a troop of Indian ballerinas and dancers, Lina Dance, stormed the room to perform a routine worthy of any Bollywood movie. Shortly after, DJ Aqueel and his colleagues began to spin their records as guests hit the dance floor.

Looks like our favorite old dirty playboy, Flavio Briatore, might have danced too hard: he was the one casualty of the evening after stepping on a piece of glass.

The yacht boasted an open air jacuzzi, free-flowing bars, and luxurious loos. Good thing the 16 cabins were locked, or there would have been many stowaways! Then again, with a dude like this at the helm, better think twice:

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Chris Cornell rocks Showcase

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With a voice that defies 42 years of hard living, Chris Cornell killed it on Tuesday night at Showcase. It was a solid performance!

Playing to a sold-out crowd, the former lead singer of such bands as Soundgarden and Audioslave entertained the crowd with a culmination of songs spanning his colorful career. Backed up by his new musicians (who look very young and thrilled to be working), Chris even revealed some new songs he’s been working on… one of which was downright mushy. Of course, his wife and two children looked on with adoration from their perch in the VIP.

Unfortunately, the band didn’t stick around for the after-party at Chris’ club, Black Calvados. They ate dinner in the upstairs restaurant, and then hit the bus for an overnight haul to London. Chris says he will return to Paris to close out the tour.

For those of you not familiar with Chris, get with it. He did the theme song to James Bond: Casino Royale. Plus, the guy is downright hot. With looks that could make him Brad Pitt’s brother, and one of the sexiest voices in the industry, it was all I could do not to toss my brassiere on stage. Take me! Take me now!

Yours truly,

the homewrecker.

Steamy nights on the Seine

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Looking for the perfect Parisian block party? Whether you are with friends or a lover, the banks of the Seine are a brilliant start (or finish) to a wild night in Paris.

Cliché? yes!

Do we care? no!

Bring a few bottles and park it for an hour or two and watch the craziness. Students, musicians, businessmen, drugdealers, and just about ever social echelon were represented on Saturday night. The Pont des Arts was teeming with with thousands of partygoers from 9pm until 2am.

PetiteBrigitte was in attendance along with several friends, including two of her besties: Chardonnay and Corkscrew.

With feet dangling over the quai, dinner guests on the Bateaux Mouches got an eyeful as PB and other wayward ladies flashed their assets under the glaring beam of the spotlights. Highly entertaining.

One lonely police car cruised along the quai around midnight, looking more interested in joining the party than quelling the debauchery. Vive la France!

Best Karaoke in Paris

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It was Friday the 13th and the freaks came out to party at Showcase for karaoke night.

Among the guest appearances were Freddy Kreuger, Slash, AC/DC, and Lou Doillon. Hosted by party promoter Nicolas, the Friday night Karaoke got off to a retro start, with an opening performance of Brigitte Bardot’s “Harley Davidson,” and quickly progressed to all out bedlam by 2am. Amazing Karaoke, backed up by a full rock band, made the evening unpredictable and entertaining. Promoter, Nicolas, on stage and dressed in his 100th costume change– as a King Kong– made a few enemies, however, when he loaded a syringe full of fake blood and sprayed the audience– destroying many a fine frock and sending several distraught ladies to the bathroom.

A surprise performance by Lou Doillon, daughter of Jane Birkin, went virtually unnoticed by the crowd of indifferent frenchies.

I retract my prior statements about Lou’s intimidation factor. Though she projects a caliber of coolness that few of us could top, her demeanor Friday night was friendly and down-to-earth. She danced with the crowd, drank beer, sang back-up on stage, and partied with her group of friends until 2:30. Wearing a white dress, black tights, victorian-era boots, and a black Fendi spy bag, she was anything but fierce. The only alarming thing was her weight. Before jumping to conclusions, however, one must note that her mother has the metabolism of a 12-year-old boy, so this is likely case of genetic waifishness.

Showcase is a fabulous club, especially for any girls looking to meet hot guys (even if they are a little on the young side). The ratio was clearly in our favor, and the men were surprisingly attractive– some dressed in blazers, others looking more Johnny Depp scruffy. By 3am the place was packed, the DJ had taken over, and there were plenty of men still looking for a lady to shag dance with.

Check out Showcase’s website; by far the best location of any Parisian club.

Best Ladies’ Nights in Paris

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We all need a girl’s night de temps en temps– where we dress up sexy but go out under the pretense of female bonding. The following are a list of places you and your copines may want to drop by this weekend (and in the future as some are weekly soirees). As you may imagine, there are some common themes in these events, primarily “open bar” and cheesy music. Enjoy the long weekend!!

Thursday: Every Thursday Le Wagg (6th) hosts LoliTa happy hours from 7pm to 9pm, for all those hardworking ladies that just need to unwind after a long day! Free entrance, free drinks, massage and manicure stations, body painting, magicians (!), videos, etc. At 9pm the real party starts with music from the 80′s, 90′s, and on… Open bar all night for the ladies! More info here.

Friday: Vengeance d’une Femme. Only ladies allowed into the Six Sept (8th) starting at 11:30– for a girl power hour that involves seductive stripteasers & an open bar! Men finally get admitted at 12:30, and with the women already warmed-up, the dance floor is movin’ to the tunes of DJ Narcisse and Marco.

This Saturday: Though you may not admit it now, I know you listened to Boys II Men back in the day! Still noted as the most successful R&B group of all time, with 5 number 1 songs, they are yours on Saturday night at the Rex (along with guest Brian McKnight). Get your girls nice and tipsy and sing along to songs like “I’ll Make Love to You.” The perfect girl outing!

Sunday: Free entry and open bar for the ladies from midnight to 2am at la Suite for the “best DJ of 2007″ DJLORD ISSA & DJ PELPEZ UNDERGROUNG & ELECTRIK SOUND (playing soul, funk, pop, rock, etc..). The soiree is called “Private Penthouse” and there is a dress code and guest list for the men (call Maximilien 0620286883)

Les Chandelles: Lingerie & Libertinism in Paris

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Sometimes investing in lingerie seems so impractical when it never makes it out of the bedroom, doesn’t it?

So now that you have taken my advice in past posts and bought all of this matching lingerie, where can it get the most use?

Oh, the things Paris will do to a girl’s morals!

If you and your man are open to new and exciting things (as you should be in Paris!), let yourself be seduced by the candlelit ambiance of Les Chandelles. A few glasses of champagne, a look around at the beautiful clientele, and you might just find yourself playing the libertine for a night.

Les Chandelles is a naughty little secret that few in Parisian society will admit to knowing. Located in the 1st arrondisement, it is the most VIP swingers club in Paris– only the sexy need attend. But don’t worry ladies, this place is not a hedonistic realm of male-oriented pleasure. On the contrary, clientele attest to the fact that women are the queens of the night and that most of the liaisons transpire out of female seduction.

There is no doubt that a woman was behind the creation of this sexy little joint. Madame Valerie is the femme fatale mastermind of Les Chandelles, and will give you advice on everything from the best lingerie to wear, to a sexy reading list. Here is a lady who knows the rules of seduction!

Thanks to a strict dress code, no amount of cash or princely titles will get you in. The uber-selection makes the evening most enjoyable, as it weeds out any ODM (old dirty men) at the door (Ok… a few still get through). In fact, men can’t get in at all without a hot woman by their side.

Don’t be intimidated by the classification as a swinger’s club either: it isn’t strictly about sex. In fact, many couples just go for a drink and a look around. Some women will lounge around in their much coveted La Perla lingerie. No matter what the order of the night, be assured that Les Chandelles is as formal and discreet as it is alluring.

Note: We know none of PetiteBrigitte’s readers would EVER think about wearing pants to such an establishment. This is strictly a club for your sexiest black dress, best lingerie, and Stella McCartney skyhigh heels.

Do consult the website for a run down of guidelines (no whips or dog collars please) and for what your man must wear. Also has a wonderful list of lingerie shops. For the truly adventurous female, you can go alone on Monday nights! (they don’t call it menage-a-trois for nothing!)

Les Chandelles

1, rue Thérèse
Paris 75001
France
(33) 01 42 60 43 31

Metropolitan Models @ Showcase: hot end to Fashion week!

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PetiteBrigitte was in attendance at the fashion week blowout at Showcase on March 9, which was hosted by Metropolitan Models.

In the VIP, the champagne flowed like a river all night long. Thankfully, we kept ourselves in check with ample amounts of sushi, satays, macaroons, and even roasted marshmallows. A brilliant combination.

Agents and models glammed it up in the VIP, photographers were snapping away, and the open bar was inundated with people from 10pm to 5am. Yes, it was a nuit blanche! Music from hot band du jour, the Plasticines (pictured above) kept the atmosphere quirky and cool, and PB even managed to leave the VIP and head for the stage to tear up the dancefloor for a bit!

Showcase, located directly underneath the Pont Alex III, is one of the hottest clubs in Paris and certainly one of the most beautiful– bravo to Metro for one of the chicest parties of the week!

Chez Castel: hot boite or shameless brothel?

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The verdict is still out on Chez Castel, even after my scandalous experience this weekend.

With a history spanning 40 years, and a guest list that has included Brigitte Bardot, Chez Castel is a legendary hotspot on the Parisian nightlife scene. Owned by Phillippe Fatien, of Queen and Le Cab fame, the club is a wicked boudoir of sin on Thursday to Saturday nights.

Surrounded by the often raucous rugby and expat bars on Rue Princesse, Castel is as mysterious on the inside as it appears on the outside. The unmarked red facade gives way to a plush and intimate red velvet interior, where upstairs serves dinner and downstairs boasts one of the most sexy and intimate dance floors on the left bank. The DJ is above average, and the crowd consists of moneyed men and trophy women. Herein lies the probleme.

The club maintains its selectivity at the door, and the stone-cold doorman will sweep you off with a flick of the hand if you don’t have a reservation- regardless of looks! I’ve shown up with 2 topmodels and had the same results. The club is basically members-only, and a membership comes at around 600 euros a year, including 20% off drinks and food.

Of course, the 1200 members are mostly old men who don’t want to deal with the hassles of other clubs. This provides them with a sure entrance, a good table, and the freedom to be as freaky as they want without the threat of being kicked out. This can include bringing shady company and doing some not-so-discreet drugs. And my friends, this is precisely what happens at Castel!

Sitting at a table on Friday night, a girlfriend and I were enjoying a glass of champagne by ourselves, because we had arrived there early before the mean doorman could turn us away (there is a sweet woman who works the door before 11:30). Our goal for the night was merely to dance on one of the few dancefloors in the neighborhood. We were soon invited to have a drink with a neighboring table of 2 men, and I immediately sensed the fact that these guys probably thought we were… femmes de la nuit. I warned my friend but reluctantly followed her naive ass to the table.

When we started conversation, a flash of surprise crossed their eyes when we asked them what they did in Paris. Could it be that this is a classically taboo topic between patron and ho? Hmmm…. a glass of champagne later and we were out on the dance floor, still being chased by the men, who then proceeded to fondle my friend against her will. We hit the road soon thereafter.

That was my 4th experience at Castel, and each time I have endured a similar experience, from indecent proposals to random grabbing. Though you might see the occasional VIP (Adriana Karembeau, Patrick Bruel, Isabel Adjani, and Djamel Debbouze all frequent the place), the majority of the clientele are dirty old men accompanied by women of ill-repute.

The place has so much potential, and I must admit the company can be intriguing. But then again, thats coming from a girl who watches FTV (and the men at Castel probably do too!). Still, it is a great spot if you can bring a group and dominate a few tables; just be ready for some drama if you hit it with your girlfriends!

Castel, 15, rue Princesse, 75006 Paris. Tél. : 01 40 51 52 80