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.

Bardot vs Bundchen

While Brigitte Bardot may be given credit for launching tourism in Saint Tropez, she also helped light the fire under the Brazilien tourism industry in the 1960′s during her famous trip to the beachside resort of Buzios.

Now, brazillien top model Gisele Bundchen reincarnates BB for this month’s cover of Elle Brazil (in a photo originally shot for Muse magazine).

Who does 60′s sex kitten better, Bardot or Bundchen?

Portman engaged & preggers with hot Frenchman, Ben Millepied

Quelle surprise! C’est un bébé pour Natalie Portman et son chéri Benjamin Millepied.

Just when the gossip mill seemed lethargic after a cozy Christmas, news hits the wires this morning of Natalie Portman’s engagement to French choreographer Benjamin Millepied. Oh, and did we mention a bébé on the way?

The Bordeaux born-and-raised Millepied is as accomplished in his art as his new leading lady. Once touted as the “French Baryshnikov”, the sexy frenchman has spent much of his professional career in New York City since leaving France at age 16.

Felicitations to the hot couple!

An apéritif for Penelope Cruz & hot Javier

Hot couple alert. Paris is currently a little sexier this week as celebrity couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem spice things up in the city of Amour.

The newly-Oscared Penelope enjoyed a mojito in one of the 8th arrondisement’s English pubs, Bugsy’s,  accompanied by her ruggedly handsome beer-drinking Spaniard.

Both looked casual, happy, and madly in love– frequently sharing passionate smooches as uninterested frenchies continued their happy-hour conversations.

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.

Lagerfeld sexes up Dom Perignon

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Feel like you’ve hit a plateau in your love life? Has your husband or lover become predictable and boring?

Leave it to Karl Lagerfeld to inspire some old-fashioned role playing… a la francaise.

Shot in his magnificient Parisian mansion using supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Lagerfeld unveiled a series of photos shot for Dom Perignon’s OEnotheque 1993 vintage. The unveiling party this month hosted celebs such as Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes, Pedro Almodovar, and Maria Bello.

The campaign offers a myriad of fantasy women, with Claudia Schiffer in multiple roles including french maid, dominatrix, geisha, and trashy bride. Says Karl: “These portraits show a woman who metamorphoses over time, from the 18th to the 21st centuries, while retaining her own personality.”

Check out the seductive shoot on Dom Perignon’s site.

And who is that sniffing Claudia’s neck? None other than Karls secretary/bodyguard/boytoy Sebastian Jondeau. Oh la.

Photo courtesy of domperignon.com 

Calvados: forbidden fruit’s most tempting form

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On a memorable visit to Normandy as a teenager, I had my first experience with Calvados. To be honest, I remember it better than some other first experiences . . .

Surrounded by friends in a cozy saloon in Dinard, I was handed a glass of Calvados. Frightened by the initial warning that it would take my breath away, I timidly sipped the famed liquor, and promptly fell in love.

It would be another 5 years before I was of a legal drinking age, and before I encountered Calvados again. These days, it is my digestif préferé. I am not the only one– in fact, it was James Bond’s drink of choice in 1963′s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Calvados is currently undergoing a kind of global renaissance, although it is still one of the best kept secrets in the world of French fine spirits. Let’s just say, your server will be impressed when you ask for it.

Made from the distilled apples of Lower Normandy, and aged a minimum of two years, the older the age of the Calvados, the smoother the taste. But make no mistake, this baby will burn her way down your throat. It is a pleasant and sexy burn, however, and one that will keep you coming back for more.

Served as an aperitif, in between courses, or a digestif, you will find Calvados in nearly any French locale that serves alcohol. A word of warning to lightweights: sip slowly, this drink is not apple juice– it’s around 70 proof!

For reference, there are many top brands out there, but the most widely acclaimed is currently the Grand Pommier XS, which won the World Spirit’s Competition in San Francisco for 2005 and 2006. (For our few male readers, or you naughty women, this brand was also voted as the best accompaniment to a fine cigar).

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yummy.

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

How French Women Do it

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Cafe de Flore is a microcosm of Parisian society, and always brings out the social critic in me. Today, I found myself pondering the mystique of French women.

I was sitting on the terrace, pretending to read my fashion magazine, but really staring at the 2 tables of people in front of me. Both tables had 3 french men, but at one was seated a French woman, and at the other, an American woman. I observed, and once again my hypothesis was reaffirmed:

French women win. They win on sexiness, intellect, style, and just about every other criteria except perhaps lung capacity (though they do work the cigarette-temptress look to their advantage).

Almost as if by fate, I came across a book a few hours later, on another part of my Sunday ritual, which includes a stop in at the Village Voice on Rue Princesse. The book, entitled Fatale: How French Women Do It, is an incredible analysis of French women from the days of troubadours to maintenant.

Its author, Edith Kunz, examines every aspect of the French woman’s charm: her diet, the culture she is raised in, the ideology that shapes her, the decor of her bedroom, her role as wife and mistress, the issue of age and what she calls “the art of brilliance” which Frenchwomen use to dazzle French men. It is a fast and fascinating read, and essential to any woman who wants to understand how these frenchies become masters of their domain. Kunz even explores the disheveled hair look, or as she calls it, “seductive disarray,” (a look which I find myself adopting, more out of laziness than seduction).

Beware: This book may corrupt certain readers into taking additional lovers, becoming a mistress, or booking a vacation at a thermal spa. It will certainly inspire new perfume and lingerie purchases.

Note: click here to check out the rest of my juicy francophile entries~ :)

SMOKIN’ at Le fumoir

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Looking for a hot place to unwind after a long day of indentured servitude?

Try Le Fumoir. You’ll walk in with a cocktail, and leave with a lover. The clientele is young and HOT.

Of course, I haven’t met a lover yet, but I envision such an encounter. The drinks are DELICIOUS, the lighting is dim, the music jazzy, and the men are mostly straight and either work for LVMH (just around the corner) or some international consultancy firm. Meaning… young and well dressed.
Did I mention the drinks are amazing????

Top shelf liquours availble for 7 euros. Happy hour goes from 6 to 8. Try the Chinatown w Vodka (mojito-ish but better!).

6 rue l’amiral Coligny (1er)

Metro: Louvre Rivoli

Chocolat … Guilty Pleasure #2

OK, I’ll admit it, when I think of the word Chocolat, this is the first image that comes to mind:

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Unfortunately dear reader, this man is NOT my guilty pleasure.

Instead, you may recall the secret ingredient used in the movie, Chocolat. It was the chili pepper. Let me tell you, it lives up to its reputation… a serious aphrodisiac! Call me crazy, but it could be the female viagra.

That’s right, guilty pleasure #2 is Excellence Chili … the new version of specialty chocolate by Lindt.

If you have not tried it, get yourself over to the closest gourmet market and experience the biggest trend in chocolate, described by Lindt as “seductively piquant.” The flavors of dark cocoa give way to a full-bodied spicy touch- just the right amount to warm up those cold Parisian days. It is seductive. In fact, today it seduced me into eating an entire bar.

This is one item you might buy in bulk.

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Excellence Chili by Lindt is available at La Grade Epicerie and Carrefour.

Update: TERRIBLE news. It turns out this chocolate was a LIMITED edition from Lindt. It is now off the shelves, but perhaps will be reintroduced (according to Bon Marche it sold tremendously well— grace a moi—and may come back!).

Top 10 sexy French books

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One must study to master the seductive techniques of French women.

According to Helena Frith Powell, a Brit in Paris, not only do the frenchies have perfectly matching underwear, they are also very well read. These 10 were probably on their third grade reading lists.

1. Cheri, by Colette

2. Madame de, by Louise de Vilmorin

3. The Ravishing of Lol Stein, Marguerite Duras

4. Bonjour Tristesse, by Francoise Sagan

5. Madame Bovary, Flaubert

6. Emmanuelle, by Emmanuelle Arsan

7. Les Liasons Dangereuses, by Laclos

8. I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere, by Anna Gavalda

9. Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond de Rostand

10. The Delta of Venus, by Anais Lin

Make sure these get on your summer reading list… they will surely be in my beach bag, right next to the oversized sunglasses and Contrex water (all you non-french, Contrex is a special weight loss water they sell here). Ahhh, I can picture it now…

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