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

ritz-bar-bd-2.jpg
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.