When Relationnel and I go for an apéritif in Paris, we like to do it in style. We’ll never stay in the Hôtel Meurice or the Hôtel du Louvre or the Lutétia (because we live here!), but we can have a taste of luxury in their beautiful bars and indoor gardens.
The Hôtel du Louvre, just opposite the museum as you can imagine, has a very comfortable lounge bar, Le Defender, (but no indoor garden). The starting price for a glass of wine is 14 euros for a graves or a macon up to 23.50 for a chateauneuf du pape or 29.50 for a mersault 1er cru, accompanied by a selection of nibbles including delicious cheese sticks that you dip in guacomole or toasted bread with olive tapenade and salmon rillettes. I love the four corner tables, which each have a different word puzzle in French.
They also serve an excellent café gourmand (coffee or tea with a selection of mini pastries) for 9.50 euros. There’s a jazz band four times a week as well. Last time we went there with friends, the waiter gave us the wrong bill – for a pot of tea instead of a glass of chablis, a glass of champagne and two Americanos. We pointed out the error and when he came back with the second bill, told us that customers with our honesty were rare so one of the Americanos was on the house!
The Meurice is not far away, on Rue de Rivoli. The décor in Bar 228 is much more sophisticated and so is the wine list. Lots of cocktails, but I’m a wine drinker so I’ll tell you about that. There’s an excellent Laroche chablis, a Gitton sancerre, a haut medoc and a mercurey for 16 euros and a puligny monrachet and pessac léognan 2004 for 25 euros. Drinks are served with three sorts of nibbles. They also have a piano and bass player.
The Lutetia, on boulevard Raspail on the Left Bank, is legendary for its Belle Epoque Art Deco style. The prices are about the same as the Meurice and there are also interesting nibbles. Obviously one of the places to be seen. You’re supposed to see all sorts of famous people there but I’m afraid I never manage to recognise anyone! We went there recently with friends after seeing the somewhat disappointing Pompei exhibition at the Maillol Museum.
Have you got any to recommend?Hôtel du Louvre, Bar Le Defendeur, Place André Malraux, 75001 Paris Le Meurice, Bar 228, 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris Hôtel Lutetia, 45, boulevard Raspail , 75006 Paris
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