Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday, White Night

While my fellow Americans spent their Black Friday fighting over video games in Walmart, I slept in, celebrated the beginning of the season with all-day Christmas music and a warming chickpea stew, and then went out for an epic “nuit blanche” (all-nighter) on the town.

Phinn and I met up with Lindsey, Julia and her friend Chris in the 6th. We started our night at “10,” a great little dive bar known for its sangria—18 euros for a large pitcher to share. Decorated in vintage posters and filled with a chill, bohemian crowd that clustered around the jukebox to select Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, 10 felt cozier than most of the other techno-pumping, strobe light, sexed-up bars I’ve been to in the city. After a few hours (and pitchers) we meandered over to the Latin Quarter to the infamous “Latin Corner”. This is a bar staffed entirely by men dressed (and hung) like Rocky from Rocky Horror Picture Show—golden Speedos and all—who dance through artificial smoke to Beyoncé to deliver platters of fruity cocktails to a female and gay clientele. We stayed only long enough to get warm (they keep it really hot for the near-naked servers) and appreciate the scenery before hopping over to the British Long Hop for last call and a pint of Strongbow, a favorite from my Oxford days

By this point we had missed the last metro of the night and our choices were to go through the long process of night buses, track down an expensive taxi, or wait out the morning metro at 5:30.

We opted for the latter.

Still bearing plastic ‘to-go’ cups from Long Hop, we went to go meet up with some friends in a chic bar near Île de la cité. However, after waiting for ten minutes as the bouncers selectively let people in, we opted to head toward the cheaper, more casual area of the Marais. We wandered for a while in search of an elusive bar Lindsey remembered from a previous weekend before the cold and a need for bathrooms finally drove us inside the “Rive Droite”—a friendly bar/restaurant with all-night Karaoke. We ordered a plate of finger foods and a bottle of Chardonnay, cheering on the French covers of 80s love ballads all the while. Lindsey wowed the crowd with her rendition of Brigitte Bardot’s “Harley Davidson” in French, and then we all got up on stage together to sing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”

When Karaoke finally ended it was time to go home. Lindsey and Chris said their goodbyes and turned to trek back, leaving Phinn and I with another half hour to kill before we could retreat from the chilly, pre-dawn wind into the warm underbelly of the metro tunnels. Spotting an open restaurant, we popped in for one of the more bizarre breakfasts of my life—5am soupe à l’oignon gratinée, or in English, the best French onion soup I’ve ever had. An hour later, by 6am, I was in bed. And 12 hours later, at 5pm, I’ve accomplished very little. A waste of a rainy Saturday, perhaps, but 100% worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment