The worst bar in Paris is a bold statement, and honestly, it may not be true. After all, I’ve only been to a half-dozen bars in the City of Lights, but I would like to share what I think comes in Number 1.
My wife found a link on to Le P’tit Bar, a tiny place in the 20th arrondissement, about a half-mile from Pere Lachaise. (Come on, you know you wanted to see Jim Morrison’s grave.) The bar looked interesting, so off we went, navigating our way through the streets of Paris on our search. When we arrived, the lights were off, so it didn’t look like it was open. But, my wife tried the door, and apparently the bar was open. Time to explore this mysterious “time capsule”.
Have you ever read “Great Expectations”? I hope so, because if not, this next reference will be lost on you. The place reminded me of Miss Havisham’s home, Satis House, a place frozen in time after Miss Havisham was left at the alter. Le P’tit Bar reminded me of Satis House. It seemed to have been a fun place at some distant time in the past, with a tropical feel and colored lights in the corners, a place to spend an evening drinking with friends. But something happened in the past, and everything froze at a place in time when that terrible event occurred.
So here we go. The “petite” (small in French) was certainly true – there were only a few seats. But in addition to the smallness of the place was the “smellness” of the place. Bird guano, dust and age were the main smells, but let’s not forget the bags of stale bread, and the rotting food left on the floor for one of the world’s fattest cats. In the cat’s defense, though, he could still jump up on our laps, and he was very friendly.
Our limited (i.e. awful) French was not enough for my wife to order a glass of wine. Apparently, “vin rouge”, which worked in all the other bars we visited, was not enough here, and we settled for “biere belge” straight from the bottle. Which was probably for the best, because I doubt the glasses were clean. The glasses on the shelves and the bottles of liquor were covered with dust. And the flies buzzing around inside didn’t help the ambiance either.
Since I mentioned that cat and the bird (something had to produce that guano), I’ll mention “Madame Polo”. We had a short conversation with her, the owner, basically about cats and children, the two things we had in common. And she runs a bar at 90+ years of age. That is pretty impressive. Had I spoken more French, I’ll bet I could have learned some very fascinating things from her.
Unique? Yes. Pleasant? No. I never saw my wife drink a bottle of beer that fast in her life, and that was to escape the smell and the flies. If that kind of experience works for you, you’ll be right at home. If you prefer a bar that has been cleaned since the turn of the century, I suggest you look elsewhere. in either case, it was certainly out of the ordinary, and if you are interested in it, you can find “Le P’tit Bar” at 7 rue Richard Lenoir 75011 Paris.
It was a memorable visit, I give it that.