There’s never been a better time to visit Paris, always filled with beautiful, stylish people, easy to get around in, and not as ruinously expensive as some other capital cites we could name.
For one thing it’s got a unique conviviality, with gaggles of gorgeous young women thronging every corner café, partaking in the national pastime of drinking, smoking and pouting.
Beyond the surface, however, you really need to be – or at least know – a native to navigate the scene; done right you can experience more diversity, and better cocktails, in a single evening than practically anywhere else.
Emile Chaillot, gregarious Parisian native, bartender and Grey Goose Brand Ambassador, is the man you want as your guide on a proper tippler’s tour.
The ultra-premium vodka made using French winter wheat and pure spring water from the Cognac region pops up on every respectable cocktail menu in town, and Chaillot seems to know everyone wielding a silver shaker within 50 miles of the Eiffel Tower. In ultra-cool spots like Le Syndicat which focuses on French spirits it’s the only vodka they serve.
From classic hotel bars to the hippest neighborhood hangouts, this is where to drink now in the City of Lights:
Start at the top at this palatial spot in the legendary Hotel de Crillon, favored by everyone from Winston Churchill to Taylor Swift.
“There are few bars more elegant than this,” Chaillot says. “With its floor to ceiling marble and 18th century décor, it’s hard to feel more Parisian than sipping a cocktail here with live jazz playing in the background. I’m also continually impressed with their lengthy and ever-changing cocktail list.”
Malkovich recently popped up on the house Insta at this iconic watering hole featured in a famed 1930s flick of the same name, and it retains the gritty glamour of the era.
“Filled with hip Parisians and tourists alike, Hotel du Nord is a mix of modern and historic,” Chaillot notes. “Bartenders pay careful attention to detail and use the best ingredients, and the result is elevated, perfectly curated cocktails.”
Equally impressive is the extremely gentlemanly bar at the Four Seasons George V, wood paneled and impeccably staffed.
“A rendezvous at this iconic yet intimate space is like no other,” says Chaillot. “Even amongst the movers and shakers of the city who frequent this spot, I always feel welcomed by the genius mixologists behind the bar. Their Vesper 2.0 is a version of Ian Fleming’s favorite martini made with Grey Goose.”
4. Le Syndicat
This is one of the coolest spots in town, worlds away from the likes of the Crillon but every bit as innately French.
“Hidden behind quilted curtains, this speakeasy-style spot has a grungy and industrial feel that makes their sophisticated cocktails stand out even more. As a bartender, I appreciate their use of original homemade syrups and exclusive stock of French liquors, many of which can’t be found anywhere else.”
5. Andy Wahloo
There’s an exotic ‘70s vibe at this sexy boîte near the Marais which serves up drinks like the Pornstar Martini, a blend of vodka, passionfruit liqueur, lime, and a shot of champagne.
“Sometimes I forget that I’m in Paris with this space’s neon lights and floral walls,” Chaillot tells us. “I’m attracted by the funky décor, but I stay for the eccentric cocktails. Andy Wahloo’s use of infused spirits is unparalleled and sets them apart from Paris’ more traditional places.”
This super-stylish Italian eatery has a bustling cocktail scene second to none, as well as the best brick-oven pizza in town.
“Their mixologists are on the vanguard of change in the bar scene,” Chaillot notes, “using ingredients like mustard seeds, tapioca balls, and bourbon washed with brown butter to create fresh drinks with superb presentation. Their house cocktail is like Provence in a glass.”
Large format cocktails served in vintage glassware are the order of the day at this hidden gem festooned with greenery and some of the prettiest faces in Paris.
“This place calls itself the garden of cocktails and it’s quite obvious why,” Chaillot says. “Punchbowls overflow with fresh exotic flavors you don’t often find at other bars. And even though the cocktail menu is short, it’s all about quality over quantity.”