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The Delaville Café in an unmissable stop on the Grands Boulevards, possessed as it is of a vast sunny terrace equipped with atomisers, open from springtime onwards. Frequented by the chic – the children of celebrities, designers and journalists, wannabe fashionistas – the ambiance, like most of the bars in the area, is a little precious. But the décor of the huge venue is a delight, a lively mixture of ancient gilt rococo and post-industrial baroque furniture. If you’re wondering what sort of past could have produced all this ancient marble and tempered steel, the café’s previous incarnations include being a brothel in Napoleon’s Paris in the 19th century, an upmarket eatery during the Belle Epoque, a Chinese restaurant and finally a trendy café-restaurant. The pomp of its past has left us with the staircase, all marble and iron fretwork, colonnades, ceilings of sculpted wood and the bar’s elegant gilded mosaics.
Today, the high glass ceiling between the bar and the terrace is stunning, full of light even in winter, and the back room surprises with all the decadence of an upmarket London club: banquettes in red pleather, stuffed animals and plasma screens. In the restaurant, if the menu of world cuisine looks intriguing (chicken with accents of mango, turmeric and lemongrass, say) the flavours tend to disappoint – bar the tiramisu with Nutella – making this a place for a drink rather than dinner. DJs mix unobtrusive electro lounge sets on weekends. Free Wi-Fi.