An opulent descent into Pigalle's nocturnal underworld.
Always dreamed of descending into Pigalle’s underword? L'Orphée will more than fulfil your fantasy. To enter, you must knock on a hidden door in South Pigalle, squeezed between neon-lit hostess bars and trendy restaurants. The doorman is picky: only regulars are permitted entry, so come early during the week for a chance to get in. The cloakroom is a former massage parlour, where Jean Marais and Jean Cocteau used to come when the place was a gay club – they lived just above it in fact. Orphée, as well as being Cocteau’s cult film, is more than just a bar, it’s a museum.
The menu comprises two types of cocktail: the classics are €12 and those made with premium liqueur are €16, plus a selection of champagne sold by the bottle (upwards from €100). Go for the Erotica (Beluga vodka, Billecart-Salmon champagne and fresh strawberries) and the house Old Fashioned (St Theresa, orange zest, honye et Angostura bitters), but if you’re not feeling quite so flash with the cash, the Coquine is a joy (rum, pineapple, honey and grenadine syrup).
A small room with a mirror wall serves as the dancefloor, with one of the regulars on the piano and a professional dancer singing on a mike – with some help from the punters, of course. There’s a familial atmosphere – these people know how the magic of Orphée works. We go back and forth between this and the ostentatious smoking room behind the mirror, furnished with cosy armchairs. Just the sort of thing to sink into and nurse a cocktail. Before we know it, it’s 2am and we stumble out into the night – safe in the knowledge we have not seen the last of Orphée.
TRANSLATION: MEGAN CARNEGIE
7 rue Pierre Fontaine
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 8pm-2am|