The hôtel particulier that houses Le Carmen is an opulent, rococo architectural gem, built at the height of Empire decadence in 1875, where Bizet wrote his famous opera. Enormous ceilings with moulded frescoes, sculpted columns, sparkling crystal lamps and gigantic mirrors all recall the ostentation of the era. Now an extremely hip bar, decorator Antoine Plateau was given carte blanche to enhance the decadent décor and he has outdone himself, with beds in the salons, golden cages hanging from the ceiling, Renaissance sofas and red velvet everywhere. The entertainment lineup is glittering to match, spanning artistic performances, DJ sets and acoustic concerts.
The cocktail menu is brilliantly creative, if not cheap, but you don’t come here to slum it. Just look around the bar: models, hipsters and VIP party-goers all air-kissing each other. Still, even if you’re not a fully paid-up member of Paris’s elite nightlife you won’t have as much trouble getting in as at many other select clubs, as the door policy is more relaxed.