Having taken up residence in the former L’Etoile nightclub, L’Arc Paris has brought a new layer of extravagance to 12 rue de Presbourg. With its mirrored ceiling, alabaster bar and cowhide-covered chairs, this sleek, two-year-old retreat already has a character and signature all of its own. For the ultimate in contemporary luxury, order a pineapple and basil martini, an own-blend based – surprisingly – on rum.
L’Arc Paris, 12 rue de Presbourg, 75016 Paris, +33 (0)1 4500 7870
Through an unmarked door in a 19th-century mansion to the south of place Pigalle is Le Carmen, a baroque bar with such decorative flourishes as a grand piano, a larger-than-life birdcage and a whirl of plaster cherubs. It was here that composer Georges Bizet wrote part of the opera Carmen and the atmosphere lives on in the building. The book club, held on the last Wednesday of every month, draws a wildly eclectic set of musicians, glamorous locals and in-the-know expats.
Carmen, 34 rue Duperré, 75009 Paris, +33 (0)1 4526 5000
Island Bar, Mama Shelter
Situated near the Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement, the Philippe Starck-designed Mama Shelter is one of the city’s most colourful design hotels. Its Island Bar explores a wealth of offbeat ideas, from a chalkboard ceiling to ‘mocktails’ named after rappers such as Busta Rhymes and Ice Cube. The DJ decks, squidgy sofas and knowledgeable bar staff make this a favourite evening hangout.
Island Bar, Mama Shelter, 109 rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris, +33 0(1) 4348 4545
Le China achieves style and symmetry: its chequered floor, deep red pillars and round tables suggest the honeyed elegance of a colonial salon. The cocktail menu at this oriental-inspired bar and restaurant is interesting and varied. Alongside well-known classics such as the gin fizz or the Singapore sling are several new takes on traditional themes. Note the balsamico rosso, a punchy mix of vodka, Chambord liqueur, fresh raspberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar and rocket.
Le China, 50 rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris, +33 (0)1 4346 0809