PARIS — Thirsty for fabulous sightseeing, strolling and shopping? Paris has got you covered. Or maybe you're simply thirsty. No problem. Whether you fancy Champagne atop the Eiffel Tower or coffee at a sidewalk cafe, here are five ways to raise a toast, Parisian style.
You can celebrate a visit to the Eiffel Tower at the landmark's Champagne bar. Make a toast to Ernest Hemingway with your martini at his old hangout at the Ritz Paris. Or give yourself a boost with a double espresso at Les Deux Magots. At Harry's New York Bar, try the classic bloody mary. And warm up with a hot chocolate at the Angelina cafe near Luxembourg Gardens.
POP AT THE TOP
A flute of Champagne is a celebration. A flute of Champagne at the pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower is just that little bit extra. An elegant and enduring monument to 19th-century know-how, the tower attracts around 7 million visitors a year, which means you're probably going to have to put up with some lines. But this is worth a wait. Online tickets are available although they tend to sell out fast. If you want some exercise, you can buy a stair ticket to climb the 704 steps to the second floor and then buy an elevator ticket to the third (top) floor, although you may have to wait if the top is full. The Champagne Bar is more of a takeout window than a bar, serving regular fizz for about $15 a glass and Mumm rose Champagne for $20. Open daily noon-10:45 p.m. except for a one-hour break 5:15-6:15 p.m. Tower hours: 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m., slightly longer in summer. Note stairs are open late in summer only, closing at 6 p.m. the rest of the year. More here: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en/preparing-your-visit/opening-times.
Cole Porter is said to have composed music in the dark and cozy alcove known as the "little bar" at the Ritz Paris. Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway "liberated" the place after the Allies marched into Paris in 1944. Stories vary but the liberation mainly appears to have taken the form of downing a significant number of martinis. Today, you can visit the cozy drinking spot which was renovated and restored a few years ago and is now known as Bar Hemingway, one of three in the grand hotel. The vibe here is comfy man cave—leather chairs, a bust of Hemingway, lots of memorabilia including a few manual typewriters and a fine line-up of cocktails. A good choice to honor Hemingway's legacy is the clean dirty martini that has the requisite briny olive taste but is clear, not cloudy. Located at 15 place Vendome, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
Back in the day, Les Deux Magots buzzed with the talk of artists and intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre and Picasso. Today, it's more of a tourist haunt, but there's still plenty of atmospheric charm at this cafe in the tony Saint-Germain-des-Pres area. Snag a seat in the outdoor area and watch the (well-dressed) world go by as you sip on a classic double espresso. Located at 6 place Saint-Germain des Pres, 7:30 a.m.-1 a.m. And if you can't find a spot at the Deux Magots try the nearby Cafe de Flore, 172 boulevard Saint-Germain, also charming and also embedded in the city's intellectual and artistic history.
A rich, dark, pudding-y brew, the hot chocolate at the Angelina cafes comes with a separate small cup of whipped cream. Expect a dash of tableside theater as the waiter lifts the jug high to send a stream of molten chocolate cascading into your cup. There are a few locations, including the original, Belle Epoque-style tearoom at 226 rue de Rivoli, as well as branches near the Louvre and the Luxembourg museums. No museum entrance required to visit the Luxembourg location and you have the added bonus of being able to walk off some of that chocolate in the large and lovely gardens. Rivoli location hours 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. weekends. More here: http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/.
Harry's New York Bar, near the Palais Garnier at 5 rue Daunou, comes by its name honestly. It was founded in 1911 by an American jockey who had a Manhattan bar dismantled and shipped over. The style is old-school; the white-coated bartenders ply their trade with businesslike efficiency and the paneled walls are covered with mementos, including pennants from several American colleges and paper money from all over. Fun on a busy evening but also excellent in the quiet of a rainy afternoon. The bar is said to be the birthplace of several drinks including the French 75 and the sidecar. But it may be best known as the home of the bloody mary and still serves up a hearty version featuring a liberal amount of Worcestershire sauce and plenty of vodka. According to legend, famous customers include Humphrey Bogart, Coco Chanel and, you guessed it, Hemingway. Open noon-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday.