My Paris, Week 23: 12 Pubs of Christmas and Frenchie bar à vins
This week I learned… something… about restraint… or knowing your limits… or something like that. It’s all kind of a blur really.
So what happened is that my French class partners, Tríona and Oisin, invited me to something called “12 Pubs of Christmas.” Basically, the goal was to hit up twelve different pubs in twelve hours, drinking a beer at each one. We started with a lovely brunch at Tríona and Oisin’s place, where we all looked bright-eyed and chipper in our Christmas jumpers.
Each pub had a rule, such as: you must wear a Christmas jumper, or drink with your non-dominant hand, or not call anyone by their real name. Penalties for rule-breakers included drinking shots and doing Irish dances. Keep this sober, late-morning photo in mind. We degenerated quickly.
I think part of the thing I learned was something about not starting out too strong. There were two options you could choose from to fully participate: drink one pint at each pub (A-team), or one half-pint (B-team). Note that, in Paris, what they call a pint is really 500cl, so the A-teamers would be drinking a total of six liters total. I decided to start out on the A-team, then kick down to the B-team eventually. That decision was my downfall.
Downfall, literally. See that low chain in the photo above? Yeah. In my inebriation and rush to get a picture before the group dispersed, I didn’t realize that it was there and tripped on it. Flat-out faceplanted onto the cobblestones. I even got a scratch on my nose and bruises on my hands. I’ve got to thank Edna for taking care of me after the fall and hauling a slightly shocked and creaky mass of bones to the next bar.
This is where my photo record shorts out. I had been planning to Instagram the whole ordeal, but I lost data connection somewhere around here. I do know we had a quick but delicious stand-up dinner at L’Avant Comptoir that involved some delicious pig’s ear and foie and rice pudding. Must return when I have more wits about me.
Then near the last bar we all started taking photos again, probably because we all just wanted to show that we’d made it. And apparently Oisin wanted to be in all the photos.
(The top-left photo is from the ever-on-the-spot Edna.)
All in all, a very educational and culturally enriching experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but probably drink half-pints throughout. All of us who completed the 12 pubs even got certificates signed by the organizers! Which led to my favorite comment the next day, from one of the French A-team dudes: “Bon j’ai retrouvé un certificat dans ma poche ce matin donc je suppose que je suis allé jusqu’au bout mais je sais pas comment.”
Later this week I met up with Caroline at probably the hottest wine bar in Paris, Frenchie bar à vins. The line always forms before they even open for the night and, because we got there early enough to be the second party in line, we got some of the best seats in the house — right next to the huge window looking into the kitchen, where a team of incredibly good-looking chefs prepared beautiful dishes. We nerded out watching them. Dinner and a show!
Enough has been written about Frenchie to fill several guidebooks, so all I will say is: get the ventrêche and the wagyu beef pastrami. You won’t be sorry.
Frenchie bar à vins
5-6 rue du Nil, 75002 (Sentier)
01 40 39 96 19