Bastille invariably draws a crowd, particularly along rue de Lappe, 11e, which is awash with raucous bars. Continue further east and the options become much more stylish and appealing, with wine bars, intimate clubs and backstreet cocktail dens.
Rue de Lappe
Although at night it’s one of the rowdiest bar-hopping streets in Paris, rue de Lappe is actually quite peaceful during the day. Like most streets in the area, it dates back to the 17th century and was originally home to cabinetmakers, who first moved into the area to escape the taxes and restrictions imposed by guilds operating within the city limits.
In the centuries that followed, the street was gradually taken over by metalworkers, who equipped the city with its zinc bars, copper piping and the like: one of the busiest bars on the street, Bar des Ferrailleurs, is a hip homage to these workers. At the same time, immigrants from the central French region of Auvergne also moved in, opening up cafés-charbons, places where you could go for a drink and buy coal at the same time. In this way the street eventually became a popular drinking strip, and its accordion-driven dance halls, which hosted bals-musettes, were to become famous throughout Paris. The dance hall Le Balajo dates back to 1936 and continues to host weekly bals musettes.