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Have you ever dreamt of traveling back in time and going to a party in one of those mythical restaurants, cafés, or clubs like in Midnight in Paris? Talking, laughing, drinking, and dancing with your favorite artists, and maybe even spending the night with one of them…?
Well, remember the lesson from Woody Allen’s movie: each generation thinks it missed the Golden Age, that the past was far more exciting than the present… and yet, that means you’re living in the next generation’s idea of the Golden Age, so enjoy the here and now and find the places that will encompass the spirit of your time according to the nostalgic, melancholic storytellers of the future!
If you don’t know where to start, hop on one of the least-used metro lines in Paris, the 7bis, and head to the most bucolic park in the City of Light, the Buttes Chaumont.
Inside the park, on top of a hill, you’ll find what appears to be a huge home surrounded by age-old chestnut trees. There’s a large patio perfect for enjoying the sunset, where you can also eat fresh, Mediterranean tapas and have a glass of rosé. Inside, the cabin the walls are pink and the soundtrack of an eternal summer is playing.
Sound dreamy? It is.
If you go in the afternoon, you’ll find families enjoying a refreshing drink after a long day in the park, with children running all over the place. But on Sunday night, as the last strollers leave, loads of beautiful people of all genders, ages, social class, and sexual orientations quickly fill the place. By 8pm, there will be a long line of cool kids waiting to get into the fully packed bar.
In less than ten years of existence, the Rosa Bonheur has already become part of Parisian folklore. This party place has been featured in Vernon Subutex, the cult series of novels by Virginie Despentes, and it’s also the setting of many of my gay friends’ best stories.
The name itself is a statement: Rosa Bonheur was arguably the most successful female artist of the 19th century. She liked to paint animals, refused to get married, wore pants, kept her hair short, and smoked cigarettes. She lived with a woman. Her last name means “Happiness.” That tells you a lot about the spirit of this LGBT-friendly place.
The Rosa’s co-founder Mimi used to run Pulp, a mythical lesbian nightclub in Paris that closed in 2007. Now, you can spot her behind the bar for the legendary Soirées Gay on Sunday nights. But you’ll probably be too busy dancing and singing along to Madonna with your friends or maybe even flirting with an attractive Parisian to notice. The vibe is friendly, open, and full of positive energy.
Urbansider Tip: Get there early if you want to enjoy the place before it’s fully packed and have time for both long talks on the terrace and plenty of dancing because the Rosa closes at Midnight!
Not in the 19th? Head instead to the Rosa Bonheur sur Seine to enjoy an equally incredible atmosphere in central Paris.