Going to the Paris Opera at the Bastille can be a daunting experience for those uninitiated to this area that is a bit far from the centre of town (the building itself is a nondescript bunker that cannot compare with the gilded parapets of its sister institution, the Palais Garnier). Also, for those going to the opera by private transport, not only is it now quite a hurdle to go through the various one-way streets and pedestrian-only stretches recently instituted by the authorities in the city centre, it is also a test to find un-touristy bars or bistros where one can quench one’s thirst (or hunger) before the theatre finally opens its doors to the waiting spectators.
Well, happily, on a recent sun-splashed early evening, we stumbled on this fun-looking bistro cum bar just a few blocks from the opera house. Happy hour was also just about to start! The waitress graciously acquiesced to our request that the ‘mojito’ not contain any sugar and that our ‘margarita’ be frozen, not stirred nor shaken.
We accompanied these cocktails with a luscious guacamole, a plate of very fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, and some lovely fish and chips. All reasonably priced (happy hours oblige!) – certainly a far cry from the Opera bar where a flute of champagne costs € 12 a pop and tiny sandwiches even more so.
We will certainly return the next time we again have tickets for a night at the opera§
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