In my hard partying disco days of the late 70s/early 80s in New York, I frequented the clubs Studio 54, Xenon and Area. When I came to Paris during those years I went to a club in an area I had never been before, the Marais. It was Les Bain Douches, a former bathhouse from the late 1800s which was transformed into a nightclub, bar and disco. I remember how fun it was and the coolest thing was they had a swimming pool in the basement. Les Bains Douches was the hotspot during that period with celebrities and models including Jack Nicholson, Naomi Campbell, Catherine Deneuve, Grace Jones, and David Bowie. Unfortunately the legendary club shuttered in 2010. A young, unknown designer Philippe Starck, who later shot up to worldwide fame, designed the interior.
In 2015 Les Bains Douches was revived and renamed Les Bains. The owners took the essence of the old club and updated it for a new generation. Now it’s a club, restaurant and hotel.
I was invited to last month on a tour and for lunch at the rechristened legend. One couldn’t figure what was beyond the commanding entrance of dark wood framed glass doors with iron gates but when looking down, a small, subtle mat had LES BAINS 1885 1978 2015 imprinted on it.
Once inside, the foyer and lobby led to a spacious bar and dining area, Le Salle a Manger, that felt like being in a exclusive club with a dark, low lit atmosphere, mahogany tables, burnt red resin columns and lacquered walls, handsome burgundy leather banquettes and mid-century style dining chairs. The black and white checked mosaic floor with flecks of metallic consists of over two million hand-laid tiny tiles and is a modern recreation of the original Philippe Starck dance floor.
The daytime menu at Le Salle a Manger has a small selection of light dishes. My dining companion had a healthy but delicious salad of beet puree, quinoa, kale, green apple and pomegranate and I had carrot soup followed by house made smoked salmon and cucumber platter. The menu also includes an all day breakfast of omelets, eggs Benedict, French toast and buttermilk pancakes plus fresh energy juices. The dinner menu, under the consultancy of two star chef Philippe Labbe´ and executed by chef Michael Riss, is much fuller with starters, main dishes and desserts plus large sharing plates.
We were shown a few of the 39 rooms designed by Tristan Auer, a promising talent recently who was named one of the ten best interior designers of tomorrow by Architectural Digest. The retro touches in the rooms include replica sofas of Andy Warhol’s Factory, rugs inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Joy Division album covers. Five junior and two full sized suites are equipped with private hammams.
The downstairs club was smaller than I remember and I was happy to see it still had a pool. It is now also a music and small concert venue and one can rent it for private events.
Other features of Les Bains are the former water tank Le Reservoir, which has been transformed into a private dining space for 12 guests, Le Salon Chinois, an intimate boudoir for afternoon tea, Les Bains Guerbois, the pool and spa, a retail shop and Le Salon Secret, a five room apartment suite with a private elevator.
Opened in 1885, Les Bains Guerbois was a tony private bathhouse started by Francois Auguste Guerbois, a major figure in Parisian society. The bathhouse attracted the most celebrated writers, philosophers, artists and poets of its time including Emile Zola, Manet and Proust.
7 Rue du Bourg l'Abbé, 75003
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.