By Ilona Kauremszky
Now across France, bars tried-and-true along with a new vintage of wine bars are unfurling sweet sensations, many offering splendid views.Ilona Kauremszky
“Ahhh santé,” we say in unison, peering deep into each other’s eyes like the French. With a chubby glass of Beaujolais in hand and views to die-for, I feel as blissfully happy as my favorite French film character, Amélie, who infectiously smiled at every turn when her faraway dreams came true. Let’s toast to some scenic bars.
In Paris, Ephemeral Champagne
BarAtop the iconic 1889 World’s Fair creation by Gustave Eiffel appears this quirky bar-in-a-closet motif designed in eye-popping orange and white. It’s more like a canteen. There’s no seating, but it’s fun to walk around with your choice of chilled white or pink bubbly selected by chef extraordinaire Alain Ducasse. The view: Have plenty of file card space in your camera for the highest spot in town and prepare for 360-degree bird’s eye views of Paris. See the Siene, the Trocadero with the green Jardin du Trocadero and the immense Jardin du Champ de Mars surrounding the Eiffel Tower.
In Lyon, Le Phosphore Wine Bar
Situated on the site of the former hospital Antiquaille, one of Lyon’s master chefs, Christian Têtedoie, has embarked on a vignoble fantasy set inside a rock-faced exterior that reminds you of walking into a cellar. Soft music warms the evening. The tapas-style menu accompanies a hefty wine list culled from notable wineries in the region. The view: Overlooking the Saône River on the hilltop of Fourvière, the wine bar and the accompanying restaurant Têtedoie are fast turning into the to-be-seen spot in this sublime setting. Fabulously delicious city views from this perch.
In Cagnes-sur-Mer, the French Riviera, Art Beach Bar
Renoir lingered in this small seaside town on the French Riviera and so have countless literary figures. Now, flashy luxury-seekers are heading to a new funky seaside/roadside bar for their creative fix. The edgy new venue has art installations showcasing Columbian, French and Korean artists. France’s enfant terrible in furniture design, Paul Silvera, and Moroso are the guest designers who have made the ambiance playful, complete with prefab walls in psychedelic shades that resemble a giant crayon box filled with brightly colored chairs. If you feel the need to unwind, book a beach massage with the on-site masseuse. The view: Great views of the Mediterranean.
On the Island of Martinique, Ti Sable
After the jungle canopy walks and hikes by the dramatic volcano Mount Pelée, it’s undoubtedly time for a cool drink. Cue to the bar-fringed boardwalk in Fort-de-France overlooking the Caribbean Sea, where transatlantic yachts bob by the pier. This fabulous Foyalais (people of Fort-de-France) favorite is known for the classic Ti-Punch. Dine in Balinese huts nestled on the beach and soak up the tropical vibe. On Sunday nights, Creole bands perform. No wonder locals call it Les pieds dans l’eau: “A little Paris in the Caribbean.” The view: People watch and catch the radiant sunsets as you lounge by the sea.