Last month my good friend came to Paris. We went on three nights out and I have documented all of them.
Here is what happened on night number 1.
WORDS: Anna Christine
“This has to be the wrong address.”
Look down at google, then back up at the place.
No, it is right.
LE PALACE CLUB
We’re outside an old theatre, with three weird men outside, who all look like ex cons.
Reluctantly we enter the hallway, which looks like it’s seen no action since the 1920s.
Go down some steps and open two heavy black doors to find…
The provisions of a school disco.
Semi spacious dance floor, blue, pink and red lights, a mediocre, at best, DJ
and of course, a disco ball.
Move to the…
It’s indoors and on some…staircases.
Bit niche, and also, a bit bloody cheeky!
As paying customers, we deserve better!
Like most indoor smoking areas, it’s balmy and insufferable, almost enough to put you off cigs forever.
He’s wearing the type of outfit that says: amateur skater, full time raver.
…Baggy grey jeans (that are constantly falling down), a blue baseball cap and Adidas Samba OGs.
The type of outfit you’ve seen:
1.) Playing snooker at Canavans.
2.) Smoking weed at uni behind the bins.
From afar he’s good looking -like a young, FRANCOphied,James Franco.
“Do you ‘av a ceee-gahr-ret?”
and his voice is deep and raspy.
“Je suis désolée bro.” I reply, double checking my packet.
(Down to my last cigarette).
Notice his teeth-uneven and a yellowish brown, suggesting too many filterless cigarettes/ goes on a crack pipe.
Take back James Franco.
I ask if he has plans for later and he says:
“No. I don’t have af-tehr party….
I go Sann-Trohh-payy in morning.”
Is waving for me to come over.
She’s on the other side of the smoking area, talking up some OAP who looks like a less sexy Willem Dafoe.
“You look like Willem Dafoe.”
“No, Dafoe looks like me.”
Steadyyyy on squire, I was just being charitable.
Jacques is loitering with his two mates. One is a pretty red head with a standoffish face, standing next to
a bucket hat wearing geezer. They don’t say a word to each other, but apparently they’re going to fuck later.
Jacques’s taken a shine to Jess, and so has Steve, who cornered me on the dance floor to ask:
“What’s your friend’s name?”
Now he’s on about some BBQ.
“Do you want to come to a barbecue tomorrow Jess-eeca?”
“Do you like sausages Jess-eeca?”
I roll my eyes because aren’t French men supposed to have game?
Also, I like sausages too, Steve!!
Phone lights up.
It’s an Instagram message from Thomas, a French dude we met back in London.
“At a party in the Marais.”
Jacques says and his eyes light up, as much as they can (they’re quite dim).
“I leeve therh!! I can get an Ubair wizz you guys!”
We all squeeze together in the back. Still no word from Thomas-
no “come along”, no address… so you could say this drive is somewhat counterintuitive.
Finally, phone rings.
Jess and I shoot up in our seats.
Thomas’s face lights up the screen.
Didn’t realise Instagram even had a video chat feature…blimey!
Jacques grabs the phone and he laughs and
“Ah! C’est vrai?”
“d’accord, weee d’accord!”
like they’re long lost friends, and we ask what’s being said but are swatted away,
like two toddlers interrupting Daddy’s business call.
Sitting in silence, both of us scratch heads, listening out for clues to piece together what the hell they’re saying.
One thing, we do understand.
“Bien.. you met Jesseeca and Annérrr at za club too?”
Phone call finally ends.
“So…what’s the deal?” I say, on tenterhooks.
“All the guys at party sleeping, we don’t go thehhhr…”
“Lovely stuff Jacques…just great!”
“Pah deh problemeeeee…I knows a place.”
Now we’re walking past a park, the sky a chalk blue.
This could be romantic if this scenario was in every way different.
Somebody emerges out the park gates-
corgi, whose stomach is grazing the pavement. I always thought my spirit guide would be a wolf, but
“Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it”– Ronan Keating.
Looming ahead, stands a figure in all black.
Black leather coat, black hair, black mono brow and is blowing on a black flute.
The Pied Piper at a funeral.
(Whoever said dogs resemble their owners must not have met this pair.)
All that blowing feels like a cry for attention, a pointless one at that, because the corgi isn’t just ignoring the flute, but going out his way to spite it, now cradled in the arms of his new found friend,Jacques.
Whistle is now high pitched and quicker.
Swear it’s the tune of Avicii’s “Levels” but I am still drunk, so who’s to say.
Corgi breaks out of Jacques arms, paws hit cement and begin circling- a flash of a fang, a meaningful snarl.
Jacques, taken aback by all this, is crouched down, liaising with the hound, who is now, dangling off his trouser leg.
Time to leave.
I forgot to mention earlier that I took a tumble down the club’s stairs.
As a result, my new shoes have broken so I’m scuffling behind Jess and Jacques like a Year 6 kid practising his ‘Crip walk’.
They’re having a whale of a time, (despite the language barrier), elbowing each other and screaming.
Do I feel left out?
Yeah, but just a bit.
Finally we arrive at.. Place # 1.
A bar that is… “Ferme.” (closed)
“No no, there’s a plass open 24 ow-ers just down eerhh.”
He mumbles, pulling his trousers up. I halt, like a kid who’s been promised ice cream, and doesn’t now know if the shop even exists.
Decide to persevere, opting for a limp jog,because these good-4-nothing shoes won’t stop me from getting in on the banter!!!
Arrive at.. Place #2.
A blur of high res jackets sit at the bar-builders trying to wake up before their shift.
Their heads turn in slow motion, then back down to their mugs, unamused by the reek of booze and cigarettes that’s just walked in.
“Shot and bierh Monsieur, Jacque says… vodka.”
Oli and I look at each other, panicked.
Not vodka…anything but vodka.
We whisper to the bartender:
“PRO-s-s-e-c-o in shot glass, s’il voo plate?”
“So that’ll be two VODKA shots sir!!”
We shout, giving Jacques a thumbs up.
Stumble back outside to find…
Who is standing on the street, wearing reflective sunglasses, Reggae blaring off his phone.
I can tell he’s going to slot into this shit show instantly.
He seems surprisingly straight for 6am, even equipped with a brown bag full of pain au chocolats.
A pint for J and me and a disgusting yellow drink that tastes of aniseed for the boys.
Apparently it’s a French ‘delicacy’.
Jacques disappears and when he comes back the manager stomps on over to us, red faced, shouting something ‘en Francais’.
Thomas, exasperated by the whole ordeal, translates:
“Your friend has been… kicked out.”
“He… missed the urinal.”
“He pissed in the sink.”