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Girls Gone Wine.


As I settle back into Paris life, I'm once again reminded that getting a job here is nothing short of a nightmare, and am wondering if I will ever find permanent employment here. For the moment, I must kiss goodbye the days of the 10 euro maxi mojito at Les Etages in the Marais, or splurging on the perfect cocktail hand-crafted by resident mixologists at the chichi Hotel Costes. I'm going back to my early days of bar crawling, and discovering some of Paris' cheaper, and even more eclectic watering holes for folks like me on a budget. Even if you're broke, a girl's gotta drink, right?

I've always been a bit of a dive bar enthusiast. I'm not sure if it's because I'm more comfortable in modest surroundings, but I've always found myself drawn to them. Even when living in Hollywood where the glitz and glamour of bumping into A-list celebrities at clubs was accessible, I preferred the plethora of east side dives that drew in the anti-Hollywood crowd that were still totally in essence Hollywood, just you know, the artsy version. Think the Jason Schwartzman and Adam Brody set.

To launch my Diva Does Parisian Dive Bars series, I was lucky to be in the presence of a bloggeuse that I have been itching to meet for now over a year. Like me, she's also a wine officiato whose fridge is currently stocked with six bottles, a girl gone wild per the observations of our mutual blogging buddy Garlic Keith, a little bit diva who was working it in her funky blue maxi dress that I'm kind of obsessed with, and the perfect partner in crime to accompany me on my first dive bar in Paris investigation. Ladies and Gents, if you don't already know her, I introduce to you the lady of the hour who was getting all kinds of Twitter love last week, Miss Gwan of the humorous blog Where in the World is Gwannel Sandiego?

On this rainy Friday night, these two girls gone wild headed to Au Bon Accueil in the 11th Arrondissement for wine, gossip, and giggles. Let's see what they discovered....

Walking into this bar at first can be a bit intimidating. It's obvious that everyone knows each other by the cross-flow of conversation that went from the bar stools over to the banquettes, giving the bar an ambiance of a private house party. The pile of stuff (presumably some of the owner's collectables), stacked in the back corner also lent to this idea of being in someone's cramped home rather than a bar in Paris. The scene is East Village circa 1984 with an eclectic mix of old punks, rock n' rollers, younger hipsters, as well as senior citizen locals enjoying low-priced drinks and conversation to background bar classics Joy Division, Tom Waits, and Gang of Four, on vinyl - of course.

Gwan and I grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered two glasses of wine that came to 5 euros. That's right, 2.50 a piece. Quel rêve! The bartender/owner immediately detected our accent, and asked us in English where we were from. He shared with us that he had lived in Connecticut for 13 years, and if we didn't mind, it would be his pleasure to speak English. Not wanting to deprive him of one his little joys, we indulged in small talk about the bar where he confirmed that every patron is a local and he has served the same customers - with the exception of two English-speaking gals passing through - every night since he had opened. 

With our little glasses, we took a seat at the back booth and got the girl talk a-startin'. We filled each other in on the more complex details behind the stories we post on our blogs, a-hole babies, first dates gone royally bizarre, and men that look like little rats or "ratty men" as Gwan called them. 
 


Coaster Art.

Ladies who lobster.
Why wouldn't there be a plastic lobster in a bar?

At one point, we drew in a small crowd around our table of regulars who were intrigued by the two Anglo cuties (I added the cutie part) who took a dare on such a local bar, as well as the cheap wine that were already three glasses down the hatch. Everyone was quite welcoming and forthcoming, and a few of the patrons even mouthed us a polite "bon soir" as they passed our table on their way to the bathroom; something I have never experienced in a Parisian bar. Could you see that happening at Hotel Costes? Ne totes pas.

Au Bon Accueil was a refreshing break from your typical brasserie, the "hot spot" in the center of town, or in my case, simply getting hammered at home on whatever is on sale at Franprix. If you don't mind slumming it in a bar whose appearance is not for the faint of heart, and want to indulge in conversation with eccentric folk in a place with a lot of soul, Au Bon Accueil is just your dive. I will definitely be adding this bar to my list of favorite spots in the 11th arrondissement.

Thank you so much Gwan for trekking over there with me on a cool rainy night to explore a different side of Paris. I look forward to seeing a slice of "your" Tours some day! 

Au Bon Accueil
64, rue Alexandre Dumas
75011 Paris

25 comments:

  1. That sounds very much like the little village bars in Provence where we often go on holiday, although I've never encountered a plastic lobster. Terrible multicoloured streamer curtains, awful mirrors and pastis jugs, but never a plastic lobster...

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    1. Are you saying there are many bars like that available in Provence?!

      I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I so chose the wrong city in France to settle down in!

      But we do get the plastic lobster, so maybe Paris does have it goin' on!

      Thanks Katy...and LOVE the zucchini rolls you just posted!

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  2. Glad you enjoyed yourselves. GM x

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    1. Hi Gwan's mom!

      Yes, we had a lovely time. Your daughter is so special. I'm honored that she selected me out of all of her other friends in Paris to spend the evening with. Really. Meeting her was an absolute pleasure.

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  3. Oh my "gosh", how do I follow up such a fun, classy post? Thank you so much for showing me there is a Paris beyond the tourist traps, one populated with little ratty men and fabulous bloggers! Mwah!

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    1. Oh my 'gosh', I like don't know!

      Gwan, I have to say, I miss your blog posts. I'm needy and I need more Gwan in my life.

      Please post. : ) Like no presh or anything.

      I LOVED meeting you! You are such a cutie! I really wanted to hug you...but held back.

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    2. I'm blushing! Hug away next time & I will get to posting soon, promise!

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  4. Sounds like you lovely ladies had such a wonderful time! And the bar sounds really cool! It must have been so nice to have such a friendly welcome!

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    1. We had a blast! Now you're next on the agenda! When will you be coming to Paris, missy? ; )

      I promise I'll take you to a dive bar!

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  5. After being unplugged from social media all weekend, it was fun to read about Gwan's and your first meeting on Friday night! I'm amazed that there's a place in Paris that sells wine for 2.50 euros a glass. Quel rêve is right! But oddly enough, I didn't see any reference to a certain jumpsuit...

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    1. I bet it felt good to be unplugged all weekend. I'm trying to do that myself. At least take a Sunday break...

      Meeting Gwan was a delight. She is just as witty, dry, and funny as I had expected. And her accent. J'adore.

      I didn't wear the jumpsuit! It was too wet out and that outfit REQUIRES heels. The jumpsuit will make a debut at one of our get togethers...t'inquiete!

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  6. God this blog is so underrated. You really find such creative things to do and see in Paris.

    Thank you for letting us gals in the midwest know that Paris isn't just about baguettes, cafes and the Eiffel Tower. You're really know how to explore a city.

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    1. Hahaha underrated! Well I don't agree because you stopped by and all of my other lovely readers and I say it's quality over quantity! : )!

      I'm so glad that I was able to give you a peek into Paris living outside of the Sex and the City series finale!

      Thanks for commenting, PJ!

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  7. With brand new Navigo passes that are just itching to be used, we just may have to make our way to the 11th to get a sense of the arrondissement, it is on the way to the obligatory visit to Père Lachaise after all. I have a feeling this is not the last time we will read about this new discovery.

    and, it has been tagged in Urbacolors !!!
    cheers
    conrad

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    1. Hi Conrad!!! It was so lovely meeting you at the Kale party! What a nice surprise to meet you AND Joseph the Butler! It was certainly a special night for all.

      Thanks for downloading Urbacolors!!! Woo hooo!!! Keep tagging!

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  8. Nice description of a dive bar! I was expecting some drunken old men trying to pick you guys up but it sounds quite lovely! I guess it lives up to its name.

    Job hunting in France is pretty tough- I'm still applying. My friend had to send out 300 applications to score 1 internship (and 7 interviews)! I hope we find something.. and hopefully I'll find something interesting in Paris! I'd already be set in knowing where to drink on the cheap. ;-)

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    1. No, no drunken men trying to pick us up. Just folk who wanted to practice speaking English. It was charming really. Yes, the name is so apropos!

      Job hunting! AHHHHHHH! Don't even want to think about all the emails I've sent out that have been ignored! Good luck to you too and if you end up in P-town, two rounds are on me Au Bon Accueil! ; )

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    2. Awwww Thanks L!!!
      Will let you know how it goes. Keep me posted as well!
      Bisous xx

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  9. How fun! Love the concept of this new series. And I really want to have coaster art in my home now--what a cute idea!

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    1. Thanks Meredith! Omg! Long time! How are you, my little writer? : )

      Coaster art does sound fun. Like every time you have someone over, they great a little something for you...

      Sounds "pinnable". ; )

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  10. Glad to read they welcome senior citizens as well. One for my list, especially as it is in what is fast becoming my "hood"

    Good luck to both you and Gwan with your jobhunting.

    Live Denise

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    1. Okay, when I said senior citizens, I wasn't estimating. There were like 90 year olds in there! It was a great mix of 20-somethings and 90-somethings! LOL!

      Do you live close-by?

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    2. Actually I live in the north of the UK, but I am one of those mad women who love Paris and visit around every six weeks. I love the 11th, mostly around Oberkampf, which is a way from this bar I know, but I am secretly building a life for myself for when I can go to live there. (in my dreams!)
      For the present I will go as often as my megre pension will allow.
      I know Mary Kay and Sylvia, and you really MUST meet Jane, I am sure you two would get on well.

      Love Denise

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  11. I foresee a party coming up.... this is the perfect excuse for a party... Not that we need a reason, but I need a PAH-tay!!! Take me there....

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    1. Omg, Sylvia! I'm just picturing you there! They would all get such a kick out of you!!! We need a blogger dive bar night!

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