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Brothels and Bagels; A View into Secret Paris

Somewhere beneath the Parisian streets, in a secluded basement on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, is the wonderfully historic Delaville Cafe.  With its rather dubious, and certainly notorious history as a popular brothel, it’s undoubtedly not the sort of place my mother would like to find me in; but it’s clearly proud of its past, clinging to its origins with worryingly dark decor and some traditional red lights, not to mention some exquisite early 19th century tapestries which still hang on its walls.

The Delaville is a local favourite, a trendy cafe by day and popular bar by night.  Frequented by mainly Parisian locals, you’ll certainly fit in if you speak fluent French, but you’ll still be welcomed if you don’t.

The menu for the cafe-come-restaurant is remarkably chic, yet unusually eclectic.  Scallops and salmon tartare, or panned fois gras with green tomato chutney, demonstrate a typically French flair with food.  But, these wonderful dishes sit on the same menu as Italian and Iberian antipasti dishes, a Brooklyn inspired bagel, and English fish and chips, which somehow seems strange.  But whilst the continuity of the menu choices may be in doubt, the dishes themselves are not.  The food is fresh and beautifully cooked and the service comes with a smile.  Definitely worth venturing in for.

Stay with the Delaville right through to evening and you’ll be in for a treat with regular live DJs and a calendar of special events that really pull in a crowd.  Sip a cocktail or two and enjoy the hyped up atmosphere as this bar, which is used to revelling in the night, really springs into life.

Written by:  Fiona Galloway, Editor

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