Darkness. That’s what you find behind that big black metal door covered in graffiti as you walk along the Saint Martin’s Canal, where you would never think of going inside unless someone tells you about this quaint bar, Le Comptoir Général.
There was a security guard standing outside that door the first time I passed it. But something struck me as odd and I wanted to investigate, so I went in. There is a dark mysterious alley where the most fearful ones wouldn’t dare walk towards. However, if you walk to the end you will see an old door with a neon sign making you feel like you are entering a brothel. Beyond that, you actually enter a different decade, a different style, a different place where everything is possible. It’s a place for fantasy, for African dandies and for bohemians, but mostly for people who can be whoever they want. I felt like I had just stepped into a movie.
At the entrance, there is a historically decorated corridor. Further into the bar, there are different rooms and (like the man at the end of the corridor explains) it is actually a vintage museum with original and different objects, from old vintage cameras and vinyls to a Gremlins movie poster. Everything is presented in a fun and unique way, creating an amazing Cuban-like atmosphere.
The first day I went there I saw men dressed as a modern day dandy doing a photo shoot in the corridor. The next day, there was a great African band performing in the biggest room. In the second room, which is more exotic, complete with a bar and palm trees – I enjoyed an amazing dish of exotic food. Also, for those who want to relax and enjoy the scene, there is a small and cozy terrace with many plants surrounding.
An added bonus – if you love the vintage look, there’s a vintage shop upstairs with very unique items to blend in to the style of Le Comptoir Général.
Paris is a world of chances and you never know what you will find. Next time you walk along the Saint Martin’s Canal and see that suspicious door – located at 80, Quai de Jemmapes – don’t be shy. I invite you to let yourself explore and get into that parallel and magical place!
If you want to know more and find out about the events and bar in general, check the website here.
Written by: Natalia Sanchez