At 9 meters squared, Le Pt’t Bar is literally the most petit bar in Paris. Inside, a ninety-something year-old bartender, known as Madame Polo , her slightly over-fed gray cat and a cage of canaries are your hosts. Serving Belgian beer, Calvados and wine in her surreal post-war era time machine, Madame Polo squeezes in a diverse and loyal clientele that includes locals of the 11eme arrondissement, South American and British ex pats, young Parisian bobo and war veterans alike.
Le Pt’t Bar has no phone, certainly no website and seems to have slipped through the cracks in an age of excessive health and safety regulations. Old books are piled up on any available surface, posters of animals cover the walls and trinkets of the past from around the world hang from hooks and shelves. Old bottles and half-washed glasses accumulate, indicating Madame Polo isn’t too keen on doing the washing up and the stale air tells of a place unchanged since its opening in 1965.
So how does a ninety-something grandmother manage to keep this little bar going all on her own, seven days a week until 2AM? (She may just be the oldest bartender in Paris).
“I thought to close the bar many times, especially after my husband’s death, but you know, here I have my bar, and I see people. Some clients have come for more than 25 years, they feel good here and me too, as long as I have my head and I’m able to stand.”
You couldn’t invent this place if you tried, nor Madame Polo’s stories of owning a bar in Paris all her life; a surreal drinking experience in a true Parisian time capsule.
Order one of her legendary bottles of Belgian beer at €3, Calvadodos for €2,5 or a glass of wine for €1,80. For the time travel of course, there is no price.
Le P’tit bar,
7 rue Richard Lenoir 75011 Paris
Open Monday to Saturday from 11h30am – 2am, Sundays from 8pm- 2am.
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