Museums can be very romantic places.
My favorite museum dates have been in quiet, off the beaten track institutions with eclectic collections. These places facilitate good conversations and set a mood for the whole encounter. You can really get to know someone by hearing his or her reactions to an artwork or artifact.
Paris not only has amazing museums, but also world-class cocktail bars. Why not continue a museum date with a post-visit debrief in a nearby speakeasy? The following is a curated pairing of these two elements, with the aim of creating atmospheric and fun dates.
MUSÉE DE CLUNY + CASTOR CLUB
These two institutions complement each other well. The Musée de Cluny houses a spectacular collection of medieval art; Castor Club mixes up impressive cocktails under the watchful eyes of a stuffed beaver (castor is French for beaver). From Medieval stained glass to painted lampshades, it is a fun transition. Both places are kind of funky, with lots of little details to explore: reliquaries and tapestries in one, brass bar instruments and endless shelves of liqueurs in the other. After a quiet walk through the intimate museum, Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash serenade you in this dark and cozy speakeasy, making this a unique and romantic pairing.
Suggested post-museum cocktail: Ono No Komachi (Aquavit, Nigori Yuzushu, Champagne, Thai Rice Vinegar, Lemon)
GALERIE D’ANATOMIE COMPARÉE + RED HOUSE
The Gallery of Comparative Anatomy of the Natural History Museum brings together some 650 skeletons to compare the differences between different groups of animals: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. As you and your date check each other out, you can refine your observation skills by walking around this light-filled gallery and comparing skulls and spines, femurs and phalanges. Next, cross the Seine to get to Red House, the land flowing with Old Fashioned and Negronis. Sit at the bar, and discuss how the huge Longhorn skull installed above the room compares to the multitude of other skeletons you have already seen.
Suggested post-museum cocktail: Wild West Side (Tequila, Lime, Cucumber, Pepper)
MUSÉE GUSTAVE MOREAU + LULU WHITE
This is a perfect combination to stimulate interesting conversations. The Musée Gustave Moreau’s artworks are intense; Moreau was a 19th century French symbolist painter who dramatically illustrated mythological and biblical scenes. Get a glimpse into your date’s subconscious by asking him or her to interpret the trippy paintings for you. Then head to Lulu White, a SoPi speakeasy named after a turn of the century New Orleans madame. Continue your evening of folie with the absinthe-based cocktails and live jazz (most Tuesday evenings) in this dark and otherworldly bar.
Suggested post-museum cocktail: Knock On Wood (Cognac, Armagnac, Smoked Salt Syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe)