Turning 18 in Paris is like celebrating your 21st birthday in the US. At last, you can purchase your own drinks and go clubbing. Legally! Without using an older sister’s expired passport, without worrying about Mom opening envelopes from Spain carrying illegal fake ids.
Definitely an excuse for a celebration. But a small one, because it is baccalaureat season and these kids have some terminally intense studying to do.
The girls and I spent much of their early teens obsessed with the Gilmore Girls TV show, so I decided to get creative and do a theme party, asking everyone to dress up like a character from a Quentin Tarantino film, copying a birthday celebration for GG, as my girls calls the series. A sound track was made, invitations texted, we were ready to party. But where?
The Hotel Belle Juliette had recently sent out a press release announcing the opening of their outdoor garden terasse. I wandered over a week before the birthday. The French call that being a mère indigne… not worthy of being a Mom. Only a week before? What was a thinking?
I introduced myself to the barman, Aurélien and he could not have been kinder. I explained I’d be stopping by next Saturday with 20 18 year olds, and, oh, by the way, could be please invent a cocktail in honor of the birthday girl (another GG inspiration). Nothing was a problem and he invited me to swing by the day before the event to taste some cocktails and pick the best one.
The Belle Juliette’s garden is next to a large garden belonging to The Church. Greenery stretches out larger than a football field and you feel like you’ve left the city a bird song fills the air, a church bell ringing out every now and again. The decor is back yard patio chic and the bar is stocked with anything your heart desires.
I spent the entire week ignoring the weather reports that were announcing rain after two weeks of blue skies and sunshine. This being Paris, rain is always a possibility, so we’re always prepared and I knew we could just duck inside the bar with it’s berry stained tones of pink and purple. Magically, the weather held out.
Aurélian had set up the bar with delicate tea cakes and champagne chilling in a large trophy bowl, waiting to be mixed into the strawberry cocktails. When we arrived there was the obligatory cry of “surprise!!!”. Tears of joy were shed, the soundtrack started to play and we were ready to get the party started…
photos courtesy of Julie Dublanc from Cheesy Magazine