Caveau de la Huchette 5 rue de la Huchette Paris 75005
Dating in Paris gets taken to a whole new level, especially when the rendez-vous location is a 16th century medieval cave once frequented by the mythical Templar Knights (think Gerard Butler circa 300 fighting for God rather than Sparta) before evolving into a legendary jazz hotspot in the post WWII period when Paris thrived.
There is much more history to the Caveau de la Huchette, but today I’ll be sharing a bit of my own personal saga from 2014, which I’d like to think I can owe in part to this epic cabaret-theater watering hole of the Latin Quarter.
One of the first dates I had with my French Amour was here and looking back- the noisy cave packed with swing-dance enthusiasts, regulars, and a few odd tourists was the perfect location for a new couple who could barely communicate! (At the time, my French was the equivalent to a 5-year-old child and his English vocabulary consisted of anything you’d say to a tourist in a Paris dive bar)
When he said we would meet on the Rue de la Huchette after sunset, I initially had my doubts. Sure It’s a fun area, but its also super touristy; filled with cheap restaurants serving “Authentic French Food” catered to American tourists and bars advertising free shots where dirty bras hang from the ceiling.
Great location to have a fun night, but not quite romantic, even for this quirky Wisconsin girl who is the farthest thing from high maintenance! I didn’t need a trendy cocktail bar but a place where I’d likely meet an 18 year old American university student with his head in a toilet after too many beers wasn’t what I had in mind.
However my low expectations were replaced with stars that filled my eyes as he paid the small cover inside entryway of the Caveau de la Huchette and we descended down to the cave below, stooped and hand in hand.
What I was met with still remains to be one of my best Paris memories.
The cave, which was quite large compared to similar underground pubs in the city- was buzzing with couples dancing. And not just any old aimless arms waving and booties shaking, but with authentic swing dancers!
Dapper men were tossing their partners all over the place as a jazz band played on the stage and I felt like I walked onto a 1940’s Fred Astaire film. We took a place in an intimate corner seated on a shaky table where we got to know each other better as we sipped wine and reveled at the scene before us.
But then it got even better.
Suddenly a man appeared with a large blank canvas which he set up on an easel beneath a light. Gently rocking back and forth in time with the music; he began to paint the chaotic scene that flowed on and around the dance floor in front of him. When I worked up the courage to go and have a look after he finished, I was amazed to find that we were included in his impromptu masterpiece!
Barely visible in the corner is a couple, a darker bearded face leaning in close to a paler one. (see photos)It was us, forever frozen in the historic Caveau de la Huchette. And at that moment, I knew I found a special guy who might pronounce the word Beach as Bitch but he needed no dictionary to translate the language of love- which for me speaks through history rather than popularity.