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Merci mission.

Byline: By Nathan Bevan Wales on Sunday

The Hideout

Rue du Pot de Fer

THE liveliest Irish Pub in Paris, so they say, and a great place to get a taste of the 'craic' we've been missing of late. If you read the visitors' comments on the interweb, a couple of weekends ago girls were stripping on the bar and dancing with the bartenders who were pouring shots into everyone's mouths. A bit like Merthyr Tydfil on a Monday night then.

Cafe des Phares

Place de la Bastille

ESTABLISHED by late philosopher and Sorbonne scholar Marc Sautet, this is the city's premier place to ponder over some of life's eternal questions, like 'Why are we here?', 'Is there a God?' and, of course, 'Why did Mike Ruddock really quit as Welsh coach?'. Bring your own beret, dark glasses and pack of Gauloises for some serious chin-stroking.

Le Select

Rue St Denis

THE first bar in Montparnasse, situated on the left bank of the River Seine, to stay open all night when it opened in 1925. Pretty much unchanged today it still serves its Welsh Rarebit that was once a speciality. One guide book, which I think was written to cater for our American cousins, described the dish as 'a sort of Big Mac of the 20s'. 'You want tries with that?'

Le 10

Rue de L'Odeon

THIS smoke-darkened cellar pub is the perfect place to cry into your pint of biere blonde without anyone thinking the Welsh are a bunch of big jessies. The jukebox trades heavily in all things jazz and - should that prospect be almost impossible to contemplate without being mortally drunk - the house speciality is luckily sangria by the jugful.

Le Piano Vache

Rue Laplace

JUST a stone's throw away (or 'e deux pas', if you feel like going all native) from the Pantheon, the Mean Piano is full of old posters and couches that exude a 1970s and '80s rock ambience. Just, whatever you do, don't demand they play any Racing Cars or Spooky Tooth or you may get some funny looks.

Andy Wahloo

Rue des Gravilliers

THIS trendy multi-coloured cocktail lounge has a lively enough decor to cheer up even the most depressed rugby fan. Hidden away to the north of the Pompidou Centre, its name roughly translates to 'I have nothing' in Arabic. Apt really, and probably a sentiment that'll be shared by a legion of Welsh fans if we play as badly as we did against Scotland.

Harry's New York Bar

Rue Daunou

HARRY'S was one of the most popular American-style bars of the inter-war years and is still the ideal place to drink to forget in the safety of knowing that there's absolutely no danger that the conversation might turn to rugby. Now, repeat after me: 'How about those Red Sox, huh?'

The Frog & Rosbif

Rue St Denis

LARGE English Firkin pub with live entertainment from a magician (maybe there's a place for him on the Welsh bench). There's also a large screen showing sport too but - like Gareth Jenkins' current Welsh match play tactics - it doesn't work very often. There's also a summer terrace with views onto the seedy delights of Rue St Denis - not that you'll be interested in that, you saucy swines.

Cubana Cafe

Rue Vavin

SHOULD cocktails and tapas be right up your boulevard, why not immerse yourself in the comfy old leather sofa and old paintings of Cuban daily life that decorate this Caribbean curiosity. Don't forget to wear your Manic Street Preachers t-shirt (dads, borrow the kids' ones) because I hear that Castro's a huge fan of their later material but not so much their Generation Terrorists-era, apparently. The perfect place for Havana laugh after the game.

Le Batofar

Opposite Quai Francois Mauriac

IT MAY look like an unassuming tug boat moored near the National Library of France, but it is in fact a floating dance floor that attracts some of Europe's top musical talent. Should you be tempted to show off your moves to the local talent, be warned - the music policy errs towards the edgily experimental and the avant-garde. So anticipate instead a chorus of 'Drink up Iestyn, we're leaving!' before returning to the hotel for an early night.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 18, 2007

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