Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
If you asked me which is the place to be in Paris right now, I would answer with no hesitation: David Lynch’s nightclub Silencio. But hush! The name suggests is should just be whispered. The silence is supposed to make the buzz here. And this actually works.
They wanted it BIG, and that’s how they got it: a lot of boom, buzz and beatification after only a couple of weeks. What are we talking about? We are talking about Silencio, THE place to be, a 2,100-square-foot (650m2) club six floors under a building on rue Montmartre where Zola printed his famous pamphlet “J’accuse” and where later, in 1913, the socialist leader Jean Jaurès based the newspaper L’Humanité – he was, by the way, assassined in the Café du Croissant just across the street.
This gives the historical aura of the place, which is meant to be a creative and broadcasting laboratory. A kind of think tank for night birds named after and inspired by the famous nightclub in Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive. He’s not the owner, as you might think. They are Arnaud Fritsch and Emmanuel Barron, founders of one of Paris’ favourite hangouts, the Social Club, in the same building. They asked Lynch to design the interior and the whole concept of the place.
From the outside there is no sign at all, except the crowd after midnight, trying to get in (before it’s for members only). Once inside, you feel like you’re descending into another world. It’s dark, just a tiny gangway light illuminates the black staircase. Deep down, you have to pass a heavy door, a kind of gate of Hades, behind which you’ll discover a sort of David-Lynch-amusement park with cinema, bar, dance floor, concert space, art library and smoking room.
Imagine Silencio as edgy as Lynch’s films. But also cosy. The walls and ceilings are partly lined with gold leafs, a work which was done, by the way, by the same artisans who did the gold dome of the Invalides and the flame of the Statue of Liberty. Lynch himself said in an interview published in a supplement of French newspaper Libération: “I want people to feel like they’re in a womb, waiting for imminent birth.”
Fiachra Gibbons from the British Guardian described the effect quite brilliantly „somewhere between nirvana, a classy Cincinatti cocktail bar circa 1975, and Goldie’s mouth“. He also compared it to Warhol’s Factory, the existentialist’ Café Flore and dadaist Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. So much for the expectations.
But don’t expect to meet David Lynch here. During the marathon of interviews he was giving around the opening of his club, he was talking about smoking, about films, music and meditation, and he honestly admitted to not being what you can call a nightime person. In other words: You won’t see David Lynch, 65, on the dance floor or spending the whole night watching the crowd and sipping at his Skinny (yes, even the cocktails are not regular ones here).
Now let’s talk money. Regular memberships are €780 for a year, count €1,500 for a premium one and €420 if your are under 30 or not a French resident. This allows you to get into the club for free from six pm on, to enjoy the concerts and attend screenings. But will they take you? Membership is limited to 2,000 people. Not sure if your profile is creative, edgy and brilliant enough to join the creative crowd of Lynch.
Photos: © David Lynch, Fred Dufour (AFP), Alexandre Guirkinger/Silencio