The legendary Maxim’s combines opulence, living history, and timeless fun. Opened in 1893, in the midst of the Belle Époque, Maxim’s became and remains the last word for elegance, where kings and dukes, duchesses and courtesans, danced, gossiped, smoked, and feasted (at least, the men did). King Edward VII (England), he of the Edwardian era, rotund figure, and many mistresses, dined here, at the Red Table, still reserved for him. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were habitués. Noted fashion designer Pierre Cardin purchased the entire building in the 1960’s, renovated Chez Maxim’s, and housed his amazing art nouveau collection over three floors upstairs.
Maxim’s is open Monday through Saturday. Be warned: it is expensive! Pierre Cardin has taken Maxim’s into the 21st Century, while revitalizing and continuing its unique Belle Époque character. The cabaret is the traditional heart of Maxim’s, featuring fine dining and dancing to piano jazz. The dress code is quite formal. The cuisine is Belle Époque French: refined, esoteric, and rich, e.g., crepe veuve joyeuse (Merry Widow) . . . hmmmm. . . Maxim’s International Club is for art lovers, offering passionate discussions and exhibits with dinner under the Tiffany ceiling. Parties at the Bar Imperial are much more informal, pitched to the young, chic, movers and shakers of toute Paris. It features modern artists, musicians, video and light displays. The monthly invitation-only “supernatural” evenings start at midnight. Apparently, there is even karaoke! (Other than cabaret, activities not personally verified.)
According to the website, but not independently verified, Maxim’s has 3 boats moored at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, available for special events, product launches, gala dinners, receptions, and the like. They even have their own free parking. The Bateau Ivre cruises the Seine, seating 100 for lunch or dinner or hosting 120 for cocktail receptions. For an even-more-luxurious experience, try Le Maxim’s sur Seine, described as a “floating palace”, with two decks. The upper deck can seat 100 or host 200 for cocktails. The summer terrace can serve 40. The lower deck is a lounge for 220 seated guests or 350 for cocktail receptions. Both decks have dance floors.
And now, the ageless Pierre Cardin has added something new: a high fashion homage to the prestige and luxury of Maxim’s and of toute Paris: Maxim’s La Nuit. Maxim’s La Nuit offers high fashion collections for men and women. The first collection debuted November 2013. New collections were shown in January and February 2014. Check it out at:
Guided tours to the Art Nouveau Museum are available from Wednesday-Sunday, in the afternoons. Large groups can combine the tour with lunch or dinner. Tours are available in English and French. I took this tour and loved it. I was almost too sick to walk, the day was gray and cold, and it was still one of the highlights of my trip. Pictures and more will follow.
A 360 degree on-line tour, pictures, and reservation form, are available at:
On Sunday afternoons, starting January 16th, drop by the Theatre Maxim’s for a performance of “Moi, Colette”, written by Pierre-Andre Helene, directed by Theodora Mytakis, and headlining Veronique Fourcaud. Paris tends to close down on Sundays, which are still reserved for family and friends, so something to do in the late afternoons is a welcome change from museum-going.
Information and reservations at:
Maxim’s is located at 3 rue Royale in the 8th arrondissement, quite close to the rue de Rivoli, in the Champs Elyséés district.
Telephone: +33 (0) 1 42 65 30 47
So, for fun, food, and culture in the heart of Paris, check out at Maxim’s de Paris: